Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Monday, January 30, 2012

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Subtitled wisdom.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Top of the class. Kylie singles.

In case you weren't aware, this year is a celebration of 25 years of Kylie Minogue: The Popstar. As is the case for many of her fans, Kylie is much than a popstar to me: she is an idol and the best medicine for negativity.

To celebrate this event (and it is an event!), I am planning to highlight some of my favourite Kylie moments. First we have the obligatory 'Best Of' list of her singles. This was a tough one.

10. "Hand on Your Heart" from Enjoy Yourself 
Kylie wants to know why an individual would want to leave her whilst having a smile on her face (you can safely assume). They don't make pop music like that any more...
9. "Get Outta My Way" from Aphrodite
Who cares that the song contains some of the most nonsensical lyrics of her career, Kylie verges on being a bitch ("You're getting boring"?!) and sounds like she is having a lot of fun.

8. "Chocolate" from Body Language
This may be the best use of Kylie's incredible voice in the form of a proper pop song. She describes how she is addicted to the titular food, as is this song and her voice on it. Irresistible.

7. "Please Stay" from Light Years
One word that is associated with Kylie is camp. This may be her campest song (released as a single).

6. "In Your Eyes" from Fever  
Forget "Can't Get You Out Of My Head", "In Your Eyes" is the moment when Kylie was a polished pop star.

5. "The One" from X  
This is where Kylie became a diva and demands listeners to adore her. Of course I loved it.

4. "I Should Be So Lucky" from Kylie  
This is naivety at its most endearing. And it will not leave your memory for days.

3. "Spinning Around" from Light Years 
This is where my admiration/obsession with Kylie became. This song presents a confident popstar who is reminding her listeners that they "like it [presumably Kylie's pop music] like this". I did. I do. And I will do. 

2. "Better the Devil You Know" from Rhythm of Love 
I've never been a fan of the messages/lyrics but it is impossible to ignore the infectious beat that grabs you from the first few seconds until the end of the song.   

1. "All the Lovers" from Aphrodite
Whilst everyone else seems to be courting controversy with songs about sex, violence and other such topics, Kylie remains as a ray of sunshine.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

10 thoughts on...the 84th Academy Awards nominations

  1. What was Jennifer Lawrence wearing?!
  2. Now that Hugo has a greater total tally than The Artist the media are going to try to convince everyone that the former is a likely Best Picture winner. You are foolish to believe in such a dream. (Unfortunately!)
  3. There are many incredible performances that have been snubbed by Oscar. This year four of those (that were presumably very close to a nomination) are Albert Brooks, Michael Fassbender, Tilda Swinton and Shailene Woodley. And there are many more who were presumably less close to a nomination (such as Olivia Colman, Kirsten Dunst, Ryan Gosling and Elizabeth Olsen).
  4.  Bridesmaids may have been snubbed for Best Picture but it feels like a winner as it received nominations for Original Screenplay and Supporting Actress. This is a film that deserves to be celebrated.
  5. I am very happy to see A Separation nominated for Original Screenplay. And how unlikely is it that you would group that film with Bridesmaids and Midnight in Paris?!
  6. I'm hoping that the surprise nomination for Extremely Loud and Terribly Close equates in the Academy's desire to celebrate Viola Davis this year. She deserves to win Best Actress. For so many reasons.
  7. Demian Bichir and Gary Oldman for Best Actor? Two (good) surprises in one category compensates for the lack of surprises for the rest of the acting.
  8. I wish I could forget about The Tree of Life.
  9. Cars 2 and The Adventures of Tintin snubbed for Animated Feature? The Academy are brave (ignoring Disney, Pixar and Steven Spielberg) but right in their decision. I'm presuming the smaller animated films nominated are as impressive as The Secret of Kells, the surprise nominee (from Ireland - YAY!) a few years back.
  10. The Artist, Martin Scorsese, George Clooney, Viola Davis/Meryl Streep (all depends on the SAG award), Christopher Plummer and Octavia Spencer look like the likely winners on February 26th.

Monday, January 23, 2012

An irresistible statement.

"Eat my shit!"

Monday, January 23, 2012

And the nominees are...Academy Awards 2012

Best Picture
The Artist
The Descendants
The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo
The Help

Midnight in Paris
Upset: Bridesmaids, Ides of March, War Horse
Wish: Bridesmaids, The Descendants, Drive, Melancholia, The Help, Hugo, Midnight in Paris, Shame

Best Director
Woody Allen for Midnight in Paris
David Fincher for The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo
Michel Hazanvicius for The Artist
Alexander Payne for The Descendants
Martin Scorsese for Hugo 
Upset: Terrence Mallick for Tree of Life, Nicolas Winding Refn for Drive, Steven Spielberg for War Horse
Wish: Woody Allen, Steve McQueen for Shame, Nicolas Winding Refn, Martin Scorsese, Lars von Trier for Melancholia

Best Actor
George Clooney for The Descendants
Leonardo DiCaprio for J. Edgar 
Jean Dujardin for The Artist
Michael Fassbender for Shame 
Brad Pitt for Moneyball
Upset: Demian Bichir for A Better Life, Michael Shannon for Take Shelter 
Wish: George Clooney, Tom Cullen for Weekend, Michael Fassbender, Ryan Gosling for Drive, Gary Oldman for Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy

Best Actress
Glenn Close for Albert Nobbs
Viola Davis for The Help
Meryl Streep for The Iron Lady
Tilda Swinton for We Need To Talk About Kevin
Michelle Williams for My Week With Marilyn 
Upset: Rooney Mara for The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo
Wish: Olivia Colman for Tryannosaur, Viola Davis, Kirsten Dunst for Melancholia, Elisabeth Olsen for Martha Marcy May Marlene, Kristen Wiig for Bridesmaids

Best Supporting Actor
Kenneth Branagh for My Week With Marilyn
Albert Brooks for Drive
Jonah Hill for Moneyball
Christopher Plummer for Beginners
Corey Stoll for Midnight in Paris
Upset: Armie Hammer for J. Edgar, Nick Nolte for Warrior, Brad Pitt for Tree of Life
Wish: Kenneth Branagh, Albert Brooks, Colin Firth for Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, Brad Pitt, Christopher Plummer

Best Supporting Actress
Berenice Bejo for The Artist
Jessica Chastain for The Help
Melissa McCarthy for Bridesmaids
Janet McTeer for Albert Nobbs
Octavia Spencer for The Help
Upset: Vanessa Redgrave for Coriolanus, Shailene Woodley for The Descendants
Wish: Nicole Beharie for Shame, Jessica Chastain, Melissa McCarthy, Octavia Spencer, Shailene Woodley

Best Original Screenplay
The Artist 
Midnight in Paris
Young Adult
Win Win
Upset: Take Shelter, A Separation
Wish: BridesmaidsMartha Marcy May Marlene, Melancholia, A Separation, Tryannosaur

Best Adapted Screenplay
The Descendants
The Help
The Ides of March
Upset: The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
Wish: The Descendants, The Help, Hugo, The Ides of March, We Need To Talk About Kevin

Friday, January 20, 2012

"I think you're ready..."

...to hear a little story about a girl, a girl named Megan. Girl named Megan that didn't have a very good time in high school. I'm referring to myself. When I say Megan, it's me Megan. I know you look at me now and think, boy she must have breezed through high school. Not the case, Annie. No, this was not easy going up and down the halls. Okay? They used to try to blow me up. They threw fire crackers at my head. Fire crackers. I mean literally. I'm not saying that figuratively. I got fire crackers thrown at my head. They called me a freak. Do you think I let that break me? Think I went home to my mommy crying: "Oh, I don't have any friends. Oh, Megan doesn't have any friends." No, I did not. You know what I did? I pulled myself up. I studied really hard. I read every book in the library and now I work for the government...You lost Lillian. You got another best friend sitting right in front of you. Now you're going to stop feeling sorry for yourself because I do not associate with people that blame the world for their problem because you're your problem, Annie. And you're also your solution.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

An irresistible question.

"Where am I going to?"

Thursday, January 19, 2012

How do you describe a feeling?

Thursday, January 19, 2012

I fell in love.

 Shailene Woodley in The Descendants is terrific. She creates a mature teenager rather than a mature character that seems to be an teenager (see: Olive in Easy A and the titular Juno for such examples). It is refreshing.

Hopefully Woodley will find herself an Oscar nominee next Tuesday.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

How do you describe a feeling?

In a miniscule way Olivia Colman has been left unloved just as her devastating character in Tryannosaur. BAFTA announced their nominees today and Colman was ignored for her leading performance in Tyrannosaur and her supporting performance in The Iron Lady.

Personally I think the first snub is an outrage as her performance is far superior on every level to the actual Best Actress nominees*. I hope that the performance is enough to ensure that Colman is cast in equally complex roles...but the film industry can be unkind. As these BAFTA nominations show. 

*This is particularly true of Berenice Bejo whose performance in The Artist is charming but little else.

Monday, January 16, 2012

A thumbs up.

Monday, January 16, 2012

10 thoughts on...the Golden Globes 2012

  1. The Artist is now unstoppable on its journey towards Oscar. Thankfully we will be treated to the adorable image of Uggie, the dog of The Artist, clutching an Oscar as we have with a Golden Globe above.
  2. Ricky Gervais seemed to be much more restricted than last year, although he did manage to provide some good jokes/digs. I still don't think he is an appropriate awards host. Shouldn't we be celebrating the industry and forgive its superficial nature for a few nights of the year?
  3. Julianne Moore is wonderful even when her autocue breaks. And, also, when she giggles at the Elizabeth McGovern tripping on her way to the stage.
  4. People really seemed to love Claire Danes. Or perhaps it was love for Hometown?
  5. People also really seem to love Octavia Spencer. Melissa McCarthy even cried during her speech. She is destined to win the Oscar. As is Christopher Plummer.
  6. Can Martin Scorsese win a second Best Director Oscar? (I hope so).
  7. Meryl Streep looked as horrified as I was when she was called Best Actress - Drama rather than Viola Davis. I've nothing against Streep but that film is atrocious and such a win will only crown her great career rather than give it a boost which Davis would benefit from. I don't want to see her wasted in another Eat Love Pray. Hopefully Davis will win the SAG award and then the Oscar. But I'm doubtful.
  8. George Clooney vs. Brad Pitt for Best Actor? As long as Jean Dujardin doesn't upset I am happy.
  9. Best dressed? Nicole Kidman, Diane Lane, Tilda Swinton and Reese Witherspoon.
  10. I do not like Madonna.

Monday, January 16, 2012

And the nominees are...BAFTA awards 2012

Best Film 
The Artist
The Descendants
The Help
Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
Upset: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Midnight in Paris, My Week with Marilyn, War Horse

Outstanding British Film
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part II
The Iron Lady
My Week with Marilyn
Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
We Need to Talk About Kevin
Upset: Senna, Tryannosaur, War Horse

Film Not in the English Language
Little White Lies
A Separation
The Skin I Live In
Upset: As If I Am Not There, Potiche, Tomboy

Michel Hazanicius for The Artist
Alexander Payne for The Descendants
Lynne Ramsay for We Need to Talk About Kevin
Martin Scorsese for Hugo
Nicolas Winding Refn for Drive
Upset: Tomas Alfredson for Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy

Original Screenplay
The Artist
The Guard
Midnight in Paris
Upset: Young Adult

Adapted Screenplay
The Descendants
The Help
The Ides of March
Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
Upset: Hugo, We Need to Talk About Kevin

Leading Actor
George Clooney for The Descendants
Jean Dujardin for The Artist
Michael Fassbender for Shame
Gary Oldman for Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
Brad Pitt for Moneyball
Upset: Brendan Gleeson for The Guard

Leading Actress 
Olivia Colman for Tryannosaur
Viola Davis for The Help
Meryl Streep for The Iron Lady
Tilda Swinton for We Need to Talk About Kevin
Michelle Williams for My Week with Marilyn
Upset: Berenice Bejo for The Artist

Supporting Actor
Kenneth Branagh for My Week with Marilyn
Colin Firth for Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
Jonah Hill for Moneyball
Eddie Marsan for Tryannosaur
Christopher Plummer for Beginners
Upset: Albert Brooks for Drive

Supporting Actress
Jessica Chastain for The Help
Judi Dench for My Week with Marilyn
Melissa McCarthy for Bridesmaids
Carey Mulligan for Drive
Octavia Spencer for The Help
Upset: Olivia Colman for The Iron Lady, Bryce Dallas Howard for The Help

Sunday, January 15, 2012


Sunday, January 15, 2012

Cinematic hero.

                               One person for the rest of your
                               life? I mean, it's...I mean,
                               you know, you  come to restaurants,
                               you see couples sitting together
                               and they don't even speak to one
                               another. They don't have anything
                               to say, they don't have anything.
                               They probably don't have to speak 
                               because they're connected.
                               Or they're just bored with one 

Brandon is an uncompromising character who is determined to remain detached from emotion and sentiment. He can perform momentary gestures of goodwill, such as opening a door for a mother with her child, but cannot commit to anything more substantial. He invests more time in relationships with characters he has no connection with rather than his sister or, as the film shows, romantic interests. It wouldn't be a stretch of the imagination to suggest that Brandon is alone.

This harrowing character is brought to life by Michael Fassbender and he has deservedly been praised (hopefully with an Oscar nomination in a few days time). The unsung hero for me is Nicole Beharie as Marianne, the true catalyst for Brandon's attempt to change.

Marianne embraces commitment, she has been previously married, and Beharie's performance infuses hopefulness towards her relationship with Brandon. As he has agreed to their date, although we can see that it has taken some courage for him to arrive, and displays an adolescent joy in her presence, we can assume that Brandon is attracted to her. The initial few minutes are blissfully romantic, as if taken from a Woody Allen film. Then they stumble onto the above conversation and their obstacle is clear. As with a standard film this would be the moment where the protagonist resolves to change his ways (although Brandon must also endure another incident with his troublesome sister) to win the heart of the girl, but there is nothing standard about what happens after this moment.

Beharie represents the commitment that Brandon fears and, also, the potential happiness that he has lost in his detachment. And, appropriately, Beharie is vibrant onscreen presence that succeeds in making the audience as giddy as Brandon. But this is a cruel trick by Steve McQueen, their first date reassures the audience that Brandon is capable of commitment before throwing us into a very dark world.

I can't wait to see what Michael Fassbender, Steve McQueen (together and/or separately) and Nicole Beharie do next.

Friday, January 13, 2012


Oh. Okay. I see. You think this has nothing to do with you. You go to your closet and you select...I don't know, that lumpy blue sweater, for instance because you're trying to tell the world that you take yourself too seriously to care about what you put on your back. But what you don't know is that that sweater is not just blue, it's not turquoise. It's not lapis. It's actually cerulean. And you're also blithely unaware of the fact that in 2022, Oscar de la Renta did a collection of cerulean gowns. And then I think it was Yves Saint Laurent...wasn't it who showed cerulean military jackets? I think we need a jacket here. And then cerulean quickly showed up in the collections of eight different designers. And then it, uh, filtered down through the department stores and then trickled on down into some tragic Casual Corner where you, no doubt, fished it out of some clearance bin. However, that blue represents millions of dollars and countless jobs and it's sort of comical how you think that you've made a choice that exempts you from the fashion industry when, in fact, you're wearing the sweater that was selected for you by the people in this room...from a pile of stuff.

Friday, January 13, 2012

10 thoughts on...War Horse

  1. This may be the worst Steven Spielberg film I've seen. Very disappointing after his success with The Adventures of Tintin.
  2. Surely this contains the most irritating of cinematic ducks?
  3. The only way to humanise animals in film is to animate them or give them a voice. Not that War Horse attempts to give the titular horse, Joey, much of a personality which makes this whole adaptation seem rather pointless. Did Spielberg want to tell a story about a horse or a story of World War I?
  4. This felt overly cinematic. Did Spielberg and co. suffer under the pressure of the successful stage production and overcompensate?
  5. However, the moment where Joey runs towards the barbwire fences is one terrifically structured...until the whistling match between the English and the Germans.
  6. Emily Watson deserves better roles. Will she ever find another Breaking the Waves or Hilary and Jackie?
  7. The strength of the stage production lies in the relationships between Joey and those he meets during the war. This is possible thanks to the suspension of disbelief that is required when you are presented with the puppet horse. As this film neglects to develop Joey as a character this aspect is lost and the film is largely unmoving.
  8. Emily, the young French girl, has the most irritating French twang. Not that the Devonshire accent is much better.
  9. Will Eddie Marsan ever play a positive character?
  10. It is unsurprising that War Horse has so quickly lost steam in the race to the Oscars. It may be a glossy yet sentimental adaptation of an epic tale but there is very little heart.

Friday, January 13, 2012

How do you describe a feeling?

Rob Marshall is developing a screen adaptation of Into the Woods. WHAT?!

If your last film is a hit in Hollywood then many doors will open for you but if your last film is a billion-dollar hit then all doors will open to you. Unfortunately Rob Marshall has an example of the latter and his door of choice is inevitably of the musical variety. WHY?!

Unfortunately it seems that this recent hit is boosting the confidence of a man who is too regularly referred to a modern day Bob Fosse by the mindless media. Nothing could be further from the truth. Yes, Chicago was a solid piece of entertainment that had an interesting (if not novel) narrative device to present the musical numbers through the mind of the protagonist. Unfortunately Marshall proved that he may be a one-trick filmmaker as he attempted this same device with Nine and failed miserably. Was this because he was given more control or because the text was more complex than Chicago? And what about his dull direction of Memoirs of a Geisha? That had the potential to burst through the screen and break the hearts of the audience. Unsurprisingly it failed. So again, WHAT and WHY is this man been given the opportunity to develop any film?

Because audiences for Pirates of the Caribbean 4 were either treated to an uncharacteristically brilliant film by Marshall or they don't care if their film is dull as long as it has Johnny Depp as Captain Jack Sparrow. I'll go with the second option.

So now Marshall has Into the Woods in his sights and will, presumably, cast some of my favourite female actors (Amy Adams, Toni Collette, Anne Hathaway, some of his previous star performers?) to bring life to his otherwise trite musical numbers in an adaptation that will kill most of the imagination of the source material.

And yet, as with Nine, I will look forward to the film's eventual release. This is what happens when audiences are starved of contemporary film musicals.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Reactions to Viola Davis winning Best Actress at the Critics' Choice Awards 2012 x4





Thursday, January 12, 2012

Social advice from...Penny Downie

"It's much safer to be fond of dangerous people."

Thursday, January 12, 2012

And the winners...Golden Globe Awards 2012

Best Film - Drama
Win: The Descendants
Upset: Hugo
Wish: The Help or Hugo

Best Film - Comedy/Musical
Win: The Artist
Upset: Midnight In Paris
Wish: Bridesmaids

Best Director
Win: Martin Scorsese for Hugo
Upset: Michel Hazanavicius for The Artist
Wish: Martin Scorsese

Best Actor - Drama
Win: Brad Pitt for Moneyball
Upset: George Clooney for The Descendants
Wish: Michael Fassbender for Shame

Best Actress - Drama
Win: Viola Davis for The Help
Upset: Meryl Streep for The Iron Lady
Wish: Viola Davis

Best Actor - Comedy/Musical
Win: Jean Dujardin for The Artist
Upset: None
Wish: Brendan Gleeson for The Guard

Best Actress - Comedy/Musical
Win: Michelle Williams for My Week With Marilyn
Upset: None
Wish: Kristen Wiig for Bridesmaids

Best Screenplay
Win: The Descendants
Upset: Midnight In Paris
Wish: The Descendants

Best Supporting Actor
Win: Christopher Plummer for Beginners
Upset: Albert Brooks for Drive
Wish: Christopher Plummer

Best Supporting Actress
Win: Jessica Chastain for The Help
Upset: Berenice Bejo for The Artist or Octavia Spencer for The Help
Wish: Jessica Chastain or Octavia Spencer

Best Animated Feature Film
Win: Rango
Upset: The Adventures of Tintin
Wish: The Adventures of Tintin

Best Foreign Language Film
Win: A Separation
Upset: The Kid With A Bike
Win: A Separation

Best Original Score
Win: The Artist
Upset: Hugo
Win: Hugo

Best Original Song
Win: "Masterpiece" from W.E.
Upset: "The Living Proof" from The Help
Win: "Lay Your Head Down" from Albert Nobbs

Wednesday, January 11, 2012