Sunday, March 30, 2008
We're barely three full months into 2008, and yet once again I find myself asking (to no one in particular), "How is Amy Adams so friggin' adorable?" Seriously, she cannot be stopped. Just like she did with "Enchanted", "Charlie Wilson's War", and "Junebug", she makes a movie totally worth watching. Not to ding her costars however; Frances McDormand makes a perfect foil for her and Lee Pace, Ciaran Hinds (is there any movie that he ISN'T in these days?), and Shirley Henderson, brilliantly support her in this breezy and delightful comedy/drama/romance. Story centers on McDormand's Miss Pettigrew, an out of work governess in pre WW2 London who can't seem to hold a job. On impulse, she steals a job that leads her to the home (sort of) of club singer and aspiring actress Delysia Lafosse (Adams). Over the course of the day Miss Pettigrew helps sort out various problems, including Delysia's relationships with three different men, each of whom hold a very different future for her. It's all pretty predictable, but for the most part it's enjoyable fluff bolstered by nicely done performances from the full ensemble. In the first half of the film, the film suffers from occasionally odd pauses of nothingness between funny one liners, and in the latter half director Bharat Nalluri tries too hard to justify his charming fluff by adding in foreshadowing of WW2, along with low key references to WW1. Production and costume design are all lovely and match the era perfectly, while Paul Englishby's jazzy score helps things feel faster than the slightly lax editing does. As contradictory as it sounds, the best way to sum up "Miss Pettigrew" is: Forgettable is rarely this charming and memorable.
Current Nominations: Best Picture, Best Director - Bharat Nalluri, Best Actress - Amy Adams(#1), Best Actress - Frances McDormand(#2), Best Supporting Actress - Shirley Henderson(#1), Best Supporting Actor - Lee Pace(#3), Best Adapted Screeplay, Best Costume Design, Best Art Direction, Best Cinematography, Best Makeup, Best Original Score - Paul Englishby(#2).
Number of 2008 films seen: 3
The Fall hits theaters in limited release on May 9th (hopefully that includes Houston)
click on the picture to see a larger version.
Friday, March 28, 2008
Keira Knightley snuck into a recording studio to lay down the tracks she sings in a new movie and the result is an album featuring the young Oscar-nominated star.
Keira stars with Sienna Miller (almost unrecognisable), Matthew Rhys and Cillian Murphy in John Maybury's film The Edge Of Love.
It's about two women in Dylan Thomas's life - his childhood friend Vera Phillips and his wife Caitlin MacNamara - and their Bohemian romping during World War II.
Keira Knightley sings in her new movie, The Edge Of Love
The movie, which was written by Keira's mum Sharman Macdonald, opens with Keira, who plays Vera, singing Blue Tahitian Moon to people sheltering in an Underground station during the Blitz.
When I visited the set last year, Keira admitted to me she wasn't sure she could carry a tune. "I can't really sing," she said. "I had to have a few lessons, but once I started doing it, a sound emerged that wasn't too disagreeable!"
Well, she's always downplaying her talent - I suspect because of those who, for some reason I can't fathom, sneer at her. She should start believing in herself and get used to the fact that she's emerging as a damn good actress. And her singing, which has a mournful edge to it, is far from "disagreeable".
The album, which is being released later this year on Universal's Classics and Jazz label, also has Keira singing two other numbers featured in the movie: Irving Berlin's Maybe It's Because I Love You Too Much and Drifting And Dreaming.
The soundtrack also has Suggs from Madness crooning Hang Out The Stars In Indiana and numbers written by Maybury and Angelo Badalamenti, sung by Siouxsie Sioux, Beth Rowley and Patrick Wolf.
I saw a completed version of The Edge Of Love and, as I revealed in previous columns, Keira and Sienna (who portrays Caitlin) give sublime performances that delve deeper when Maybury moves the story from London to windswept Wales.
There, the two women essentially co-habit with the poet. Indeed, all four leads are brilliant when the story darkens in Wales.
I'm sure it's going to be a contender at Cannes and other film festivals this year.
Both movie and album will probably come out in the summer.
Wednesday, March 26, 2008
I must see this......I mean......WOW! And it comes out in May so I don't have to wait very long. Sorry Indiana Jones, but this just jumped to the top of my Must See List.
Also, check out the equally intriguing poster:
Wednesday, March 12, 2008
"Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows film to be split into TWO PARTS!"
I can't wait that long! I'll be a SOPHOMORE IN COLLEGE!!
Sunday, March 9, 2008
seeing as I have a huge headache., I'll keep this simple:
- wonderfully captures the culture clash between the French and Americans
- Julie Delpy's screenplay is a gem for the reason mentioned above; the results are hysterical
- Adam Goldberg is absolutely fantastic
- Julie Delpy kind of over acts in some scenes....but it's only like..2...so nothing terrible.
- I really wish I had seen this before I made my nominees for 2007 (THIS is why they were called "almost final"...)
- this film is further proof that 2007 is the best year for film in this decade.
Nominations: Best Actor - Adam Goldberg(#5), Best Original Screenplay - Julie Delpy(#3)
Number of 2007 Films seen: 59
Saturday, March 8, 2008
If "In Bruges" was a surprisingly great way to kick off my 2008 movie going, then "10,000 BC" is exactly the opposite. I knew it wasn't going to be anything special, but dear lord this was just....unspeakably bad. Filled with annoyingly one-dimensional characters, a limp story, surprisingly "eh" special effects, and barely there performances (at least "Alexander" had big stars being as campy as possible) this one's a loser. The "story" (if it can be called that) starts with a tribe called the Agula (or something like that), who live up in the mountains (and don't seemed to be bothered by the high altitudes) with almost no heavy clothing whatsoever. In the film's prologue, a young woman with surprisingly blue eyes named Evolet (t[h]e love spelled backwards..*eyeroll*) is brought before the tribe's mystic, named Old Mother (possible the most bland divination name ever). Old Mother begins having odd visions of "four legged demons" (horses...hehe...), and the Agula's last hunt of the mamack (Mammoths). Along with the Evolet, we also meet young D'leh (pronounced like "delay") who is clearly smitten with Evolet. Later that night, D'leh's father abandons the tribe because he does not like the idea of waiting for the tribe to come to an end and blah blah blah. Flash forward 10 or 15 years, and D'leh is grown up, and a pretty decent looking guy (though I'm guessing he won't be making the ladies swoon the way Gerard Butler made them in "300") with an unfortunate head of dread locks. Actually, everyone has dread locks. Apparently they were all the rage for mountain dwellers living 12,000 years ago (I can't believe none of my textbooks ever told me this.). To try and cut to the chase, there's a hunt going on, and whoever takes down the alpha male of the mammoths gets the white spear (which...is...important..somehow.....??). D'leh is determined to win Evolet (we know he loves her when he confesses this to her via a cringe inducing pick up line that involves stars or lights or some BS like that) by becoming the new wielder of the white spear (apparently men still thought of women as objects way back when..though don't worry feminists, Evolet does love him back). After D'leh (somewhat accidentally) kills the alpha male by himself, he wins the white spear and Evolet, but eventually gives it back after feeling guilty or something like that. Could it get worse for our yet to be hero? No duh. Soon after the prophesied last hunt, masked warriors on horses (sorry, "four legged demons") come and enslave Evolet (and the rest of the tribe save for a few but come on, it's not like any of the other villagers really matter....or have names...). With his father's best friend and another tribesman, D'leh sets out to follow the slave traders. They're soon joined by young Baka, who is one of many characters who I was constantly hoping would meet a hideous demise (damn you Hollywood for not killing off annoying protagonists!!). They keep traveling over the mountains for "days and days" (as we're told by the awe struck narrator)....except that all their traveling takes place in one overhead shot of a mountain. The mountain then leads them to a jungle...a jungle that sits RIGHT AT THE BASE of a SNOWY MOUNTAIN. Upon entering, Baka delivers this precious gem of dialogue, "it is hot in here!" More silliness ensues, with two of the slave traders looking like they belong in the Persian army from 300, and large demented ostrich like birds whose special effects are so uneven that they come off as just plain awkward to look at. From here we go to a desert, which lies just out side of the lush green jungle......WHAT THE @%$&!? At some point D'leh falls into a pit with the much advertised sabre tooted tiger. For some bizarre reason, D'leh decides to help free the beast while delivering this next howler, "If I free you, promise you will not eat me!" Things roll along, other tribes join D'leh's cause, more ridiculous lines and strange prophesies and and and...stuff occurs, and it all leads up to the one halfway decent (though most historically innacurate) segment of the film. What begins with a surprisingly cool shot of slave ships flying striking magenta sails leads to the only impressive scene/s in the movie: the temples of the gods. Though there's no way we had buildings this HUGE on earth 12000 years ago, the special effects team did do their job here, creating pyramids in the midst of construction that are made even more awe inspiring by the detail paid to the construction process of the pyramids. Even so, these impressive buildings aren't enough to cover up for what is probably one of the worst (and most forced) endings I've ever seen. It's so bad, I'm not even sure I can type it out, because I wouldn't do it "justice". It's so bad, you'll just have to see it for yourself. It's literally jaw dropping in its awfulness.
Nominations: despite some cool costumes on the high priests in the final segment...I'll just say NONE.
Thursday, March 6, 2008
Though she was originally set to play the role (she was director Stephen Daldry's first choice), she dropped out due to scheduling conflicts. She was then replaced by Nicole Kidman (who Daldry directed to an Oscar for "The Hours") who everyone was assuming would play the role for quite some time. However, Kidman dropped out in mid January due to her pregnancy, and Winslet was signed on now that her schedule was open. Looks like Daldry got his first choice after all! Considering that the film is a Holocaust drama, I'm guessing we won't see Winslet smiling like this in any actual scenes from the film....
Wednesday, March 5, 2008
Saturday, March 1, 2008
***The only requirement to be on this list is a simple one: it has to be one that has yet to be released as of today (which rules out "Vantage Point", "The Other Boleyn Girl", and "Be Kind Rewind").
I only have two questions: 1) what is with the saber toothed tiger? that thing shows up like, FIVE times during the trailer. Is it an important character or something? Or is it simply the dread locked dude's daemon *cough*goldencompassreference*cough*? 2) I really want to know how dinosaurs, mammoths, big ass temples, forests, wintry mountains, epic walking across a desert, some hot girl who gets captured, ships with magenta colored sails, and the aforementioned tiger can all be crammed into one coherent movie.........(though I think we all know the answer to that question)
Level of Excitement: Decent (it won't be "300", that's for sure)
9. Wanted: As much as I'm sick of Angelina Jolie (and I fear that she could screw up Clint Eastwood's upcoming film "The Changeling"), the idea of her playing up her hotness factor while wielding a shot gun and flirting with James McAvoy is strangely appealing to me. But then again, as a hormonally unstable teenage, I guess it makes sense....anyone married and/or over 35....you've got some explaining to do....
Level of Excitement: Decent (if it weren't for the cast I wouldn't even bother)
8. My Blueberry Nights: I'm forced to put this one low on the list because...well...I haven't heard anything about it in ages. It was supposed to be released in late 2007, but it had trouble picking up an American distributor (though with all of 2007's glorious entries, it's somewhat understandable). The film will enjoy a limited (and very much delayed) release sometime in March or early April. The story centers on a young woman (Norah Jones...yes that Norah Jones) who travels across America trying to find herself....or something like that. Along the way she meets various eccentrics who bear striking resemblances to Jude Law, Rachel Weisz, and Natalie Portman.....
Level of Excitement: Moderate
7. Leatherheads: another movie that I probably wouldn't bother with if I didn't like (most) of the cast (George "awards whore" Clooney, John Krasinski (Jim from The Office), and Renee Zellweger, who could really use a career-reviver about now). Clooney also directs (and maybe writes) this sports comedy about a struggling 1920s football team that starts to move in the right direction after acquiring a decorated WWI soldier with some unique skills (Krasinski). The best part of it all?: Watching John Krasinski punch George Clooney in the face in the trailer.
Special Note to Mr. Clooney: Start preparing your acceptance speech now, as I have no doubts this film will figure prominently into Awards Season 2008......*cough*awardswhore*cough*
Level of Excitement: Moderate
6. Paranoid Park: There's really only one reason - it's directed by versatile director Gus Van Sant (Good Will Hunting, the masterpiece that is To Die For, Dancer in the Dark, etc...) who can be uneven, but when he's on target, he's brilliant. The story is about (I think I have this right) about a punk skateboarder who commits a crime/witnesses a crime/witnesses and commits a crime/witnesses a crime and starts to get involved in but then remembers that his mom was making his favorite food for dinner that night so he left but still saw the rest of the crime/gets mixed up with the wrong crowd, and runs away from home while having to lie about the crime. And somehow a place called Paranoid Park figures into it all......kind of.....
Level of Excitement: Moderate (if only the trailer had been just a tad bit more revealing....*sigh*)
5. Iron Man: I know Iron is another comic book superhero finally getting the big screen treatment. That's it. So for me this will be a journey of discovery (and of course, objects exploding). Robert Downey Jr. seems like a quirky and intriguing choice for a superhero, and the film seems to have a pretty decent sense of humor (Spiderman 3, start taking notes) based on the trailer. It's also nice to see Gwyneth Paltrow in a movie that will probably make more than $10 million for the first time since........Shakespeare in Love.....
Level of Excitement: Good
4. The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian: It just looks sooooooooooooooooooooo much better than the plodding Lion/Witch/Wardrobe from 2005. From better special effects, a more grown up look (and story), and the possible return of Oscar Winner Tilda Swinton(TM) (boy does that feel good), as the White Witch (was that her behind that weird veil of water????), it just looks like it won't be the slow (but pretty) drag that the first installment was. Oh, and the little girl who played Lucy is back, which is great because she was the only kid actor worth anything in the first one..
Level of Excitement: Good
3. Smart People: Ellen Page takes on the role of a smarty-pants teenager stuck in some weird family situations. Sound a little too much like Juno? Don't worry (at least not now, though I've heard that her character....well...I'll just shut up now), Page's "Vanessa" is nearly the polar opposite of Juno save for the quick wit: flippy hairdo, highstrung-all-A-student, and member of her high school's Young Republicans Club. She's actually not the main character this time. That would be Dennis Quaid's uptight college professor who gets into some sort of accident, rendering him unable to drive for several months. Right on cue, quirky, hilarious chaos ensues as a former student (Sarah Jessica Parker) and a goofy brother (Thomas Haden Church) get thrown into the mix.
Level of Excitement: High
2. Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day: When Frances McDormand isn't filming a Coen Brothers movie, she either goes into hibernation along with Daniel Day-Lewis, Jodie Foster, and Julie Christie, or she makes delightful little movies like this one. McDormand plays an English governess who has trouble keeping work (says one frustrated client: "I can't believe I hired someone with your....your........hair!"). So when the employment office refuses to help her anymore, she gets desperate and steals an assignment, which leads her to the home of a wealthy aspiring actress (played by Amy Adams. The movie automatically becomes 1000x more awesome right now). Joining the cast are Ciaran Hinds, Lee Pace (Pushing Daisies), and ....well someone else I'm sure. Along the way, Miss Pettigrew gets to enjoy high society life, experiencing fancy parties, fashion shows, massages, and a complete makeover which prompts her to gasp: "Is this me?" (to which Adams responds with the trailer's best line: "As nature intended!"). Bonus points just for making the whole thing look so darn adorable.
Level of Excitement: Very High
1. Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of Crystal Skull: Two words: Cate. Blanchett. Like fellow Aussie/Oscar Winner Nicole Kidman, the woman can do just about anything, even play a villain in a big budget movie. That, and Harrison Ford's deadpan line delivery remains completely intact. I'm not too crazy about Shia Labeouf joining the cast (if it hadn't been for Disturbia and Transformers in a single year, it never would've happened), but the rest looks like classic Indy fun.
Actually, make that three words: Cate. Blanchett. ALIENS. (yeah, you heard me).
Level of Excitement: So High I'm about to explode.....*blam* whoops...too late...