Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Scottish Vacuum of Charm

I just found this clip from several months ago on YouTube. It's of James McAvoy guesting on Craig Ferguson's chat show. So much accent! I also like that James called out Americans on how they actually pronounce "Craig". I've always wondering why they say "Creg".

Monday, April 28, 2008

The Progression of The Strangers

The upcoming horror flick The Strangers, starring Liv Tyler and Scott Speedman (and, oddly, Australian model/actress Gemma Ward as one of the masked villains), has had a long road to it's release. It's been pushed back so many times you would think the Weinstein brothers had a hand it it's release. One aspect of the film's journey to the screen, however, that has been anything but frustrating is the marketing campaign. There have been three entirely differing posters released as well as several trailers.

This was the first poster released and it follows in the popular trend of making your theatrical poster look like one that's been locked away in a vault for 20 years with the fold creases and the faded look. The border, too, is a great touch as posters back then used to have borders all the time (for whatever reason). I really like this poster. It's very unsettling, I just think that the mask to the left is far scarier than the one they've focused on in the centre. The trailer focuses more on the baghead mask, so I think they realised that it was scarier than this old porcelain like mask. Still, it's very creepy.

Am I the only one freaked out when horror movies use "BASED ON TRUE EVENTS" in their marketing? Even if, like The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, it's a stretch to make such claims, it's just bound to rattle people (myself included, obviously).

This design if probably the weakest of the three, but I like what they were going for. Trying to show that this is like a moment from some old snuff film or something like that. This is the design that what probably created to get the gore crowd interested (those who only go to the movies to see the blood pour)

I have complained about movie posters before that simply use a movie still and throw on a title and call it a poster, but as I commented about David Lynch's Eraserhead poster (#31 Greatest Movie Poster of All Time) I don't mind as much when the still you are using is so strong, and that's what they've done on this third (and, I imagine, final) poster for The Strangers. They have taken the strongest moment from the trailer (below) of Liv Tyler standing in her home looking confused when suddenly a white ghost-like figure emerges from behind her, and have used it as the poster. It totally works because it sells the movie. This one image tells you so much about the film. Unlike so many, which just show you the film's star and are done with it.

It's perhaps even too subtle for some people. Not even everyone will notice the hooded man in the background. Some people I have read are even preoccupied with wondering why Liv Tyler is pointing downwards. They want the blood and the terror, but I think something as real as this doesn't need embellishment. That's why there's no retro detailings or big red text. Simply, but frightening.

The trailer is another story altogether.

That's not simple, that's not subtle. It's just downright terrifying. Definitely one of the best trailers of the year, and perhaps the best horror trailer since The Texas Chainsaw Massacre remake of '03 (y'all remember that trailer, surely). This trailer definitely makes me think those early rumours that The Strangers is actually a remake of the French horror flick Ils look quite founded, but it seems the villains (the "strangers" of the title) are much more in the forefront of this American film. In Ils you barely even saw the house invaders, this time they seem to be quite prominent.

In this trailer there are, what I like to call, "movie making moments". Moments in a trailer that sell the movie without a shadow of a doubt. This trailer has several! First is, of course, the moment immortalised on the third poster at 0:53 when the stranger appears behind Liv Tyler. The next is at 1:26 when Liv Tyler gets to absolutely scream her lungs out to the tune of a skipping record player and an axe-swinging psychopath. And then lastly is the haunting dialogue exchange at 1:48.

"Why are you doing this to us?"
"Because you were home."

And that is why I am sold on this movie. Now to just find someone willing enough to see it with me...

The Strangers is out May 30 in America and has a tentative July date in Australia. Click here for the official website.

Because I'm Not Made of Stone

Even if they are vaguely stalkerish and those pants are frightfully low, who am I to resist to pictures of Shia LaBeouf tanning on the grassy knoll at Coachella? More at JustJared.

The Times (They Are A Changing... For the Most Part... Sorta)

I watched Rob Epstein's 1984 Oscar-winning documentary The Times of Harvey Milk. It's a beautiful and thoroughly emotion-ringing account of the life of San Francisco's (and Americas) first openly gay elected official, Harvey Milk, who was assassinated along with the Major of San Francisco George Moscone in 1978.

The film is utterly captivating and it's fascinating to watch all the wonderful archival footage of this honourable man. It's a definite must-see for anyone who has even a passing interest in the history of the gay rights movement and politics in general. It's a study on the mechanics of a flawed political system.

The frightening part about The Times of Harvey Milk was that it was released in 1984, yet there are still people like Dan White (Milk and Moscone's killer) and John Briggs (a politician who tried to give schools the right to fire any homosexual teachers with "Proposition 6") around and in plain sight spewing anti-GLBT garbage of TV/radio/etc and barely anyone outside of the GLBT community seems to take any notice. It took a "mini movement", if you want to call it that, to get Jay Leno to remark at about his insulting interview with Ryan Phillippe where he asked the actor, who in his first acting role portrayed the first gay character on daytime television, to give his "best gay look". Yet I doubt in America the story circulated anywhere in the mainstream news media, and so Leno gave an insincere apology and has moved on. Australian talk show host Rove McManus routinely asks celebrity guests "who would you turn gay for?" All a bit of a laugh (hey, he asked k.d. lang who she would "turn straight for"), but then he goes on and uses gays and lesbians as the butt of jokes several more times throughout his show.

I cried during The Times of Harvey Milk for a multitude of reasons. I cried because I am happy that I live in a time when I can be myself without the threat of losing my job. I'm happy that I can be myself around friends and family and it's not a cause for social pariahism (is that a word?) and that I have the forum and the ability to express my thoughts and beliefs and that I don't need to hide it.

I also cried, however, out of sadness. Sadness for the fact that there are still people out there who think it is alright to insult and defame not only the GLBT community, but any minority whether it be race, sexuality or so on. That they think just because they have "god" on their side, that it's alright to be hypocritical bigots. I imagine someone like Harvey Milk got into Heaven (if there is a such a place) a hell of a lot quicker than any member of the Westboro Church or any placard-waving "all American boy" like Dan White.

I also cried out of horror that a man such as White could get away with a mere eight-year sentence, and five year stint in prison once he got parole, for the brutal killing of two innocent unsuspecting people and I think the talking heads in the documentary have a point that if it were only Moscone that was killed then White would have received a much stronger sentence (he snuck into City Hall through a side window so to avoid the guards from discovering his gun and ammunition for crying out loud!), but because he also killed Milk, a man who was most surely not a supporting of White, his killings were justified. Milk tipped him over the edge.

I thought it was beautiful to watch all the people who were connected to Harvey, whether it be through his political career or just simply following his message of tolerance and acceptance, express their love for this man and their immense sadness at his passing. I really liked the stuff with Anne Kronenberg, Jeannine Yeomans and Tom Ammiamo, a gay teacher whose life could have been directly affected by the passing of John Briggs' "proposition 6". Although it is Sally M Gearhart (below with Harvey) whose passionate and intelligent dissection of the period proves the most insightful and moving.

The passage in the film that describes the outpouring of grief immediately following the killing and the horrible violence know as the White Night Riots that followed was particularly touching to me. I feel so proud that so many people in a time when homosexuality was still taboo in all aspects of society could go out onto the street and march in a show of solidarity. Harvey Milk did so much in his relatively short political life and I just hope that in another 24 years we can look back and be proud of how much further we've come.

The Times of Harvey Milk was released in 1984 and Dan White committed suicide in 1985. The film won the Oscar for Best Documentary Feature, which feels like it should be seen as very significant although queer cinema has never been particularly embraced by the Academy. Gus Van Sant's biopic Milk is set for release later this year with Sean Penn in the role of Harvey Milk.

100 Greatest Movie Posters: Three Quarter Round-Up

Well, isn't this fun? We only have 24 posters to go through until you discover what I have as the single greatest movie poster of all, which - I'll be honest - is a terrifying thought. I know you're all gonna be "REALLY?", but you will all just gonna have to learn to deal with it, okay?!

By now you have surely realised that I like posters with strong and original central ideas to them. So while I love the poster for, let's say, Casablanca - a poster routinely named one of the greatest posters ever - I prefer the visual trickery of Rushmore or the brave sexuality of Blue Velvet, so you know the posters that are to follow will be strong original and, naturally, stunning.

But before the top 25 let's take a look at the 74 posters that came before.

100. I Shot Andy Warhol
99. Andy Warhol's Bad
98. The Holy Mountain
97. Salón México
96. Diva
95. The Breakfast Club
94. The Triumph of the Will
93. Chungking Express
92. Holy Smoke!
91. Swimming Pool
90. Vanishing Point
89. Needful Things
88. Dead & Buried
87. Lost in Translation
86. Ordinary People
85. The General
84. The Cranes are Flying
83. Scanners
82. Irreversible
81. American Gigolo
80. Blow-Up
79. Mulholland Drive
78. The Thing
77. All Neat in Black Stockings
76. The Producers

75. Sullivan's Travels
74. Gallipoli
73. American Psycho
72. Black Orpheus
71. Teorema
70. The Blair Witch Project
69. Tootsie
68. The Fan
67. 42nd Street
66. Hard Candy
65. 2001: A Space Odyssey
64. Alien
63. Escape from New York
62. Pink Flamingos
61. House of Wax
60. Gone with the Wind
59. A Nightmare on Elm Street
58. Mean Streets
57. Straw Dogs
56. Phantom of the Paradise
55. A Clockwork Orange
54. Casablanca
53. The Testament of Dr Mabuse
52. American Gangster
51. Bunny Lake is Missing

50. Fatal Attraction
49. Amarcord
48. Metropolis
47. Look at Me
46. The Day of the Locust
45. Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace
44. Rushmore
43. Footlight Parade
42. Mona Lisa
41. Czar of Broadway
40. Blue Velvet
39. The Center of the World
38. Out of Sight
37. Cleopatra Jones and the Casino of Gold
36. All About Eve
35. Lolita
34. The Silence of the Lambs
33. The Seven Year Itch
32. The Evil Dead
31. Eraserhead
30. Dial M for Murder
29. Anacondas: The Hunt for the Blood Orchid
28. The City
27. Pulp Fiction
26. Mad Max

Coming up in the countdown we have classic horror, noir and romantic comedy. We have silent films, we have documentaries, we even have some experimental cinema. We have men with cameras on their face, women with hair made from flames, flying skulls and a very accessible piece of the female anatomy. All leading up to the number one poster of all time (according to me). Yay!

Thursday, April 24, 2008

New Dark Knight Poster

I know I said I was taking the day/weekend off, but omg I had to show you guys this this poster for The Dark Knight! Isn't it great?


My Weekend of Silence

Hey guys, I'm giving y'all the heads up that I won't be around this weekend. Tomorrow (well, technically today by now) is ANZAC day, which is the day where Australians honour the men and women who have fought in wars, but especially WWI and WWII. What with the recent discovery of HMAS Sydney - our worst sea war catastrophe? - it just makes the day a whole lot more significant. The Australian Film Institute is holding a public air screening in Federation Sq of the Aussie classic Gallipoli, if any Melbourne readers are free. Get there early to reserve for deck chair!

So with tomorrow being ANZAC Day I'm going to take advantage of my friends being off work for the day and take the day off too. Friday the 25th is also the Day of Silence, which is such a worthy cause. As someone who experienced his fair share of school harassment I'm all for anything that highlights it. Be silent! I mean, I know the thing is for students, but if it's good enough for Larry King then it's good enough for you.

And then on Saturday I have my brother's wedding, so that should be funsies. He's 26 and he's marrying a lovely gal so I'm excited for that. Plus, if y'all play your cards right you'll totally get photos of me looking swanky in a suit. Hazaa!

And because I can, I'll probably take Sunday off as well. I'll be exhausted from working so much this past week and all the weekend festivities. If the wedding reception finishes at an appropriate time I shall be heading on over to the 25th shindig for the glorious Adem with an e - happy birthday Adem!

So, yes, have a great weekend folks. All you Aussies out there, have a great long weekend! All the rest of you just... i dunno... have a fine ordinary weekend. Matthew Maconaughey demands it!

I'll see you on the other side of Sunday! And don't forget to pick up your very own copy of Madonna's Hard Candy. I'm not that big on it (it brings an end to her brilliant run of albums that began with Ray of Light in '99) but it's definitely a better purchase than almost everything else that's out at the moment. "Too old" be damned!

With love from your faithful Stale Popcorn writer,


A Final Madonna Moment 25/04/08

Today is the final Madonna Moment as the album Hard Candy is finally released tomorrow on the 26th of April, although if you're lucky enough it'll already be in stores today. I got Kylie Minogue's X a day early, so go have a look at your local JB HiFi or wherever it is that you go.

Today's clip is a very early one, and one of her very very best songs - "Borderline". And the video is awesome. I wish I grew up in this time. Oh well. I guess I'll never get to wear legwarmers, oversized jackets, neon and be able to get away with big hair (i have short hair, you see!) before making it as a DANCER!

I hope y'all have enjoyed this run of Madonna moments, it's been a blast discovering and rediscovering these clips. And don't forget to run out and purchase Hard Candy tomorrow the 26th (or the Monday the 29th if you're in America). Enjoy!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

A Madonna Moment 24/04/08

Today's clip is taken from a Spanish film called 20 Centimeters. Uh-huh. It's about a transvestite prostitute saving up money for a sex change operation when she falls in love with a man she sees at the market. She has that syndrome where you fall asleep at random times, too! And, naturally, when she's in these situations she dreams about musical sequences.

It's all very strange and just confirms my belief that Spain is chockablock full of trannies. Is there something in the Spanish water? :p

Anyway, at one moment in time the main character dreams of a musical sequence set to the tune of Madonna's "True Blue". I have... no idea what's going on. There's men cooking on barbecues, old lady transvestites, swimsuits, towel dances, etc. Nevertheless, it's better than the actual video clip Madonna released for "True Blue".

100 Greatest Movie Posters: #26 - Mad Max

Mad Max (1979)
Directed by George Miller
Unknown Designer
Film Nationality - Australia
Poster Nationality - USA

[click to enlarge]

If it weren't already for the iconic pose or the stunning use of the colour I'd love this poster for another reason - SEX. So rarely do men get sexualised on action movie posters in a way that isn't camp (ie; when they're not dressed in superhero costumes). But on this poster for George Miller's original exploitation flick Mad Max there it is. Not incredibly blatant, but it's there. The small leather jacket revealing the defined muscles above the waist of the pants and at the neck. See it? This man is totally being portrayed as a man that is to be desired.

And, well, if you've seen the movie and Mel Gibson in it then you'd be forgiven for thinking of other things as the movie plods along. Sure, he's a freak now, but back then he was dynamite. I love that this poster acts a sort of "see him now with his helmet on because you won't be able to stop looking when it comes off!"

Also, that tag line is gold. GOLD!

A Madonna Moment 23/04/08

Today is a clip of Madonna performing her classic track "Music" at the Grammy Awards, where it was a nominee for Record of the Year (amazing!) For some reason there's Lil Bow Wow.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

The Best Album of 2008 (so far)

I'm currently listening to an album that is unbelievably awesome. You could say it's gold. I'd never heard of this artist before (it is their debut album afterall) but after seeing some of the people she has worked with on the record, it makes total sense for it to be the best album I've heard so far in 2008. I only picked it up from the office because I thought the album cover was brilliant. Sometimes you can judge a book by it's cover.

There's nothing more exciting than discovering a totally amazing album by somebody you never even knew existed beforehand.

I'm obviously deliberately not telling you who/what it is. I'll write something more formal later.

100 Greatest Movie Posters: #27 - Pulp Fiction

Pulp Fiction (1994)
Directed by Quentin Tarantino
Poster Designed by Indika Entertainment
Film Nationality - USA
Poster Nationality - USA

[click to enlarge]

I don't think Pulp Fiction is the best movie Quentin Tarantino has made. It doesn't feature the best performance in a Tarantino film. It isn't Tarantino's best direction, nor is it the best technically. That's be Jackie Brown, Pam Grier in Jackie Brown, Kill Bill Vol 1 and Kill Bill Vol 1. That's what I think, although many many disagree with me.

However, out of QT's cannon Pulp Fiction has the best poster and there's truly no denying that. I know a lot will probably be surprised it's so low (out of the billions of posters out there, being #27 is no mean feat), but I say "whatever!" to them.

Design house Indika were on quite a role early in their business. Alongside this poster and I Shot Andy Warhol (#100) they did beautiful designs for The Piano, The English Patient, The Man on the Moon, Before Night Falls, "O", American Psycho and they even made terrible horror flicks like Valentine look appatising. See their designs @IMP. Unfortunately they seem to have gone crap these last few years. Shame. I hope to see them reach the top of their game again, and soon.

The poster for Pulp Fiction is quite genius though, isn't it? There's really not much to say about it. I love the scratches, the Uma pose, the 10c icon... I even love the use of "coming soon to a theater near you". I wish more posters did that (for some reason).

Monday, April 21, 2008

A Madonna Moment 22/04/08

Today is the video for the Above and Beyond remix of her Music track "What It Feels Like for a Girl". I lurve this remix, but the video is one of my all time favourite Madonna clips as she goes on a violent crime spree with grandmother along for the ride. Only Madonna could get away with this (although, naturally, it was banned in many places. *yawn*)

Glenn's Completely Irrational Reactionary Thoughts About Hard Candy

I'm naughty, sue me. I'm still gonna be there buying the album when it's released. I just... couldn't help it. Anyway. Let's take a peak, shall we?

"Candy Shop"
A dud opener.

"4 Minutes"
At first I loved it, then I went lukewarm on it, and now I'm in the middle. That opening is still epic.

"Give It 2 Me"
Fun and bonkers.

Looove the opening 24 seconds, but after that it just kinda labors about. Skippable.

"Miles Away"
On first impression, the album standout. Love the chorus, particularly. Mixes the styles of her American Life and Confessions on a Dance Floor albums brilliantly. This is what she should be making and not junk like "Candy Shop".

"She's Not Me"
For some unknown reason this track is 6 minutes long! The first four are disposable, but those final two are stunning.

Again, for reasons unknown to anybody apart from those involved (presumedly) this song is an unweildly 6 and a half minutes long! The first three remind me of "Everybody" (her first hit) but just not as good. The second half, however, the song turns into the craziest god damn workout track of the year is quite great.

"Beat Goes On"
Surprising! Nicely effective. Kanye West's rap isn't repulsive!

"Dance 2nite"
The chorus is great (retro galore) and the rest is decent.

"Spanish Lesson"
Super catchy!

"Devil Wouldn't Recognise You"
Another standout. Fits into "mellow Timbaland" territory quite nicely (and if you know anything extensive about his career you can tell it's a Timbaland song right off the first beat).

Hard Candy
A few dogs, a few standouts, a lot of "pretty good". The album itself is "pretty good". Some songs will get better with time, some will not. I'm just thankful it's not a complete dog like many were worried about/hoping for.

Love Veronica

For reasons unknown to me, I completely forgot that The Veronicas were releasing a new single and thus a new video and so I forgot to present it to you guys.

The Veronicas are one of the best pop acts to come around in a long time. Their Hook Me Up album from last year was stunning. For their third single off the album after "Hook Me Up" and "Untouched" they have gone with "This Love". I wouldn't have chosen it, personally, but every song on that album is great so there ya go. I'm still terrified that they're not going to release "Someone Wake Me Up", which is a masterpiece waiting for #1. I'd also love to see the bratty "Popular" released if only for the video clip. It's begging for a video clip.

Anyway, here is "This Love".

That was shit.

A Madonna Moment 21/04/08

Today is my favourite song/clip from Evita the 1996 movie musical that won Madonna a Golden Globe for Best Performance by an Actress Musical/Comedy. I can't say she should have won over Frances McDormand in Fargo (who would later win the Oscar), but I did quite like her in the flick. The song is "Buenos Aires" and in it she proves she does star quality.

RIP Danny Federici

Danny Federici was a member of The E Street Band, made famous by Bruce Springsteen. :(

Sunday, April 20, 2008

I Worry For Diane Keaton

Really, I do.

I went to see Prom Night on Saturday night (oh you know I have more to say on that, just wait) and one of the trailers my viewing partner and I saw was for this movie I had never heard of before called Smother. It stars Diane Keaton, Liv Tyler and some guy called Dax Shepard. If you know who he is then you're already doing a better job than I.

Needless to say from the title of this entry, is does not look good!

Take a look for yourself.

Look, I know Diane Keaton can a bit of an acquired taste, but there's no denying her brilliance in a nice hefty chunk of her career. Yet, it boggles the mind that someone can go from giving an Oscar-nominated performance just a few years back in Something's Gotta Give (one of the best rom coms in a while, actually) to making movies like Smother, Man Money and Mama's Boy. The latter of which didn't even get a major theatrical release in America and still hasn't seen the light of day down here.

Looks like Diane will be getting a second Razzie nomination in as many years, after she was nommed for Because I Said So. She lost out to Lindsay Lohan in that battle, but with the Queen Latifah/Katie Holmes co-starrer Mad Money also on her CV this year I think she'll be showing up again on the Razzie rundown. That they have the gaul to throw "Academy-Award Winner" in front of her name in the trailer just makes it all the more painful.

But Keaton isn't exactly the only bad thing about the trailer for Smother. It looks abominable. Truly bottom-of-the-barrel awful. The trailer itself is bad! It shows you every single plot development. And that narrator! That narration is so 1995 VHS. It's the type of voice over that MadTV has been mocking since it's inception.


I'm so glad you liked it! Can I have cake now? SploopsLOL!

A Madonna Moment 20/04/08

"I'm gonna avoid the cliche"

Today we have Madonna's clip for "Die Another Day", which was the theme song to the James Bond flick of the same name. This song sat a bit awkwardly in the film because Die Another Day wasn't being "rebooted" then, yet the song a complete departure from what we usually get. And then they reversed it by having a dud yawn of a song when did rejigger the franchise in 2006 with Casino Royale. Bizarre.

Nevertheless, I actually think the song is brilliant - those beats are brutal - and that it's easily the best Bond theme since the days of Shirley Bassey. I also really like the video, and I think Madonna actually acts quite nicely in the fencing scenes (pay attention to her, really, she's great).

Naturally though the song gets tonnes of flak because it sounds like Madonna just shoehorned herself into the Bond franchise. But, really, it just proves that Madonna is still ahead of her time. By the time the franchise was getting a rebooting with the help of Daniel Craig, a film that could have used "Die Another Day"'s force of nature bravado, Madge had already moved on. Where were the people who criticised "Die Another Day" when Chris Cornell performed the track from "Casino Royale". Maybe he bored them to death...?

And I will forever maintain that this song has some of the most epic beats you'll ever hear. Those final 40 seconds without words should be enough to prove it, but "Die Another Day" was a product of Madonna's American Life partnership with Mirwais, her most criminally underrated period ever, and so even though the song was a huge hit worldwide it makes sense that people don't credit it.

Also, "Die Another Day" is a perfect example of how fucked up American music is. How can a song be the highest selling single in the country for ELEVEN WEEKS yet only reach #8 on the actual Billboard Hot 100? I understand how it happens, radio play radio play radio play, but if a song is consistently the highest selling song in the nation wouldn't that mean radio stations would play it? Ugh. America's charts are ridiculous.

Well Played, Poster: The Black Waters of Echo Pond

I don't know what this movie is, but it sounds ridiculous - The Black Waters of Echo Pond? Really? Oh well, so be it. However, I do love the two posters for it that I have seen, curtesy of IMP. Click them to enlarge.

A whole big fuss was made over last year's multiple posters for the Planet Terror/Death Proof double feature Grindhouse. Everybody loved them, me included, but I didn't think they looked entirely like real grindhouse posters. These two posters for Echo Pond look exactly like the types of posters they're referencing - 1980s slasher flicks.

I'd love them even if it were only the tea-stained look of the border to the intentional fold creases, but the images used are brilliantly done, too. The mysterious darkened face looking over the water - very Cape Fear - reminds me of the only place I ever used to see these sort of images, on the VHS covers at the video store. I'd always peruse the horror sections and see images like these and want to see them. click here for more on those childhood memories.

And now I want to see this movie. Although, I wouldn't be surprised to discover it's actually a comedy and they're taking the piss out of the genre. But that still doesn't stop these posters from being gloriously made replicants of a bygone era.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Beauty and the Hellboy

I wasn't a fan of Guillermo del Toro's original Hellboy from a few years back (even if it's make-up work was Oscar worthy), and I don't have any desire to see the upcoming sequel Hellboy II: The Golden Army. This poster is designed by the legendary Drew Struzan (his poster for The Thing placed #78 on my 100 Greatest Movie Posters of All Time countdown) and is some sort of ComiCon exclusive.

It's nice and all, but the first thing I thought of when I saw it was this:

Odd, no?


Friday, April 18, 2008

A Madonna Moment 19/04/08

Today I have for you Madonna's infamous 1989 Pepsi commercial. I'm not sure what any of it has to do with Pepsi, but I'm sure that was the point. For whatever reason it was banned and taken off the air (the use of the song "Like a Prayer" was the catalyst, I'm sure).

This was also from the days when Madonna was controversial but also young. You see, she could get away with it then, but now that she's over 40 whenever she does something risque people tell her she's old and should just retire. I actually read in the Sunday Herald Sun last week the usually quite intelligent Robyn Riley stating that Kylie Minogue should retire because she can no longer pull off the "showgirl" act, or whatever.

That's it Robyn! The moment a woman (the entire gender that you're a champion for) reaches their expiry date they should pack it in and move to a farm so that nobody has to look at them. I'd hate to think of what she thinks of Madonna. Yikes.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

A Madonna Moment 18/04/08

Eep, I'm very late today. I've been busy!

Today we have the original uncensored (apart from language) video for "American Life". The album it comes from, also titled American Life, is famous for being Madge's biggest flop, which is a damn shame considering it's - for me - one of her very very best albums. It'd definitely be in my top three, that's for sure. The album cover is my favourite Madonna cover though, for sure.

The song is much better than people give it credit for. The infamous rap is satirical tongue-in-cheek stuff, yet people actually got offended because she's rapping about have five nannies and a jet (amongst many other things). Doy!

But it's this original video clip that is the truly brilliant thing to come out of American Life. Unfortunately it was taken off the air around the world and replaced that that silly flag video. Ugh. The "American Life" video is, again, one of my very favourite Madonna clips. I love the little touches such as her salute before the cooper crashes onto the runway, or the disapproving woman in the front row. I love how if this video were made today people would be hailing it. I love that it shows off how complacent people were about the war, as if it were a fashion show that we'd see on the news and then it'd be over. I love the message is shows about the cult of celebrity and how we worship it over human life. I love the editing at the end when Madonna is on the catwalk and as she drives off into the audience. I love it all. Except that flag greenscreen shit.

And lastly I love that Madonna has dark hair. I love her with dark hair. She's definitely hottest with dark hair!

Mmmm... Cake

You find the darndest things on YouTube! While I was writing an entry that I will post later tonight I came across this, apparently, rare video clip for 1980s Germany pop star Fancy's "Slice Me Nice". Love the song - it has the brilliant lyric "I'm like a cake that wants to be baked" - but the video is more of a puzzle as Fancy follows multiple women (or the same one in different outfits? who knows) around an old ruined building singing about how he wants them to "cut me in to - slice me nice!"

...sure. Whatever works for him, I suppose.

I must confess to loving the comment left by Shalozby:

He looks like what would be if Liberace and Bea Arthur had a kid and Bea did his hair for him.

Haha. You know what though, if he had said Dudley Moore and Bea Arthur, then I'd be in total agreement. It also came as no surprise to learn he's good friends with Seigfred and Roy. Slice me nice!

A Madonna Moment 17/04/08

Today we have a Madonna cover. It's by Ciccone Youth from their awesome 1988 album The Whitey Album, which also featured a cover of "Burning Up". Bizarre, huh? This clip is actually not the original one as the original was flagged as "inapropriate" for YouTube so somebody had the bright idea to re-edit it themselves. Lovely.

Unfortunately, embedding has been disabled to click here to watch it.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Jammed Inspires AFI Rule Change

Last year there was quite a hubbub about the ineligibility of Aussie thriller The Jammed by the Australian Film Institute committee. The AFI had a rule stating that a film must be "publicly exhibited during the Release Period for paid admission in a commercial cinema, for a run of at least seven consecutive days, in a minimum of three Australian capital cities - including Sydney and Melbourne."

The Jammed unfortunately was only planning on a brief theatrical release in Melbourne before a quick shift to DVD. A set of glowing reviews from the likes of David and Margaret saw it break box office records, open around the country and become a legitimate arthouse phenomenon. However, this all happened just a fraction too late and it was deemed ineligible, despite being one of the few Australian films to actually get people talking. It eventually went on to win the Best Film prize at the IF Awards. I can't help but wonder if it would have knocked off Romulus, My Father for the same prize at the AFI Awards if it had been nominated.

Anyway, so I strongly suspect that it was for this very reason that the AFI have decided to change their eligibility rules. The rule book now states that for films with a budget of over $1.5million they must follow the three capital city rule that I printed above. However, films with a budget of less than $1.5million they must be "publicly exhibited during the Release Period for paid admission in a commercial cinema, for a run of at least seven consecutive days, in any Australian capital city".

The key difference being that these smaller films that may not have the backing to get them into a multi-city distribution setting can still become eligible for the AFI Awards as long as they have screened in at least one capital city. I can't speak for other cities, but the Cinema Nova in Carlton has done these sort of exclusive deals with small films before. It was wear The Jammed started it's exclusive run and late last year they screened a nifty Aussie psychological thriller called Modern Love.

The new rule will hopefully allow other titles like The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark, which screened to sell out audiences here in Melbourne for a brief amount of time, but which never got a proper role out in cinemas. And considering that film was extremely well-received it would be great to see it eligible. Plus, it would mean I'd finally get to see it at the official AFI screenings. I'm greedy like that.

The AFI are also making it possible for direct-to-DVD titles to be entered for the yearly awards. As the rulebook states that "a Videogram released to the Australian market within the Release Period with a minimum distribution of 1000 copies", which is an interesting development, is it not? A movie like Court of Lonely Royals, which I reviewed here, never stood a chance of receiving a theatrical release. So while I didn't care for the film, it's nice that it could possibly (if it meets the 1000 release minimum) get some attention.

I'm sure with the current state of film distribution (and Australian films for that matter) than some quality films will draw the short straw so it's nice to know that the AFI are calling attention to it and making it possible for any future movies like The Jammed to get the attention they deserve.

Some the Australian films already released in this eligibility period are September, Boxing Day, Hey Hey It's Esther Blueburger, The Black Balloon, The Independent, Gabriel, Death Defying Acts and All My Friends Are Leaving Brisbane, but whether they all submit to the AFI Awards will be found out around August/October.

Edit - I didn't notice this rule change, but The West Australian is reporting that The Jammed will actually be eligible for this year's awards due to a change allowing films that were released within in the 2007 eligibility period, but which didn't meet the release requirements. Director Sue McLachlan says she is considering entering it for the actors most of all. Good thing, too.

A Madonna Moment 16/04/08

Today we have Madonna performing "Vogue" - my absolute favourite song by anyone including Madonna - on the MTV Music Awards. Back when, ya know, they were good.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

100 Greatest Movie Posters: #28 - The City

The City (1926)
Directed by Roy William Neill
Unknown Designer
Film Nationality - USA
Poster Nationality - USA

I, unfortunately, don't know anything about Roy William Neill's The City other than what IMDb offers. There doesn't seem to be much information about this 1926 silent film starring Nancy Nash out in the world. It was purely by accident that I even stumbled across this lovely poster for it, too.

I think there's a lot to be said about a movie that can just create romance out of thin air. There are a couple of other posters coming up in the countdown that do the same thing (oddly enough, one of them is another silent movie). This poster just makes me want to take it's hand and go out for a beautifully lit night on the town. I've seen this design idea done many times since, but I never saw it done as charmingly and beautifully as The City. Nash glowing and nestled within the city skyscape. *sigh*

Sia Sings "Gimme More"

What is it with Australian pop singers covering Britney Spears' "Gimme More". We had Darren Hayes last year and now Sia. Seeing as it's, ya know, SIA you know exactly how it's going to sound (all whispy vocals and such) but, well, I thought y'all might like it anyway.


Uwe Link has a video message from Uwe Boll. He criticises Michael Bay, Eli Roth and George Clooney while calling his own work "genius". This is why he needs to be stopped!

Defamer has something to say to Paul Thomas Anderson, too. This one isn't as nice (or, more to the point, not as nice to whoever the hell was in charge of it's DVD release).

The Film Experience goes Dino hunting.

My New Plaid Pants has something for you Paul Thomas Anderson fans out there. Or fans of great cinematography. Either/Or.

The Telegraph has an article about action movie stars or something, but I can't quite get past the image of Shia LaBeouf, James McAvoy and Emile Hirsch at the top. Talk about a dreamy, er, threesome. I didn't mean for that to sound the way it did. Here's an alternate version of that collection, though.

Christ on a bike!

Non-fans of Renee Zellweger will also get a kick out of this line from the above article:

Hollywood talent manager and producer Peter Safran, whose credits include Scary Movie, Meet the Spartans and the upcoming Renée Zellweger film Chilled in Miami...

Hahaha... awww!

Movie Poster Addict has the new poster for Ed Norton's rejigger of The Incredible Hulk. Doesn't this redo seem just as zzz-enducing as the first go-around? And is it just me or is Norton actually wearing DOUBLE DENIM?! Yikes.

Lastly, Arjanwrites has a review of Madonna's Hard Candy, meanwhile PopJustice has a review of the free goodie bag (below)! Fascinating!

A Madonna Moment 15/04/08

It's ten days until Madonna's Hard Candy will undoubtedly find itself in Australian stores. It's set for release on the 26th, but those places put albums out early (I got Kylie's X a day early, too). I hope it's out a day early because I have a family wedding on the 26th so I won't have time to go grab a copy and have my own personal listening party (don't act like you weren't planning the exact same thing).

So, for shits and giggles, over the next 10 days I'm just going to be posting a Madonna related thing. Watch. Don't watch. Doesn't bother me.

Today is a clip of the best song Madonna has done this decade. It's not off Music, or American Life or Confessions on a Dancefloor. It's not a soundtrack song either. The song is an amazing reworking of a Madonna classic. Some may say that's indicitive of her career over the past eight years, I say it's indicitive of Stuart Price's genius. The video is made out of the scraps from her "Hung Up", "Sorry", "Get Together" and "Don't Tell Me" videos. Enjoy.

Monday, April 14, 2008


Damn, Daily Mail! Do you reckon they did this deliberately? Courtesy of Defamer

See! Not all babies are beautiful.

I hate Kerry Katona so much!

Delicious Ridiculous

Curtesy of PopJustice comes this Madonna Hard Candy flyer. Take a close look at it (click to enlarge).

Did you notice something funny? Read it again, specifically the last paragraph.

Madonna is the biggest selling female solo artist ever. A multi-Grammy-Award-winning singer, song-writer, producer, stage-performer, children's book author, director and documentary film maker, she has sold over 200 million albums in the course of her unprecedented two decade plus career...

And apparently that whole "acting" thing has been scrapped from her career bio. If you don't write it on a press release it never happened!!! And since when is she a "documentary film maker"?

100 Greatest Movie Posters: #29 - Anacondas: The Hunt for the Blood Orchid

Anacondas: The Hunt for the Blood Orchid (2004)
Directed by Dwight H Little
Poster Designed by Bemis Balkind
Film Nationality - USA
Poster Nationality - USA

[click to enlarge]

Oh boy, I feel ridiculous just putting this on here, trust me. Just bare with me, alright!

I've been saying all along that horror movies (even bad ones such as Anacondas: The Hunt for the Blood Orchid) need a great poster and I'll be damned if this design isn't great! What isn't great about it? It tells you immediately about the film (hello snakes!), it is actually kind of legitimately creepy (imagine a snake with that pattern on it!), but at the same time there's a nudgewinkiness about that I think perfectly suits a movie of this kind; it's a sequel to a preposterous movie that nobody really expected a sequel to.

Plus, I saw this poster when it had a halo effect in a cinema lobby, ya know when you walk from one side to the other and it shimmers? Yeah, and it looked even more awesome. I imagine that if this were the poster for a hokey horror movie from the 1950s, instead of the sequel to freakin' Anaconda, then people all over the Internet would claim it as brilliant, amazing and stunning and it would appear on every "best poster" list known to mankind.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

How Enigmatic

I, quite bizarrely, woke up this morning with Enigma's "Sadeness (Part I)" stuck in my brain. I don't remember dreaming about cloaked gregorian chanters, but there ya have it! "Sadeness" was a huuuge hit back in 1990/91 from Enigma's (aka Michael Cretu) album MCMXC a.D., which I have lying around my place somewhere along with the followup The Cross of Changes.

Do you guys remember them? Sure, they went to the shitter after the second album and they are solely responsible for those ridiculous albums featuring Gregorian chant versions of U2 and Whitney Houston songs, but for a while there they were quite amazingly bonkers. Below is the clip for "Sadeness (Part I)", which I was very much addicted to "back in the day", partly because it creeped me out and I had no idea what was going on (Hey, I was only five years old!)

Aah, for the days when bizarre songs in foreign languages and instrumentals could top the charts!

Checking in with Rinko Kikuchi

Last time we saw Japanese actress Rinko Kikuchi she was glamming it up at the Academy Awards (as a nominee for Babel) after spending the entire awards season wearing outfits made out of pom poms and licorice (essentially). Kikuchi has a new movie out this year from the director of the acclaimed Brick so let's hope we get Her Wackiness on some red carpets during the time.

Nevertheless, curtesy of Go Fug Yourself this was Rinki recently wore to an event. Charming, isn't it?

Let's just remind ourselves what she looked like at the Golden Globes and the Oscars a year ago, shall we? I still reckon she was the second best dressed of that Oscar ceremony (after Gwyneth Paltrow).

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Australian Approved

The Film Finance Corporation are soon to be no more once they merge with the Australian Film Commission at some point in the near future (me = lazy, can't be bothered researching). The FFC have just released their last investment portfolio which looks to have some promising titles on it. There are road movies, Aboriginal musicals, war films and thrillers. Let's take a look.

The Last Man - This will be directed my Fred Schepisi (The Chant of Jimmy Blacksmith, Evil Angels and American films Fierce Creatures, Roxanne...) It revolves around a group of men who are "trapped on their final Vietnam mission, who do whatever it takes to survive. Twelve years later, they, and their wives, still suffer the emotional consequences." It's to star Guy Pearce and David Wenham, so it'll at least be well acted.


Bran Nue Dae - This is an adaptation of a 2000 stage musical. The film stars Ernie Dingo and is directed by Rachel Perkins who made a splash (well, with me anyway) with her 1998 feature Radiance and the one-hour musical One Night the Moon with Paul Kelly. It's a road movie and a musical and a whole bunch of other things too. Sounds like it could be really great, actually and it's set for a 2009 release.

The Last Ride - The director of this movie, Glendyn Ivin, made big news a few years back when his short Cracker Bag won the Palme d'Or for Best Short at Cannes. His first feature is "a contemporary road movie about a young boy and his father on the run from the law, and the price that survival demands of love." It's written by the Mac Gudgeon who wrote the acclaimed Ground Zero.

South Solitary - This seems like it could become a higher profile film due to it's director and stars. Shirley Barrett won the Camera d'Or at Cannes in 1996 for her film debut Love Serenade and since 2000's Walk and Talk she has only directed episodes of Love My Way. But she's back with a film and has, somehow, gotten Maggie Gyllenhaal and Paul Bettany attached! It is "a dramatic, windswept romance: in a remote lighthouse off the coast of Tasmania a disgraced young woman and a soldier suffering from the ongoing symptoms of shellshock discover a great need for companionship and hope in the face of hostile elements, some made by nature and some by man." Ummm... okay! Sounds great. Plus, I think Maggie should wear the outfit to your left. Nothing says "dramatic windswept romance", right?

Coffin Rock - This is "an intimate thriller that honestly explores the dark consequences of choices made to satisfy a basic human desire...a family." It's from the producer of Greg McLean's horror outings Wolf Creek and Rogue.

Red Dress - I love the plot description for this movie by relative newcomer to directing Sarah Lambert. It reminds me of Gillian Armstrong's Starstruck with magic or something like that. "Desperate to dance and escape the realities of home, Ellie changes her age to sixteen, dons a pair of fishnets and heads off on tour. Careful what you wish for!" Amazing, no? Of course it could easily be a disaster, but I like to imagine it'll be brilliant.

And there are plenty more I'm sure. The roster of upcoming Australian films sounds impressive with titles like Australia, How to Change in 9 Weeks, Black Water, My Year Without Sex, Prey and many others looking promising. Here's hoping they deliver!

It's a Story of a Lovely Movie

I was sitting here last night wondering "What to watch?" I do that a lot. Despite having plenty of DVDs floating around that I have yet to watch - I have The Singer and The Lookout from Quickflix alone - and I'm constantly going back and forth on what to watch. I didn't feel like watching either of those so I went to see if there were any DVDs in my brother's collection that I hadn't seen and felt like watching. None.

I scanned my own DVD rack, shaking my head at all of them. And then, tada, the moment struck me. I grabbed the DVD off the shelf and laughed myself silly to...

Man oh man, I looove The Brady Bunch Movie. I think I've only seen a few episodes of the series here or there, but I could watch the movie over and over again (as a matter of fact, I have). So funny. Sure, it's a one joke movie, but so are many other so called comedies and they don't do it half as well as Betty Thomas does in this 1995 adaptation. The casting is so spot on it's scary, no? I particularly love Jennifer Elise Cox and Christine Taylor as Jan and Marcia (Marcia Marcia) respectively. And how crazy is it that they threw in a RuPaul cameo (and even included his "Supermodel (You Better Work)" on the soundtrack)! As I said, I looove The Brady Bunch Movie.

But is it Levi? Wrangler? Osh Kosh B'Gosh?

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

It Boggles the Mind

I found this in today's Herald Sun. My mind is running wild trying to picture Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf set in the Flinders Ranges with a cast of Australians who... play the piano a lot? Maybe Rachel Griffiths gives Bryan Brown sexual favours for something? I don't know. Any guesses?