Sunday, November 30, 2008

Some Hopes for the Oscar Season

The Oscar awards season kicked off today in ridiculous fashion with the Satellite Award nominations and the National Board of Review to chime in a couple of day. I haven't seen many of the "Oscar-bait" films (but, then again, who has?!?) but I have a few hopes for the critics groups and awards bodies that will be handing out invitations masked as awards all December long.

1. Put your money where your mouth is and give a "Best Picture" prize or two to The Dark Knight. It will be incredibly easy for critics groups to hide behind a Heath Ledger Best Supporting Actor prize before giving their top honour to something more "acceptable" (The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Slumdog Millionaire, Milk, etc) but if they really want to put a foot down and give their big prize to a summer blockbuster then that would say far more than just giving it to Ledger.

2. As much as I liked James Marsh's Man on Wire and as much as I suspect it will be the almost unanimous pick for critics to hail as Best Documentary (and I'll be happy to see it swoop in and take the Oscar when the time comes, too) but I'd like to see Yung Chang's superior (in my mind) Up the Yangtze rewarded once or twice. Catch up with this beautiful documentary on DVD, please!

3. Please don't let Milk sweep the Best Picture prizes. I'm currently thinking it will win Best Picture and we don't want another repeat of "Black Sunday" do we?

4. I do hope the critics lay off the category fraud this year. Don't give Kate Winslet your Best Supporting Actress prize for The Reader if she's actually the lead. Don't buy in to Phillip Seymour Hoffman as Best Supporting Actor if he's truly a co-lead with Meryl Streep.

5. When honouring Gus Van Sant for Best Director with Milk how about you include one of those "Also for Paranoid Park" things you occasionally do. I do so love that movie and hope somebody somewhere notices it in their awards. Please?

6. Elsa Zylberstein for I've Loved You So Long. Just sayin'...

Glenn Just Saw Man on Wire

I just saw Man on Wire.

That is all.

Hey, It's Probably Better Than That Last Movie About Tasmania

I speak, of course, of Dying Breed. But, then again, considering the reviews that movie got could it really be that hard for anything to be better than it? Least of all...

The Biggest Story of All Time - Tasmania!

Australia Review

Dir. Baz Luhrmann
Year: 2008
Aus Rating: M
Running Time: 165mins

Let me get this out of the way: Baz Luhmann's Australia is flawed. At times deeply so, but that doesn't mean I can't still think it was kind of great. Sure, it has some issues with shifts in tone, some of the editing is wonky and a large dollop of the CGI is quite obvious C-G-I, but watching Australia was like a sharp breath of fresh air. It's passionate and all-encompassing, filled with performances and scenery as big as Luhrmann promised. That exclamation point he used in the title for Moulin Rouge! could easily have been replicated here. It's "Australia" writ large.

By now you already know the plot, surely. Lady Sarah Ashley (Nicole Kidman) comes to Australia to confront her philandering husband at their ranch Faraway Downs, yet upon arrival she discovers he has been murdered by King George (David Gulpilil). A disagreement with her husband's land manager Fletcher (David Wenham), means that she and The Drover (Hugh Jackman), as well as a ragtag group of Aboriginal helpers, must transport the massive collection of cattle to Darwin and break the beef monopoly as strangle-held by King Carney (Bryan Brown). More stuff follows, including love, loss and World War II.

Along for the ride with Ashley and The Drover is a young half-caste boy (or "creamie" as the cast routinely call him, cringe-inducing as it is) called Nullah (newcomer Brandon Walters) who provides the film with a big central issue - the one of the "Stolen Generation", half-caste children who were taken away from their Aboriginal mothers and placed in homes to become white in nature if not in skin colour. Walters is a charmer and it's a mark of the strength in his performance that the character isn't perceived as a laugh. The abundant mythology that Luhrmann inserts into the movie - specifically in the form of Nullah and King George, Nullah's grandfather - could come across as mere hocus pocus magic, but Walters is so good that it never feels hokey or silly. I do wonder what international audiences will make of all the mysticism on offer, but thankfully Walters' performance is rich with details and sells it with all of his might.

Other performances in the film, too, are strong. Kidman is especially fine as the uptight Englishwoman and, far from being "lost" or "confused" as other reviews say, grounds the film in a strong solid base that is greatly needed. Jackman is impressive as the suitably fairytale rough-and-tumble Drover. Of the supporting players Gulpilil has real intensity - does he ever lack it, really? - and I've found his stoic silent performance haunting me. The likes of Jack Thompson, David Ngoombujarra, Tony Barry and Ben Mendelsohn are fine although Wenham and Brown are perhaps too cartoonish. Wenham's character, particularly, feels so modelled on Richard Roxburgh's "The Duke" in Luhrmann's 2001 musical Moulin Rouge! that, at times, it feels like the same performance.

Mandy Walker's cinematography is simply awe-inspiring. It's both broad and intimate. Spread throughout the film are moments when the beauty is so captivating - a pack of horses galloping through Faraway Downs and Nicole Kidman emerging from a cloud of cattle dust just two from many images that have been permanently branded onto my brain. David Hirschfelder's score is appropriately majestic and Catherine Martin's costume design and art direction is astonishing.

Unfortunately, the visual effects aren't of the same quality. Many times the audience is taken out of the film's epic scope by obvious and careless CGI. The insertion of Gulpilil's King George on a mountain top looks incredibly silly, and while the herd stampede towards the edge of a cliff is thrilling, the wonky computer graphics are distracting. Part of the effect of an epic movie is the sense that it was all real, don't you think? So while it may have been impossible for the cliff sequence to work any other way, perhaps more work in this area could have been done to at least create an illusion of reality.

The editing, too, is at times a bit on the nose. Instead of cutting the movie down, like others seem to be suggesting, I actually think it could have benefited from an extended run time. Passages of the film, such as an unseen trek through the Never Never and the death of one of the film's major characters deserved more exposition and less blithe editing. The latter is shown via montage, which is stranger still, and the shift from comedy to adventure to romance is just not quite on the money. Another problem I had was the overt racism in several of the characters. Yes, it was a fact of life at the time that people went around using terms such as "creamie" all the time, but it was irksome to hear characters, especially Wenham's, use it so repetitively. A bit of restraint on that part may have made Wenham's villain less of a repetitive moustache-twirler.

One of the biggest criticisms laid at Luhrmann seem to be his embrace of cliche and stereotypes, but wouldn't it make sense that that was his intention all along? One of the biggest problems within the Australian film industry is that we are seemingly so ashamed of our national identity that we are routinely trying to change it. While a movie like Matthew Newton's amazing Three Blind Mice is a representation of a more modern day incarnation of this identity - the larrikin spirit and all that - a movie like Australia isn't trying to be that. It's showing off the image that many of us have inside, but rarely bring to the foreground.

And it is that very larrikin idea that Baz is trying to represent in the film's polarising opening act. You can't make a film that stipulates to represent my country without that most lovable cliche, can you? And better to get it out of the way early. I actually quite enjoyed the opening passages, one moment with a kangaroo was particularly comical, and such a moment would have been trite and in poor taste during the film's final acts of romantic drama. And, for what it's worth, people used the word "crikie!" (exclamation point is necessary) before Steve Irwin. I say it, even.

The romance, the essence of film's second half, is rousing and charming, the bombing of Darwin is an amazing moment considering it is such a poorly represented moment in history, and the film's major setpiece - the cattle drive from Faraway Downs to Darwin - is epic in the full sense of the word. Australia may, like all of Luhrmann's films, not be for everyone, but it deserves - nay, demands - to be seen on the big screen to allow you to judge for yourself in the format that it was meant to be seen. Despite the film's misgivings I did indeed find the film to be a rollicking and captivating adventure. I don't think I can quite bring myself to give it the A- grade I think I want to, but a score of B+ is nothing to shrug at for a movie that has ambition to spare and a heart the size of... well, Australia. B+

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Australian Release Schedule

I was discussing Milk with somebody today and bemoaned the fact that we here in Australia aren't being allowed to see it until January 29 - lovely, no? - and then started wondering when all the other notable 2008 movies are to be released. The ones that are gunning for Academy Awards, or were gunning for Oscars or those merely noteworthy directors/casts or titles I particularly have a desire to see. Thankfully it appears most of them will be arrive before or at the time of the Academy Award ceremony. Let's take a look from earliest to last (All dates, as we are well aware, are subject to change and inaccuracies).

Dec. 11.
City of Ember, dir. Gil Kenan
Twilight, dir. Catherine Hardwicke

Dec. 18
Slumdog Millionaire, dir. Danny Boyle

Dec. 26
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, dir. David Fincher
Frost/Nixon, dir. Ron Howard
I've Loved You So Long, dir. Philippe Claudel
Vicky Cristina Barcelona, dir. Woody Allen

Jan. 6
Doubt, dir. John Patrick Shanley
The Wrestler, dir. Darren Aronofsky

Jan. 8
Seven Pounds, dir. Gabriele Muccino

Jan. 22
The Class, dir. Laurant Cantet
Revolutionary Road, dir. Sam Mendes
Valkyrie, dir. Bryan Singer

Jan. 29
Gran Torino, dir. Clint Eastwood
Last Chance Harvey, dir. Joel Hopkins
Milk, dir. Gus Van Sant

Feb. 5
Changeling, dir. Clint Eastwood

Feb. 12
Rachel Getting Married, dir. Jonathan Demme

Feb. 19
The Secret Life of Bees, dir. Gina Prince-Blythewood

Unknown / Unscheduled / Later in 2009
Appaloosa, dir. Ed Harris
The Argentine, dir. Stephen Soderbergh
Blindness, dir. Fernando Meirelles
The Boy in the Striped Pajamas, dir. Mark Herman
Cadillac Records, dir. Darnell Martin
The Christmas Tale, dir. Arnauld Desplechin
Defiance, dir. Edward Zwick
The Fall, dir. Tarsem Singh
Frozen River, dir. Courtney Hunt
Guerrilla, dir. Stephen Soderbergh
Miracle at St Anna, dir. Spike Lee
The Reader, dir. Stephen Daldry
Repo! The Genetic Opera, dir. Darren Lynn-Bousman
Synecdoche, New York, dir. Charlie Kaufmann
W., dir. Oliver Stone
Wendy and Lucy, dir. Kelly Reichardt
What Just Happened, dir. Barry Levinson

Needless to say, there are far too many movies with unknown release dates for my liking. I imagine stuff like What Just Happened, Frozen River and Miracle at St Anna will go Direct-to-DVD despite quality/cast/crew. Remember, stuff like Sherrybaby went Direct-to-DVD so it's not just for bad movies. Repo will probably get a run in cult cinemas (ACMI Freaky Friday begs) and it would be very silly to not release Desplechin's A Christmas Tale before Christmas. But, apparently Australians don't like Christmas, so...

At least a couple of these will still be getting cinema releases around June next year and the rest will probably just bubble up into the release schedule when and if they receive award citations. If anybody has any word on the release dates for those films in the final section there could you pass it along? That'd be lovely, thanks!

"I don't think Stan and I would ever have gotten together had I known his entire family smell their fingers all day after they eat chicken."

Friday, November 28, 2008

Well Played, Poster: Beautiful

In a complete and utter shock to anybody who follows the Australian film industry, the new film Beautiful is actually being marketed! And, this is the particularly astonishing aspect, it's being marketed to it's key target demographic and not uptown arthouse snobs! Amazing.

I gotta say that I flat out love this poster! Reminds me a lot of the poster for Swimming Pool with it's blatant female sexualisation and mysery-mongering, but just like that 2003 film that starred Charlotte Rampling and Ludivine Sagnier it all works. The stylised look of the central image hints at Lolita and the tagline - "Get Me Some Mystery" - is great because it makes anybody looking at the poster aware that the film has some sort of mystery to it and it also uses "teen speak". A little bit Gossip Girl, no? It's certainly more intriguing and interest-building that some of the things I've seen printed on posters and DVD cases in the past.

Britney Spears - Circus: 7.5/10

Blackout was better, fyi.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Four Things Meme

I got tagged by Ali and because I have nothing better to do than watch The Amazing Race and eat pasta I thought I would indulge.

Four jobs you've had in your life:
Checkout chick, Music critic, Book store salesperson, Blogger (hey, it's a full time job!)

Four movies you could watch over and over again:
Bob Fosse's All That Jazz, David Lynch's Mulholland Drive, Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho and - oh yes - Howard Franklin/Bill Murray's Quick Change.

Four places you've lived:
Blacktown, Geelong (and it's various suburbs), Brunswick West and... umm... I haven't lived anywhere else as far as I'm aware.

Four TV shows you love to watch:
I thought I'd try and list shows that are currently on, but the list of shows I watch is incredibly short so I threw in some oldies too. The Golden Girls, Twin Peaks, Ugly Betty and At the Movies (hey, it counts! I could watch David and Margaret bicker all day.)

Four places you've been on vacation:
New York City, Los Angeles, Sydney, The Gold Coast - oooh!

Four websites you visit daily:
Facebook, The Film Experience, Inside Film, Defamer AU.

Four of your favourite foods:
Pasta, Seafood, Noodles, Lindt Mint-Infused Chocolate (mmmm - so addictive!)

Four places you'd rather be right now:
1. New York City - I have my tickets, now I'm just waiting for April to arrive!
2. One of those game show booths where money flies around and you grab how much you can shove into your pockets - Because I'm poor and it looks like fun!
3. At the cinema watching one of the many many films to see before I can even think of doing a "Best of 2008" piece.
4. In winter - I am sooo not a summer person, okay!

Four bloggers you're tagging:
You, you, you and you! Yes, I know it was unspecific, but whatevs. I can't make you do anything so if you want to do it then do it.

Poster of the Day: Undead

Undead (2003)
dir. The Spierig Brothers

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Political Correctness Gone Mad or Simply Good Marketing Sense?

Reese Witherspoon and Vince Vaughn have a knew movie coming out next week. I know this because I have seen the poster everywhere and the only thing I can guage from it is that "I am meant to find it funny how tall Vince Vaughn is compared to Reese Witherspoon. Those crazy folk!" The movie is called Four Holidays. What's that you say? "It's called Four Christmases!" Well, to that I say "not down here it ain't!"

In a strange move, the film's distributors have decided to erase Christmas altogether from the film's release on these shores. As I already mentioned, the movie has been renamed to Four Holidays and even the artwork has eradicated any references to Christmas whatsoever. Gone are the presents that Witherspoon stands on in the American poster, and they have been replaced with suitcases. Gone, too, is the festive red ribbon that binds the two stars together. Let's compare.

The American poster:

And here is the artwork used at the official Australian website (I can't seem to find an actual Australian poster online, unfortunately).

They even changed the colour of the title from red and green to red and black, just so people don't make any link to the festive season at all!

As far as I am aware, the film is only going by this new title in Australia and New Zealand, but it could be elsewhere. It probably makes perfectly good sense to release it under the new title in a country that is less Christmas-oriented (countries that are more religiously diverse, perhaps), but why change it here? Sure, he have plenty of alternative religions to Catholicism and Christianity, but we're generally a god-fearing-and-let's-celebrate-baby-Jesus country - for better or worse - and as a country that celebrates Christmas in the majority. Although, to be honest, there probably are people who celebrate Christmas who, rightly so in most cases, wouldn't go see a Christmas-themed movie if you paid them. Maybe they are just being particularly shrewd and not wanting to lose any possible box office dollars to people who are more in the mood for "Vince and Reese's wacky hyjinx" than "Vince and Reese's wacky hyjink while discovering the true meaning of Christmas and becoming better people because of it", or whatever the film is all about.

And then there's the thought that somebody on the marketing team got a whiff of "letter to the editor" people getting their underwear in a twist and decided to err on the side of political correctness. You know the ones. They're the ones who criticise cities putting up Christmas decorations because it "insults [their] own beliefs" or, even sillier, the beliefs of others that they have no relation to (and, in the case, they are merely Negative Nancy's with nothing better to do with their time than complain about things that don't effect them in any way shape or form.)

Nevermind all this though because I sure as hell won't be forking over my money for this movie. Will you?

This Week on Australian Screens

Cinema Releases for the Week 27/11/08

Australia - There's really no excuse to not know Baz Luhrmann's new movie is opening today. None. And for that I'm speaking about Australians. I saw this last night and a review is forthcoming (how much have I said that lately?) but it will be positive, that you can count on. It's not, however, the greatest movie known to mankind in the history of cinema. Damn. :P I'd like to point you in the direction of a review at Melbourne Film Blog, which I think is really well done. And considering Paul didn't think he would like it, that's quite a glowing endorsement. I agree with him on a lot of points, actually.

Big Stan - This Rob Schneider (he directed and stars) "comedy" that is, surely, so bad it hasn't even received an American release. Aww. We're so lucky down here on these shores, aren't we? We can't get Milk at the same time as the US, but Big Stan? We get it early!

Quarantine - I'm still waiting for Quickflix to send me the original Spanish film [rec]. This horror flick stars Jennifer Carpenter, who you should know from Dexter - and if you don't know her from Dexter then go and watch Dexter! NO EXCUSES, PEOPLE!

DVD Releases for the Week 26/11/08

The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian - Meh. I'll pass, I think. I sort of hated the first one, didn't you?

The Love Guru - Ugh.

Meet Dave - Apparently it's not that bad?

The Savages - Laura Linney was Oscar-nominated for her performance in this dramedy with Phillip Seymour Hoffman.

The X-Files: I Want to Believe - This flop X-Files sequel isn't even about aliens, right? The ads, at least, seemed to be about something else entirely. Which is a shame because I used to really love this show.

TV Screenings for the Week 27/11/08

28/11/08, Revenge of the Nerds (1984), C7, 11.15PM - Awww.

29/11/08, Westworld (1973), C9, 1.50AM - One of those movies that will forever be linked to a remake story, this sci-fi film starred Yul Brynner and directed by the book's writer Michael Crichton.

29/11/08, Jurassic Park (1993), C10, 8.40PM - How odd. I've had a craving to watch this movie for the past week or so, but don't own it on DVD. Spooky.

29/11/08, Bad Santa (2003), C9, 9.40PM - They've been airing a few Christmas movies already on tele, but watch when it gets to Christmas Eve and they throw something like High School Musical on.

29/11/08, Dragnet (1954), ABC2, 10.15PM - A recent discussion at Dave Poland's The Hot Blog involved trying to find the first movie-to-TV series and I think people decided on this film.

29/11/08, Team America: World Police (2004), C10, 11.10PM - I've never actually seen this movie in it's entirety. The DVD froze around about the "America Fuck Yeah" moment and I just never got around to getting another copy.

30/11/08, Hedwig and the Angry Inch (2001), C9, 1.30 - If you're in the mood for a musical night, perhaps you could follow Team America with this amazing queer rock musical starring John Cameron Mitchell.

31/11/08, Cat People (1942), ABC1, 1.20AM - One of the finest movies ever made, let alone one of the finest horror movies. Fact.

31/11/08, Isle of the Dead, ABC1, 2.35AM - A Val Lewton production (like Cat People) starring Boris Karloff.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Is Jessica Mauboy the Next Jennifer Hudson?

Does Rachel Perkins see something in Jessica Mauboy that others do not? The director of indigenous-themed movies such as Radiance and One Night the Moon - very good, both of them - has cast the Australian Idol runner up from two years ago in her new Aboriginal musical adaptation Bran Nue Dae (which hasn't, as far as I'm aware, gone a name change to Brand New Day like one unedited Sunday newspaper reported). The singer who, since losing the top prize, became a member of Young Divas and has since released her debut solo record Been Waiting - surprisingly quite good - and had a top three single with "Running Back". Despite being a fan of the song and now the album, I can't exactly claim that Mauboy exudes personality like Jennifer Hudson, whose story Mauboy mimics quite a lot, does.

And while it's true Hudson's performance in Dreamgirls has its detractors, it did win the Oscar and you don't win them by being universally disliked. So I wonder what will become of Mauboy. Her album is already charting higher than Kanye West's on the iTunes charts, and - heaven forbid - maybe her popularity could get a young audience to see an Aussie film for once. And a musical co-starring Deborah Mailman, Ernie Dingo, Missy Higgins and even Geoffrey Rush at that!

In the end, however, Mauboy does what she does and says what she says* so we'll see if all works out in the end.

"I do what I do! I say what I say!"

*Don't bother trying to understand this unless you are Australian and have a penchant for watching Australian Idol contestants making fools of themselves in sponsor commercials. Bless.

America Prefers Their Liam Neeson Dark and Brooding

I came across the new poster for Taken today. This is a film produced by Luc Besson and starring Liam Neeson as a man who is out to get his kidnapped daughter back (or something to that effect). It has already been released in most parts of the world except, strangely, America. And yet looking at this newly released poster for the movie, I was struck by how different it was to the foreign designs. Let's look, shall we?


Gone is the pulpy action vibe, the picturesque Parisian views and Liam Neeson being all athletic. What they have been replaced by is this:

All dark and brooding. Very icy and monochromatic. I suppose that's "in" these days, isn't it? It's a good design, sure, but I can't help but be a little taken aback by it. Especially since it's done well box office-wise in countries like Australia, UK Mexico and France. We'll see when it's released in America in January.

Fight This

I know you've probably already seen them, but DAAAMN! How could you say no to this?

And I think that makes a wonderful return to blogging, don't you?

Monday, November 24, 2008

Back (Tomorrow)

So, I finally have an Internet connection, although not on my own computer. Lovely. Hopefully I'll be all up and ready by tomorrow though. How's things?

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Poster of the Day: Underwater Special

Water generally provides poster designers with an easy hole-in-one. The ideas are usually the same and the execution not that different, but something about them always makes them stand out. Unless you're Deep Blue Sea, which somehow thought audiences were going to for Saffron Burrows and not a shark chomping people in half. Silly people. Here are some of my favourites:

(#12 - 100 Greatest Movie Posters)

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Poster of the Day: Andy Warhol's Flesh

Andy Warhol's Flesh (1968)
dir. Paul Morrissey

This Week on Australian Screens

Cinema Releases for the Week 20/11/08

American Teen - Documentary.

Fugitive Pieces - Canadian drama about a man who can't move on from the horrors of WWII when dealing with his relationships to women.

Quantum of Solace - I can't get that much enthusiasm for this movie, actually. Something about it just doesn't quite sit right. Or, it could just be that it's out but a mere one week before Australia and that's taking up all my anticipation right now. WEEEE! One week to go. See, I'm already sidetracked.

Youth Without Youth - Awww. I feel a bit sorry for this movie. Don't you?

DVD Releases for the Week 20/11/08

Hancock - Do you care?

Mongol - Kazakhstan's first ever Oscar-nominee was this acclaimed trilogy-opener about Genghis Khan.

Black Water - This superb Aussie killer crocodile thriller should be put right to the top of whatever DVD service you use. I reviewed it earlier this year and it would be really worth your while to seek it out. It's scary and thrilling and everything a movie like this should be. Plus, it's better than Open Water, the film it clearly rips off.

No TV screenings for this week.

Temporary Disappearance

I won't be here for an undetermined amount of time. I am moving house tomorrow and don't even know when I'll have phone access to connect the Internet up. I have some things saved that'll pop up (not much), but I can't say when I'll be back to proper blogging mode. However, my new living situation will hopefully mean those pesky 2-day breaks during the week that occur at this blog will disappear so there's that to look forward to!

To make it up to you, here's a picture of Chloe Sevigny!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Poster of the Day: The Legend of Hell House

The Legend of Hell House (1973)
dir. John Hough

Isn't that sort of brilliant? Using the profile (of sorts) of the Hell House of the title as the lower part of the jaw on a skull? Nice.

Deluxe is Enough!

The latest trend in the music world is that of "deluxe editions" or "special editions" or "reloaded editions", much to the chagrin of music fans (and anal retentive iTunes catalogers like myself). It's getting to the stage where there's no reason to purchase an album in the first month of release because there's a 50/50 chance that it will be re-released soon enough.

Take Gabriella Cilmi. One huge hit with "Sweet About Me" and another unfortunate flop with "Don't Wanna Go to Bed Now" and her Lessons to be Learned album has been re-released. Why? Not to sure. Leona Lewis is another example. After only releasing singles "Bleeding Love" and "Better in Time" her Spirit album is getting the "Deluxe Edition" treatment. It includes a measly three new tracks, yet fans are expected to purchase it. The Presets have a new edition of their award-winning Apocalypso out now and other artists like Justin Timberlake, Rihanna, Nelly Furtado and Duffy have also done this with their recent albums. At least in Cilmi and Lewis' cases their respective albums weren't that great to begin with. Kelly Rowland ditched half of her Ms. Kelly album and re-released it with a whole swag of new songs.

Rihanna too has hit payday with her Good Girl Gone Bad: Reloaded album, which itself spawned three singles, bringing the total number of singles from that album to eight (EIGHT!) They're even back to releasing songs from the old album, with "Rehab" hitting radios in recent weeks. As a matter of fact, to prove how much of a phenomenon Rihanna's album has become (it seriously is this generation's Rhythm Nation 1814, isn't it?) not only did it receive a "Reloaded" edition with new songs but also "Deluxe Edition" with remixes!

Beyonce too has gotten in on the act, except instead of releasing a standard edition of her I Am... Sasha Fierce double album and then re-releasing it months later with a newer shinier version, she has released the "Deluxe Edition" right off the bat. Why anybody would purchase the standard edition, which eliminates five tracks, is beyond me. Although, to be perfectly honest, why anybody would purchase any edition of I Am... Sasha Fierce is a mystery considering it's a terrible album. Christina Aguilera's Keeps Gettin' Better: A Decade of Hits also comes with a deluxe edition featuring extra songs that, for some reason, they decided to not include on the standard edition.

It's a surprise then to realise that there are artists like Girls Aloud, Sugababes, Kanye West and Britney Spears who have the gall to actually release an album a year after the last one. Whod've thunk it?!? Two albums! In two years! Unheard of...

Coming Soon: Agent 99?

No, Anne Hathaway isn't staring in a spin-off to Get Smart, but if she was and it was to be released in 2009 it would certainly be in good company.


Surely all three of these movies - an animated sci-fi adventure, a stop-motion philosophy lecture and a star-filled Broadway musical adaptation respectively - can't be released in the span of a year with all of their titles in tact. I imagine 9 will have to be the one to change. $9.99 is out first and has all it's marketing stuff out there already, Nine surely has a copyright on the name since it's based on a decades old musical and then there's 9, which is a rather obscure title for a movie - based upon an Oscar-nominated short - set in an apocalyptic future with a rag doll who steals souls. Watch the original short below, it's actually very good.

And all of these movies are out in 2009. Freaky much?

Stepping Up in Three Dimensions

That I liked Step Up 2 the Streets is probably either surprising or expected, depending on how much of my stuff you read. I do have a fondness for dance movies, which is readily apparent so it already had that going for it - although titles such as How She Move and Honey are awful so I don't give them an instant pass - but having said that I generally tend to not like modern day urban music and I loathed the original Step Up. It surprised me to find that I enjoyed it because I actually thought Step Up 2 the Streets was very well done with not only amazing dance routines, but I found it was striving for something a bit more dramatically interesting and it was far more lively with it's cliched premise than many others in the genre.

So when I saw this poster I was... well... it was very odd.

I was entirely aware that they had announced this movie, but until now didn't quite believe that it was true. Honestly! A Step Up movie in 3D?! And, apparently, it's to be set in both New York and Paris. Naturally. Here's just hoping they don't return to the Fame-lite of the original and instead keep digging for something a little bit deeper than your average dance flick. But, even if it fails in that regard we'll still have crazy 3D dancing!

Who Loves Jamie Bell?

Liev does, apparently!


And who wouldn't wanna pash him, honestly?