Sunday, March 29, 2009

1 Day 'til NYC: Manhattan

In anticipation for my trip to New York City I will be counting down with some of my NYC movies (and even some that I don't like just for a change of pace). Hope you all enjoy.

I chose Woody Allen's Manhattan to represent this day because isn't it the most iconic movie about New York? Woody Allen himself has made a lot of NY Movies and some like Annie Hall (or the i-like-it-more-than-most Manhattan Murder Mystery) would have been a fine choice, but Manhattan is, for this writer at least, the be all end all of Woody Allen. If he only ever made this one movie then I would still consider him a master. It also helps that this one image is so incredibly iconic too. It's a shame the bench isn't there anymore. Whose bright idea was it to get rid of that?

What was it about 1979, too? Not only was this title release that year, but Fosse's All That Jazz, which I discussed yesterday, was released too. Two of my "all time" "top ten" films (quotation marks to identify that I am quite aware I haven't seen anywhere near enough movies to make a well-rounded list) from the same year and both about the city of New York? How incredibly bizarre, but delightfully so.

Now, as this is the last entry in this little series that means I head off tomorrow. However, don't go thinking you can just erase Stale Popcorn off of your daily internet travels. No siree. I have scheduled a few things to pop up while I'm gone. There are some NYC-related music entries, "This Week on Australian Screens" for both weekends that I'm away, a couple of reviews (although as of writing this they are incomplete so maybe don't hold me to this) and a scattering of other pieces here or there.

I return to Australian soil on 12 April at which point I'm sure I'll have an image or a tale or two to share and I hope you're still around to enjoy.


Saturday, March 28, 2009

Movies in Movies: Last Days & A History of Violence in Dans Paris

2 Days 'til NYC: All That Jazz

In anticipation for my trip to New York City I will be counting down with some of my NYC movies (and even some that I don't like just for a change of pace). Hope you all enjoy.

The best movie I have seen in my admittedly quite short and limited life. I would like to think that something will eventually come along - whether it be new or an oldie I have yet to discover - that will dethrone it, but I have such strong personal feelings towards Bob Fosse's All That Jazz that I don't think it's possible (and I almost don't want it to as I've become quite attached to this movie.)

Why I didn't choose to use it as #1 will become obvious when you see what title I did use - it's obvious really. But Fosse's movie is immaculate on every single level. I have long wanted to do a big long proper essay-like review on the title discussing it's many brilliant facets, but whenever I try to sit down and write about it the words just fail me. It's almost as if this movie renders me unable to function.

When I initially watched it - it was one of only two movies I've ever bought on DVD before even seeing it - I really liked it, but it was far from anywhere close to attaining the stature it holds with me today. No, it took another viewing - the same day I rewatched Fosse's Cabaret, another title I wasn't as taken with on first viewing - to really allow the movie to click within my mind. A big screen viewing at ACMI made me really sit up and seriously consider it amongst the other titles I bandied about as my #1. Multiple DVD viewings later and I thought there was no sense debating it anymore. It was my favourite and it remains so to this very day.

Friday, March 27, 2009

3 Days 'til NYC: New York, New York

In anticipation for my trip to New York City I will be counting down with some of my NYC movies (and even some that I don't like just for a change of pace). Hope you all enjoy.

Oh you knew it had to be on here.

Contrary to what I wrote earlier in the week about Martin Scorsese's Taxi Driver, I love New York New York despite the fact that I can tell things needed to be thrown out. Such is the affection I have for these sort of messy pet projects, I suppose. Watching New York, New York is a very surreal experience. With the knowledge that Robert DeNiro and Liza Minnelli were improvising a lot (hence the long single takes) and that Scorsese deliberately asked Liza to channel her mother, Judy Garland, in the singing scenes just adds to the level of bizarreness on offer here. But, as I say, that's all part of its deranged charm.

The other big part of it's charm belongs to Liza Minnelli who gives a performance I'd call "mindblowing". She does blow everything else off screen when she's around and she takes the focus off of weird Robert DeNiro. Her climactic performance of "Theme from New York, New York" (written by Kander and Ebb) is euphoric. It's a shame the Frank Sinatra version is the one so many people think of when they think of this great song (why it was Oscar snubbed we'll never know). She hits it outta the park!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Review: The Eternity Man

The Eternity Man
Dir. Julien Temple
Year: 2008
Aus Rating: M
Running Time: 63mins

Julien Temple's The Eternity is a not a movie one should watch if they enjoy the delights of plot, dialogue or subtlety. If, instead, you enjoy your movies to be all pyrotechnics and razzle dazzle mise-en-scène then perhaps it is for you. And even then you will have to get past the singing. Oh yes, there will be singing. I will be the first to admit that opera isn't exactly "my thing", but I can handle it all well and good in small doses and if, ya know, performed well. And yet while I can't call myself a particularly good judge of what makes one opera good and another bad, I must say I found the nauseating operatic warblings in The Eternity Man to be an insufferable mess.

Starting with a ten minute long sequence that recalls the opening passages of Baz Luhrmann's equally radical musical Moulin Rouge! that features Christa Hughes decked out as a 1920s flapper gal in Sydney's Luna Park, Temple's film feels as if it is trying to assault your senses with as many bizarre images as possible. At only 65 minutes in length the film has less time than usual to show its images, and yet there are enough shoved in here to last a good half an hour more. I actually enjoyed this opening stretch. I found myself admiring the beautiful costume work of Wendy Cork (this being her first foray into period costumes) and the production design by Felicity Abbott. It was crazy and vaudeville, but I liked it nonetheless.

Unfortunately, then the story kicked in. The Eternity Man follows the story of Arthur Stace, a reckless drunk, who converts to a life of God and, for the rest of his days, writes the word "eternity" in chalk all over Sydney. International readers would be surprised - and perhaps even a few locals too - to learn that this is actually a true story and that the mysterious graffiti (as it was called) was once seen as a pest to the city until in the year 2000 when it was emblazoned on the Sydney Harbour Bridge in New Years Eve fireworks.

To say there's not much plot to the film is putting it lightly, but Temple more than makes up for that with his bravura visual design. Cinematographer Mark Wareham (Clubland) does a wonderful job in recreating eras and atmospheres, however it is the visual conceit of projecting classic stock footage upon buildings, surfaces and people that gives the movie it's visual edge. Sure, it's a very theatrical idea that would have worked just as well for the stage version (it is an adaptation after all), but it works equally well on film. The insertion of stock footage into the narrative, too, helps to create a dynamic energy. One particular scene that condenses the horrors of war into a brief but explosive couple of minutes is especially well done.

However, the one aspect that brings the film crushing down to Earth is its very reason for existence; the opera itself. As I said before, I can't claim to be an expert on this style of performance, but the singing on display within here is quite excruciating. Star Grant Doyle is responsible for most of it and his deep croaky voice does the material no favour, allowing a good large portion of the lyrics to become incoherent. Christa Hughes, as Arthur's sister Myrtle, fares little better especially during her big climactic scene at the docks during which she sounds like a cat being put through a mixer.

The story of Arthur Stace is perhaps one that could have been very fascinating, and without the music The Eternity Man would have been a beguiling visual exploration of a period of Australian life that is rarely, if ever, portrayed on screen. However, the film's sole reason for being is the music and so I think it is fair that this music should be the ultimate basis of the film's success or failure. At only a fraction over an hour in running time there isn't even all that long a time to have to grin and bare it. And yet as the film continues on exploring the decades that Stace was active as the graffiti artist of Sydney I could not overcome the frustration that boiled out of the score and its meandering nittying. On that basis I can't give a grade based on anything else. C-

4 Days 'til NYC: 42nd Street

In anticipation for my trip to New York City I will be counting down with some of my NYC movies (and even some that I don't like just for a change of pace). Hope you all enjoy.

One of - if not the - quintessential movies about Broadway. Lloyd Bacon's movie is famous for many reasons, but mostly for the choreography of Busby Berkeley who would go on to make his own famous films such as the Golddiggers films. It features on the oldest stories in the book (young girl who wants to be a star gets cast in the lead role of a big musical, etc) but tells it so well. And, yes, it helps that the musical numbers - the big Broadway production at films' end - are so well done (even if watching them from the audience would be completely boring since they don't have tunnel-vision), Bacon knew how to film them well. They even modeled the movie poster after the iconic leg tunnel sequence.

However, it is the very final few moments that make this movie great to me. You have to see them to know what I mean, but it adds a bit of a bittersweet feeling to the proceedings.

Taking Trailers

Courtesy of /Film comes the newly released trailer for Ang Lee's latest - Taking Woodstock. Even though I forgot out in my top 50 anticipatory titles of 2009, I am very much looking forward to this title and I'm predicting big things come Oscar season. Here's the trailer to watch. Being released on the same day as the trailer for Where the Wild Things Are was probably not good since that title has literally devoured everybody's imagination, but the footage on show here is good enough to stand out, don't you think?

I wish more stars would introduce their movie trailers. It's cute. I wasn't aware, however, that the movie was coming out "this summer". Hopefully that means it will be released here in Australia by at least December (aka, "Australia's summer"). Personally, I could've done without the annoying music in the beginning, but it looks like another solid Ang Lee departure. What will he take on next? An animated horror film set in France during WWI? He's never done any of those things!

My Issue With the New Sam Mendes Movie

I generally quite like the new poster for Sam Mendes' Away We Go. I think it's quite original and it will definitely intrigue people. Unfortunately, everything so far about this movie - Mendes' first out-and-out comedy and his first movie with jokes at all since American Beauty - has positioned it as yet another faux-indie quirk-fest. First there was the trailer. Let's take a look, shall we?

Generally (there's that word again) it looks good enough and the cast looks like they're having a great time. And yet... and yet... it comes off a bit odd. Some of the dialogue delivery feels very much like a default Sundance title and the use of yet another indie band over the sound and with quirky animation and with that too familiar device of having likable yet serious characters surrounded by insane brainless morons who just happen to have a tendency to say comical stuff. That we're-not-trying-to-be-funny-but-we-know-we're-funny thing that infiltrates movies of this kind, ya know? Or am I the only one getting that vibe? Even the beats of the trailer are all so very familiar and targeted.

And now here's the poster.

It's nice to not see a poster that's just the lead actors in front of a plain background, but I think this is perhaps going too far with the quirk. At least Juno had the sense the keep that shit to inside the movie and not cover the whole damn poster (later reversed for the DVD release) in so much flotsam and jetsam. Even down to the cutesy way the film's rating is presented. It all just comes as too calculated and gives me a twitch that I can't get rid of. Especially since this is Sam Mendes we're talking about, someone who is not exactly known for this sort of style. Bandwagons have never been so appealing or some such!

Basically, I just have this overriding sense that I'm going to flat out despise this movie as if it's a culmination of all the things I have disliked about so many movies lately. I can picture it being full of hipster traits and indie cliches with a twee soundtrack to match. I wonder if there will be a scene where Krasinski and Rudolph stand on top of a van in the middle of an implausible quarry and scream their lungs out while wearing hilariously so-lame-they're-hip ponchos. I feel like there should be.


Where the Wild Trailer Is

Is right here!

Isn't it special? That Arcade Fire music is actually quite powerful when put together with those images. I just hope that this trailer means the studio left Spike Jonze alone and let him make the movie he wanted to and not a CGI-laden monster movie. I recognise that coastline, too, by the way.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

5 Days 'til NYC: The Godfather Part II

In anticipation for my trip to New York City I will be counting down with some of my NYC movies (and even some that I don't like just for a change of pace). Hope you all enjoy.

Beating out The Godfather by the tiniest of margin as my favourite of the trilogy is The Godfather Part III. It's really the New York migration sequences and the life of the young Vito Corleone played by Robert DeNiro that make this movie for me. They have such a vibrant and dangerous atmosphere to them. The parade assassination sequence is, in my eyes, one of cinemas finest moments. Pure perfection.

I like the entire trilogy, actually. I even found many things to love in the much maligned Part III. And just think, if Francis Ford Coppola had not have cast his daughter Sofia she mightn't have realised she was meant for a career behind the camera instead of in front of it. But back to Part II, it is a stunning piece of cinema and deserving of its Oscar win, the only sequel to ever win a Best Picture prize. Hell, I think it's the only sequel nominated for a Best Picture prize. I'm too lazy to actually research that and find out, but I can't think of any others.

This Week on Australian Screens

Cinema Releases for the Week 26/03/09

Bottle Shock - Nobody seems to like this wine comedy very much so I think it's safe to say that I'll skip it.

A Complete History of My Sexual Failures - Festival hit finally gets a release. Looks as appealing as roadkill.

Knowing - Alex Proyas' Dark City is one of the finest movies ever made in this country. It's nice to see him returning here to make his American action movies (although IMDb seems to think it is solely an Australian movie?), but Knowing doesn't exactly look that great, does it? The "disaster porn" moments looks well done (especially the plane sequence - although since I'll be on one in less than a week maybe I shouldn't think about it) but Nicolas Cage is such an insufferable bore these days. Get him another Leaving Las Vegas pronto.

The Uninvited - This movie brings up three questions: What is Emily Browning doing here? What is David Strathairn doing here? And what is Elizabeth Banks doing here? I admit to having an affection for these b-grade Stepfather rip offs, but... really? I didn't think they made them anymore.

Wendy and Lucy - Kelly Reichardt's followup to Old Joy is this movie starring Michelle Williams. I've heard very polar reaction to this movie, but it seems like the sort of thing I would like. I won't get the chance to see it, unfortunately.

DVD Releases for the Week 26/03/09

Dance of the Dead - *yawn*

Phantom Punch - Never heard of it.

Redbelt - David Mamet writes and directs this movie about... kickboxing? Or some variation on it. Stars Chiwetel Ejiofor.

Sex Drive - Why would I want to watch this movie? And, no, James Marsden is not a good enough reason.

Talk to Me - Apparently this movie from 2007 is only just getting a DVD release here. I had forgotten that it even exists. It stars Don Cheadle and Chiwetel Ejiofor.

Harron's Horror

American Psycho pretty much made me anticipatory to the nth degree for anything that Mary Harron makes. Y'all know I love that movie. Although I wasn't as keen on The Notorious Bettie Page, that still doesn't mean I'm going to just forget that Harron made one of the very finest movies of this decade, no siree.

So it was with excitement that I read today (via) that Harron is returning to the horror field with a title called The Moth Diaries. Thankfully it's not a re-telling of The Mothman Prophecies - that ridiculous movie with Richard Gere and Grace Adler - but a tale involving an all girls' school (they're usually good for scary tales), a dead poet and perhaps even vampires. Read all about it at Bloody Disgusting.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

6 Days 'til NYC: Chelsea Girls

In anticipation for my trip to New York City I will be counting down with some of my NYC movies (and even some that I don't like just for a change of pace). Hope you all enjoy.

I haven't seen Andy Warhol and Paul Morrissey's Chelsea Girls, but felt like I wanted to include it, especially since I'll be taking a peak at the Chelsea Hotel while I'm over there.

Is This What the Antichrist Looks Like?

Could be worse!

via My New Plaid Pants for a movie I am mucho looking forward to.

I've Got Mail a Cold

While I don't look quite as fresh as Meg Ryan does when she has a cold in You've Got Mail (above), I do indeed have the sniffles and they're bad. So while I have two-hour naps during the day and use up a box of tissues, y'all will just have to amuse yourself.

Monday, March 23, 2009

7 Days 'til NYC: Rosemary's Baby

In anticipation for my trip to New York City I will be counting down with some of my NYC movies (and even some that I don't like just for a change of pace). Hope you all enjoy.

One of the sights I am seeing on my sojourn to New York City is The Dakota, a big hotel on Central Park West that has housed many a famous face (Yoko Ono and the dude she was married to... I forget his name). It is also the setting for one of the very finest horror movies ever made. That movie is indeed Roman Polanski's Rosemary's Baby, a taught and downright terrifying experience in witchcraft (or is it?) horror and satanism. Those final moments in the apartment of Mia Farrow i was literally sitting with my knees up under my chin half looking away from the screen/half watching on in terrified anticipation.

Ruth Gordon, the lady in the picture above, won an Oscar for performance here and yet Mia Farrow wasn't even nominated. In fact, Farrow has never been nominated for any Oscar. Isn't that crazy? Nevermind, I'm sure has more things in her life these days. And let us not forget that she had her face all over the second greatest movie poster of all time, thank you very much!


This is a brilliant clip of "Geelong's Own" Portia De Rossi appearing on the Jimmy Kimmel show (I... don't know who that is) apologising for her marriage to Ellen DeGenernes. Found via FilmExperience, via Towleroad, and it is really great. Portia really is quite the gifted comedienne (as if you didn't already know this from Arrested Development and Ally McBeal) with such deadpan delivery. Funny stuff.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

8 Days 'til NYC: Taxi Driver

In anticipation for my trip to New York City I will be counting down with some of my NYC movies (and even some that I don't like just for a change of pace). Hope you all enjoy.

The first of two Martin Scorsese movies I am featuring, but the best of his entire career. One of the best ways, I feel, to judge a movie is to decide whether it would be better or worse if you took out certain elements. In the case of Taxi Driver you can't take a single thing out or else you rob it of some form of greatness. Everything from the jazz score by Bernard Herrmann to Michael Chapman's seedy cinematography to the actors and the violence that rockets through the movie in sudden bursts and even that mohawk. It all equals a masterpiece.

Sofia Coppola Has Directed Something New!

Alas, it is not a new movie (shame), but a commercial for a perfume called Miss Dior Cherie. Watch it below.

Clearly Ms Coppola is still very much in love with candy-coloured pastels, shimmering light, blonde girls wearing gorgeous clothes and creamy deserts. Does it make you remember how great Marie Antoinette, The Virgin Suicides and - most of all - Lost in Translation were? It does to me and I really wish she'd get a move on and make a new movie. Yes, she just had a baby or whatever, but that's no excuse (...). I need my pretty young blonde girls staring out of windows pondering their place in the world, OKAY?!? Although, to be honest, there are no such philosophical wonderings in the commercial so don't get your hopes up in that regard although there is a nifty Up-ish moment at the end though. Bliss.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

9 Days 'til NYC: American Psycho

In anticipation for my trip to New York City I will be counting down with some of my NYC movies (and even some that I don't like just for a change of pace). Hope you all enjoy.

When it comes time to do my list of the best films of the aughts (that'd be 2000-2009, obviously) one of the very very highest entries will be for this movie that was released in April 2000. As a sign of how far I have come this decade, I wasn't even legally allowed to see the movie due to it's R18+ rating (the equivalent of America's NC17, but not as pornified), but see it I did and I haven't looked back since.

For whatever reason, this movie piqued my interest early. Perhaps it was the controversy - Leonardo DiCaprio starring? A woman directing? Personalised emails for Patrick Bateman? etc - but I found myself following it. I snatched a cinema lobby card and found myself staring at it for long periods of time (maybe it was the Christian Bale infatuation that would solidify itself within me upon seeing the movie proper) and I waited for reviews to come out of it's Sundance premiere in January of the new year. Maybe it was my already inbuilt love of all things 1980s and New York City? I had already grown an appreciation for Reese Witherspoon, too, and I even won a copy of the soundtrack (not including Huey Lewis & The News' "Hip to be Square" unfortunately - that thing would earn me a pretty penny today) to keep my interest un-wavering.

I did, obviously, end up loving the film. I thought it the best of 2000 and would have given it Picture, Director, Actor, Adapted Screenplay awards for sure, plus probably Art Direction too for so perfectly evoking an era. The movie is filled with tonnes of great little moments to. Texas Chainsaw Massacre playing as Bateman works on his abs, all those monologues delivered with such ice cold fascination by Bale and "FEED ME A STRAY CAT" gets me every time despite my undying affection for felines.

That the movie has never quite been retrospectively lauded is a bit disappointing, but it allows me to feel like the movie is still an undiscovered gem and a movie that's sort of mine.

As Whitney Houston once asked; "Didn't we almost have it all?" Almost, Whitney. Almost.

I'm Flying to Cambodia

Movies in Movies: Elephant & Full Moon in Paris in Paris je t'aime

Friday, March 20, 2009

10 Days 'til NYC: The Devil Wears Prada

In anticipation for my trip to New York City I will be counting down with some of my NYC movies (and even some that I don't like just for a change of pace). Hope you all enjoy.

From my Top 10 of 2006 rundown:

One of my major pet peeves is when people discard "popcorn" movies or "pop" music simply because they represent the generic mainstream. It's as if these people think it doesn't take anything to make a good popcorn movie or a good pop song. The abundance of bad popcorn movies and pop music is more proof than I could ever need as evidence of that fact. But, still, the stigma remains. It was with delight that I have watched The Devil Wears Prada five times already in it's short life of release. It continues to make me laugh, to fascinate me and to make me happy by pure virtue of it's existence. It's attitudes like "Oh, it's just a Hollywood comedy" that makes institutions like the Academy constantly refuse to warrant that comedy is a worthwhile form of movie making.

Seriously, how great is the cerulean "run through" sequence? Answer: VERY

This... 'stuff'? Oh... okay. I see, you think this has nothing to do with you. You go to your closet and you select out, oh I don't know, that lumpy blue sweater, for instance, because you're trying to tell the world that you take yourself too seriously to care about what you put on your back. But what you don't know is that that sweater is not just blue, it's not turquoise, it's not lapis, it's actually cerulean.

You're also blithely unaware of the fact that in 2002, Oscar De La Renta did a collection of cerulean gowns. And then I think it was Yves St Laurent, wasn't it, who showed cerulean military jackets? I think we need a jacket here. And then cerulean quickly showed up in the collections of 8 different designers.

Then it filtered down through the department stores and then trickled on down into some tragic casual corner where you, no doubt, fished it out of some clearance bin. However, that blue represents millions of dollars and countless jobs and so it's sort of comical how you think that you've made a choice that exempts you from the fashion industry when, in fact, you're wearing the sweater that was selected for you by the people in this room. From a pile of stuff.

A Quandry

Why is it that my eyes go to Katherine Heigl when Gerard Butler is standing right next to her with his hands at his crotch?

James Franco is... Allen Ginsberg?

I like it when actors I am fond of, yet who never really got the parts they deserve, finally get that creative wind that propels them forward. James Franco is one of those guys. Anyone who has seen Freaks and Geeks or the James Dean TV movie could tell you he had talent, but before 2008 he was relegated to bad movie galore. Annapolis, anyone? City by the Sea?

2008, however, gave us two Oscar-worthy performances from the man. His lead performance in Pineapple Express was a comedy masterstroke and was rightly Golden Globe-nominated. Sure, Oscar was never on the cards, but it should have been. His supporting role in Gus Van Sant's Milk also should have given him his first Oscar nod, but alas they went with Josh Brolin's straight evil man. I'm not looking at it that way, but Franco was lovely and tender and charming as Scott Smith and I would've preferred he be honoured over Brolin.

Nevertheless, Franco has perhaps another chance at Oscar glory with his role in Howl. It is a biopic after all and he "goes gay" yet again so he already has a couple of ticks next to his name (and if you include the career momentum thing that the Academy like to reward then there's three). One cause for concern though is that Franco is portraying is Allen Ginsburg. I'm not sure if you know what Ginsburg looks like, but Franco it ain't.

The resemblance isn't exactly "uncanny", is it?

Anyway, Towleroad has some production images including the one below.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

11 Days 'til NYC: West Side Story

In anticipation for my trip to New York City I will be counting down with some of my NYC movies (and even some that I don't like just for a change of pace). Hope you all enjoy.

It wasn't my intention to bring it up since I chose this still weeks ago, but has anybody seen that Vanity Fair photoshoot in which Camilla Belle, Ben Barnes, Rodrigo Santoro, Chris Evans and Jennifer Lopez recreate iconic moments from West Side Story? It's absolutely horrific.

I'm not even going to ask they thought anybody wanted to see this, let alone see this with Camilla Belle (When a Stranger Calls) and Ben Barnes (Prince Caspian) as the leads. No, since the West Side Story screencap at the top is of Rita Moreno from the "America" number I really want to ask whose decision it was to cast Jennifer Lopez as her modern day equivalent. Lopez isn't fine to spit-shine Moreno's shoes. Utterly horrific, don't you agree?

So, in conclusion: West Side Story is amazing and "America" is a showstopper of EPIC proportions that Jennifer Lopez could never hope to achieve. THE.END.

How to Make it in Hollywood

Dream Big:
Pussycat Dolls, "When I Grow Up"

"The Casting Couch":
Mentors, "Couch Test Casting"

Become the Next Big Thing on the Indie Scene:
Roisin Murphy, "Movie Star"

Become a Big Star:
Jay-Z feat. Beyonce, "Welcome to Hollywood"

Get a Stalker:
Lady GaGa, "Paparazzi"

Become the Biggest Star in the World:
Madonna, "Hollywood

Don't Let it Go to Your Head:
Princess Superstar, "Famous"

Try Not to Become Too Pretentious and Full of Yourself:
Robbie Williams, "The Actor"

Pretend That You'll Remain Strong to Your Roots:
Fergie, "Glamourous"

Complain About Your Loss of Privacy:
Michael Jackson, "Leave Me Alone"

Throw It All Away on Drugs:
Red Hot Chili Peppers, "Under the Bridge"

Get Ejected From a High Profile Party:
Grace Jones, "Hollywood Liar"
There actually aren't any clips at all for this song so here's a picture of Grace Jones looking like she would if she was throwing you out of a party.

Go to Rehab:
Hole, "Malibu"

Make a comeback:
Bruce Springsteen, "The Wrestler"


In an off topic aside, doing this entry just confirmed how brutally absurd YouTube has become with monitoring "copyright infringements". Do they really think they're losing so much money by allowing people to view (or in some cases embed) their videos? Really? Do they truly honestly think that is helping them at all? It is not. All of this is why there are so many live and remix versions of songs. It's really quite annoying.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

RIP Natasha Richardson

As you have no doubt already heard, Natasha Richardson has died at age 45. Wife to Liam Neeson, daughter to Vanessa Redgrave and mother to two teenage boys Richardson unfortunately never reached the on screen peaks of her family members, but as a stage actress and TONY Award-winner (for Cabaret) and with a good handful of worthy movies to her name she was clearly talented. Condolences for the family.

12 Days 'til NYC: Quick Change

In anticipation for my trip to New York City I will be counting down with some of my NYC movies (and even some that I don't like just for a change of pace). Hope you all enjoy.

The movie that both Inside Man and The Dark Knight appear to have borrowed from (well, there are similarities and I like this movie more than either of those so I choose to believe they copied it, okay?) Bill Murray's only directing credit - and a co-directing credit alongside Howard Franklin - is for this oft-forgotten gem of a bitter comedy. Murray stars alongside Geena Davis and Randy Quaid as a trio of bank robbers who have far more troubles getting to the airport with their loot than they did actually stealing it.

I've seen Quick Change many, many times and it never fails to make me laugh. And for a comedy I think it is so smartly put together. It may feel like a general collection of skits pieces together, but the way it is written is perfection and it ends up as a madcap, but oft-mean-spirited, getaway comedy. You should really try and get a hold of a copy.

This Week on Australian Screens

Cinema Releases for the Week 19/03/09

12 Rounds - Some wrestler called John Cena stars in this action flick with a really bad poster.

Blindness - One of the problems with such delayed released is that I felt like maybe I'd do a review, but nobody would care because this movie is "old news". Fernado Meirelles directs Julianne Moore, Mark Ruffalo and Gael Garcia Bernal (who is really quite terrible in this by the way).

Duplicity - I had originally wanted to Tony Gilroy's Michael Clayton followup a lot. I'm still a fan of Clive Owen and Julia Roberts and Clayton assured interest for a while yet, but... it's all felt a bit lacklustre, hasn't it? From the boring poster art to the general aura of "meh" about it from so many who have seen it. Closer 2 this is not.

Paul Blart: Mall Cop - The fat guy from that show where the fat guy in the dead end job gets a hot wife who stays home all day and does house work while looking George Costanza's dad stars in this movie. It's a "comedy", apparently. Nothing I have seen appears to merit calling it as such.

Salvation - Please don't see this movie!

Two Fists, One Heart - The trailer makes this Aussie-made boxing flick look quite terrible, but I heard good buzz so maybe it's worth checking out. Stars Daniel Amalm who you will surely recognise from Underbelly as Dino Dibra. Curiously, Tim Minchin has a supporting role.

DVD Releases for the Week 19/03/09

Children of the Silk Road - Sure, this Roger Spottiswoode WWII flick wasn't going to be anything amazing without him, but why oh why did they have to cast ladyman Jonathan Rhys Meyers? He was, by a wide margin, the worst thing about this admirable, but dull, movie. Also my first choice for Worst Actor of 2008. And to think, David Wenham - who would've been a much better choice - appears in a small role at the start.

Hellride - This movie, a Danish horror flick, just reminds me if anyone has heard any news of Lars Von Trier's upcoming movie Antichrist? Cause y'all know I wanna see that.

The Longshots - Since when does Limp Bizkit frontman Fred freakin' Durst direct kids movies about American football starring Ice Cube? Does. Not. Compute.

Quantum of Solace - As an entrant in the Bourne franchise it's pretty decent, but as a James Bond movie... notsomuch. Still fun though. Sort of. "Fun" isn't actually how I'd describe it. Hmmm.

The Wackness - Ben Kingsley and the girl from Juno who wasn't pregnant star in this movie about... pot dealing in the early 1990s?



Which one would you rather be watching now? I think we all know the answer to that (the kid from Jerry Maguire trumps subtitles kthnx.)

Public Health Warning

WARNING: The worst Australian film ever made - according to me - finally gets a limited released from tomorrow. I saw Paul Cox's Salvation at AFI last year (and reviewed it here) and it has only soured further in my mind. Truly a deplorably bad movie in every single way.

It is getting a release in three cinemas as of tomorrow, two in NSW and one in Victoria. Three too many if you ask me. And they're high profile cinemas, too, might I add. Not sure who they owe favours too, but I can't imagine this sticking around too long. One week? Probably. Hopefully. AVOID AT ALL COSTS!

Set On You

Where the Wild Posters Are

Here it is. The poster for one of my most anticipated titles (#5 to be exact) of the year, Spike Jonze's Where the Wild Things Are. It looks very good, actually. Not too flashy, but says so much. I like it. I like it a lot!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

13 Days 'til NYC: Klute

In anticipation for my trip to New York City I will be counting down with some of my NYC movies (and even some that I don't like just for a change of pace). Hope you all enjoy.

I want Jane Fonda back. I know that really goes without saying, but dammit I wish she'd get off her arse and make a great movie again. I know there are whisper's that she's being chased to portray the lead in August: Osage County and that's certainly an interesting step in the right direction (or so I've heard about the show itself), but I don't understand why someone such as Fonda isn't out there trying to find some great movie roles. People clearly still want to cast her, but I just wish they'd cast her in something that's... well, that's not Georgia Rule, ya know?

Alan J Pakula's Klute features everything that is so great about Fonda. Everything on down to how she pulls off that should-be iconic dress. And as an example of this sort of '70s thriller it ranks as one of the very finest. Fonda, however, is the key to everything and watching this just makes me pine.

Yet Another Reason Why Gwyneth Paltrow is Amazing

Look, I know not as many people share my opinion on Gwyneth Paltrow as I would like. That gal is all sorts of wonderful. I don't need more reasons to think so, but others do and for those people I present them with this quote about her Two Lovers co-star Joaquin Phoenix in regards to his i'm-quitting-acting-to-become-a-rapper performance art piece.

"What advice would I give to Joaquin? Hmmm...maybe to go live in the projects for a few years to get some authenticity, maybe."

Does this not amaze you?

"I amaze myself!"

Boys Boys Boys

Did anybody else's mind, upon seeing Watchmen's Dr Manhattan in his euro swimsuit, go straight to the album sleeve of Super Sabrina by '80s italo-disco star Sabrina. I guess it was just me.

What Has Heather Graham Been Up To Lately?

It's the question on everyone's mind. The answer? Making crappy-looking movies with Jennifer Coolidge.

This does not surprise me.

In My Opinionattion...'s really random that I thought of this today.

Monday, March 16, 2009

14 Days 'til NYC: The Producers

In anticipation for my trip to New York City I will be counting down with some of my NYC movies (and even some that I don't like just for a change of pace). Hope you all enjoy.

I... don't have anything to say about Mel Brook's The Producers. It sort of speaks for itself. Although I will admit to really really liking the musical remake too.

That Darn Cat