Monday, February 28, 2011

Speaking of Marisa Tomei...: Some Words About the Oscars

At one point of yesterday's 83rd Academy Awards Marisa Tomei strolled out on stage to present that part of the ceremony where they discuss the "sciences" part of "The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences". A segment that usually ranks just behind the bit where the Academy president and the TV executive spiel suppurlatives at each other for the benefit of nobody but themselves. Anyway, Tomei walked out and my viewing guest goes "Speaking of Marisa Tomei," to which I replied "You don't hear that very often!"

The story proceeded into one about In the Bedroom, which is neither here nor there, but it says a lot that, for me, one of the most memorable retorts of the night came not from the ceremony itself, but from the banter between friends. "Banter between friends", that sure is a line that Oscar producers could learn from for as much fun as the opening skit with hosts James Franco and Anne Hathaway walking through various Best Picture nominees - curiously, however, several were left off - the rest of the show simply looked as if Franco and Hathaway had barely spent an hour or two getting to know each and other and learn each others styles and performing rhythms. Maybe James was too busy napping with cats or installing a light show in an Upper West Side apartment for the benefit of nobody but himself, but it was like he only just got the script as the ceremony began. This was a first take performance and it's telling that their best moment was the filmed introduction where they got to act.


It must be said - and almost everybody and their dog has done so already, or will do so soon - that Franco was a nonentity on the night and that Hathaway, clearly noticing that neither Franco nor the crowd were particularly into it, over-compensated. But, it wasn't just Franco's strange blank expression punctuating the awards - that was, however, during the few times that he managed waltz out on stage between spliffs - that felt decidedly uncharismatic. The crowd itself was just not present last night. Perhaps it's exhaustion after the seemingly neverending awards season, or perhaps they were as bored with the winners as the rest of us, but when the only true standing ovation they gave was for Billy Crystal? Aaron Sorkin's win for Best Adapted Screenplay was met with peculiar silence. Wins for Natalie Portman and Christian Bale - acting honours that most were truly excited about despite their inevitability - didn't seem to register much excitement in the crowd.

Add to all of that a bland set that had neither the intimacy of the 2009 Hugh Jackman ceremony (still the best one of the last chunk of years) or the grandness of other years gone by. The newfangled "classic cinema" backdrops began nicely, if awkwardly staged, with Gone with the Wind, but Justin Timberlake's Shrek-ifying of the set a brief time later was just plain odd. It seemed to be a concept that the producers ditched after not too long, which made sense given the schizophrenic nature of the show. Before the awards night it had been said that the ceremony would ditch the montages that are a constant source of frustration with viewers (a "salute to animation" featuring more Space Chimps than is acceptable), but we still got a needless Billy Crystal standup routine as an intro to a needless Bob Hope clip package, which was all just a big roundabout way of introducing Robert Downey Jr and Jude Law to present Best Visual Effects. At least Javier Bardem and Josh Brolin looked amazing in their matching white tuxedos with white bowties. Shame that they edited out their dance and lip lock!

Or how about having Hilary Swank walk out to introduce Kathryn Bigelow? Isn't that what Franco and Hathaway were there for? And, as an aside, I found it quite irritating that they trotted Bigelow out and yet still made no mention of the fact that two female directors had films up for Best Picture (Debra Granik and Lisa Cholodenko). Similarly, Halle Berry's emotional eulogy to Leena Horne felt more token than anything else. Are Halle Berry and Hilary Swank really the best Hollywood stars the producers could mustre? Where were Denzel Washington, Liam Neeson, Will Smith, Matt Damon, Ben Affleck, Quentin Tarantino, Clint Eastwood, Julianne Moore, Meryl Streep, Marion Cotillard, Keira Knightley, Angelina Jolie and so on? Tom Hanks, Nicole Kidman and Hugh Jackman were as "Hollywood's Biggest Stars!" as it got. Hell, it's been a couple of years now where Jack Nicholson hasn't been in the front row and it's actually quite disappointing!

Still, if they were so desperate for these to be the "young, hip Oscars" where were the likes of Mia Wasikowksa? The young ator who starred in a Best Picture nominee (The Kids are All Right) and a billion dollar-earning Tim Burton hit. What about Josh Hutcherson, Amanda Seyfried, Jamie Bell or Rooney Mara, all of whom have big hits behind them and bigger hits ahead of them? Are they keeping the Harry Potter stars locked up over there in England or are they just waiting to parade them out next year when the eighth and final instalment makes a last ditch effort for Oscar gold? Thank heavens for small mercies at the lack of Miley Cyrus, Robert Pattinson - although James Franco, at times, looked a little Edward Cullen - and Justin Bieber, or whatever other "teen sensations" this years' producer thought the kids would want to see.

As for the awards themselves? Well, we all knew The King's Speech was destined for Best Picture glory, but I still don't think I quite understand Tom Hooper's win for Best Director. The film didn't sweep the technical categories like I had predicted, instead only taking home four trophies. Thankfully The Social Network won three excellent awards (Adapted Screenplay, Original Score and Editing), but Inception showed Academy voters still can't get a handle on what "sound mixing" and "sound editing" actually mean with its haul of four statues. Wins for The Lost Thing (Animated Short), Toy Story 3 (Animated Feature), Inside Job (Documentary Feature) and In a Better World (Foreign Language Film) were all richly deserved, which is more that can be said for Alice in Wonderland's baffling two wins for Costume and Art Direction. huh?

As sad as I was for Jacki Weaver missing out, at least Melissa Leo's speech - f-bombs, continued campaigning and insane yelling included - sure was... memorable, yeah? I did okay with my predictions, but I continue to find myself going against my better judgement when it comes to people like Weaver and David Fincher. I got 15 correct from the predictions I listed here at the blog, however I did submit predictions a week or two earlier for an Oscar viewing party I was attending and on those I correctly predicted Inside Job's win, so we'll say I got 16 and be done with it, yeah?

All in all, I can't say I was too impressed with yesterday's show. I don't think it was as shoddily produced as last year's diabolical "WTF?"-worthy ceremony, but it was so dull and flat. On one hand I blame the people involved - the producers, the writers, James Franco - but, on the other hand I blame all the other award shows that are so desperate to be Oscar harbingers that as the end of February rolls around it's all a bit been there done that with the winners. The Oscars can easily be fixed, it will just take the right people to do it.

Let's end this with a gif from the amazing Clem Bastow's rundown of the evening. The only thing better than this moment was that incredible reaction shot of the Coen brothers looking disinterested by Oprah's Best Documentary introduction. I also loved that Michelle Williams brought along Busy Phillips as her guest. Dawson's Creek and Cougar Town represent!

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Rank and File: Predictions for the 83rd Academy Awards

Today is Oscar day! Or, it is in America. As of right now it's 10:36pm on Sunday evening in Australia. The ceremony is telecast live here from 12:30pm tomorrow (er, Monday - are you following this?), which is really quite nice if you're, like me, just sitting around home and not doing anything anyway. Gone, thankfully, are the days where Australians had to avoid television and online media like the plague for fear of having the delayed telecast spoiled - I will, however, never forget the time when Channel 9, the network that has screened the awards for as long as I remember, spoiled Halle Berry's history making win mere minutes before her category was to be announced! - due to declining ratings and the ever-burgeoning presence of social media all but making the ceremony a mere arbitrary obligation for night own diehards.

Here I thought we'd have a bit of fun with the traditional predictions post. Instead of simply listing who I think will win, I have decided to rank all the contenders in their respective categories (with my predicted winner highlighted in bold). I've done quite well for myself this year, having seen the largest number of nominees pre-ceremony ever. Even in the Best Documentary category, where I rarely seem to get past seeing three of the nominees months(/years!) after the awards, I have been privy to four of the five. I kick myself right now for deciding against seeing Wasteland at last year's Melbourne International Film Festival when I had the chance. In fact, the very final Oscar contender I had to watch was Tim Hetherington and
Sebastian Junger's Restrepo, which received a well-timed direct-to-DVD release just last week (as did Dogtooth, which I aim to revisit, but haven't gotten to just yet).

So, without further ado, let's get to it!

Best Picture
1. Toy Story 3
2. The Social Network
3. Black Swan
4. The Kids are All Right
5. 127 Hours
6. Inception
7. The King's Speech
8. True Grit
9. Winter's Bone
10. The Fighter

Best Director
1. Darren Aronofsky, Black Swan
2. David Fincher, The Social Network
3. Joel Coen & Ethan Coen, True Grit
4. Tom Hooper, The King's Speech
5. David O. Russell, The Fighter

Best Actor
1. James Franco, 127 Hours
2. Jesse Eisenberg, The Social Network
3. Colin Firth, The King's Speech
4. Jeff Bridges, True Grit
- Javier Bardem, Biutiful

Best Actress
1. Nicole Kidman, Rabbit Hole
2. Annette Bening, The Kids are All Right
3. Natalie Portman, Black Swan
4. Michelle Williams, Blue Valentine
5. Jennifer Lawrence, Winter's Bone

Best Supporting actor
1. Mark Ruffalo, The Kids are All Right
2. John Hawkes, Winter's Bone
3. Geoffrey Rush, The King's Speech
4. Christian Bale, The Fighter
5. Jeremy Renner, The Town

Best Supporting Actress
1. Jacki Weaver, Animal Kingdom
2. Amy Adams, The Fighter
3. Melissa Leo, The Fighter
4. Helena Bonham Carter, The King's Speech
5. Hailee Steinfeld, True Grit

(I'm better on a lot of last minute screener action for Weaver, as well as every Australian member of the Academy ticking her box, so to speak.)

Best Original Screenplay
1. Lisa Cholodenko & Stuart Bloomfeld, The Kids are All Right
2. Mike Leigh, Another Year
3. David Seidler, The King's Speech
4. Christopher Nolan, Inception
5. Scott Silver, Paul Tamasy, Eric Johnson & Keith Dorrington, The Fighter

Best Adapted Screenplay
1. Aaron Sorkin, The Social Network
2. Michael Arndt, John Lasseter, Andrew Stanton & Lee Unkrich, Toy Story 3
3. Danny Boyle & Simon Beaufoy, 127 Hours
4. Debra Granik, Anne Rosellini, Winter's Bone
5. Joel Coen & Ethan Coen, True Grit

Best Editing
1. The Social Network
2. Black Swan
3. The Fighter
4. 127 Hours
5. The King's Speech

Best Cinematography
1. Black Swan
2. True Grit
3. Inception
4. The Social Network
5. The King's Speech

Best Costume Design
1. I Am Love
2. True Grit
3. The King's Speech
4. Alice in Wonderland
- The Tempest

Best Art Direction
1. Inception
2. The King's Speech
3. True Grit
4. Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince, Part 1
5. Alice in Wonderland

Best Make-Up
1. The Wolfman
- Barney's Version
- The Way Back

Best Original Score
1. How to Train Your Dragon
2. Inception
3. The Social Network
4. The King's Speech
5. 127 Hours

Best Original Song
1. "Coming Home" from Country Strong
2. "A Whole New World 2.0" from Tangled
3. "Randy Newman's Burps Would Get Nominated Here" from Toy Story 3
4. "The Song That Sounds Like Nothing" from 127 Hours

Best Sound Mixing
1. The Social Network
2. Salt
3. True Grit
4. Inception
5. The King's Speech

Best Sound Editing
1. TRON: Legacy
2. Unstoppable
3. Inception
4. True Grit
5. Toy Story 3

Best Visual Effects
1. Inception
2. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1
3. Hereafter
4. Alice in Wonderland
- Iron Man 2

Best Documentary Feature
1. Inside Job
2. Exit Through the Gift Shop
3. GasLand
- Restrepo
- Wasteland

(The category I've gone back and forth on the most. I have Restrepo here to watch before the ceremony and will update this when I've finished it.)

Best Animated Feature
1. The Illusionist
2. Toy Story 3
3. How to Train Your Dragon

(The one category were I don't care what wins - even if we know what will - and the first time this category that thrown up an entire roster of nominees worthy of the win!)

Best Foreign Language Film
1. In a Better World
2. Dogtooth
- Biutiful
- Incendies
- Outside the Law

Best Documentary, Short Subject
- Killing in the Name
- Poster Girl
- Strangers No More
- Sun Come Up
- The Warriors of Quigang

Best Animated Short
1. Day and Night
- The Gruffalo
- Let's Pollute
- The Lost Thing
- Madagascar, A Journey Diary

Best Live Action Short
- The Confession
- The Crush
- God of Love
- Na Wewe
- Wish 143

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Review: I Am Number Four

I Am Number Four
Dir. DJ Caruso
Year: 2011
Aus Rating: M
Running Time: 109mins

People say that we are currently in a golden age for television and that is probably true, but for a teenager the golden age was 2000. It was great being a teenager back then – well, sure, it’s never truly “great” to be a teenager in any given year, but to have such rich and insightful television like Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Roswell and – mock if you will – Dawson’s Creek reaching the height of their craft in that year was something that the 15-year-old version of me relished.

I mention this because DJ Caruso’s new science fiction action movie I Am Number Four feels like a mash-up of all three, but without the valuable series-long format that would allow it to expand upon its themes in any deep way and it falls short of the mark that all three of those series reached in their prime. What it does succeed at, however, is some fun action and some impressive technical aspects that lift it up above the been there done that nature of its story.

I Am Number Four is, essentially, Roswell meets Buffy the Vampire Slayer with a definite detour through Nicholas Ray’s Rebel Without a Cause. With added glowing teal cinematography. Alex Pettyfer (or is that “Prettyfer” because, my gawd, is this boy awfully attractive in a bland sort of way that recalls the likes of Jason Behr in Roswell – are his nipples ever not erect?) stars as “John”, a refugee alien living on Earth with his minder, played by Timothy Olyphant in the Anthony Stewart Head role. He falls in love with the pretty-but-vacant girl Sarah (Dianna Agron from Glee, Katie Holmes would have been cast ten years ago) and becomes friends with a small, unpopular kid at school named Sam, played by an Australian kid named Callan McAuliffe. Needless to say, interplanetary monsters are after him and to explain much more would make the word count of this review would go through the stratosphere.

If this were a television series – and from my understanding of the book and its proposed sequels, I think it probably would have – then Sam’s domestic violence subplot would be expanded and not feel like a dramatically neutered afterthought (Roswell’s similar plot line proved to be one of that series’ bigger triumphs) and the central plot wouldn’t feel so rushed. And speaking of television, isn’t it curious that for a show that celebrates “outcasts”, it’s the plain jane blond Dianna Agron that has gotten the first lead role out Glee?

Perhaps if all these pretty people weren’t so, well, pretty, I Am Number Four would feel more exciting – or, perhaps, if “number four” was the geeky Sam rather than the gym bunny John – but fans of this sort of material should come away with a minor appreciation for it. It’s just unlikely to inherit any of the slavish devotion that a television incarnation may have developed. C+

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Review: Conviction

Dir. Tony Goldwyn
Year: 2010
Aus Rating: M
Running Time: 107mins

What separates Conviction apart from your average film? Arguably, it’s the cast and not much else. Despite the compelling true story at its heart, Conviction doesn’t bring much that hasn’t been seen plenty of times before. Star and Executive Producer Hilary Swank as well as the rest of the cast try their hardest to elevate it beyond the rudimentary, but flat direction by Tony Goldwyn coupled with dull scripting by Pamela Gray holds the film back from achieving anything other than rote tears.

Read the rest at Trespass Magazine

Beautiful Things

I love a juicy bit of celebrity nostalgia. I love an interesting "behind the scenes" look. I love a great poster. I love Madonna. Add all these together and you can just guess how much I loved reading this article at My Life as a Blog (link via The Film Experience) about the making of the poster for Desperately Seeking Susan in the the mid-80s.

It's written by a man who worked on PR for the somewhat iconic 1985 film and the creation of the actually very iconic poster. It's an ode to the world of celebrity in the 1980s (Madonna catching taxis!) as well as the lost art of poster design that Susan a perfect example of. You know, when actors had to be in the same room rather than Photoshopped from opposite sides of the globe. The piece explains the story behind costume designer Santo Loquasto's duel jackets of the film, has multiple amazing Madonna quotes (even if, naturally, she comes of as a bit of a bitch) and features a cameo by Andre Leon Talley so delicious that I'm positively salivating.

At one point, Ritts was shooting some sultry glamour shots of Rosanna posing against a cloth backdrop, when Madonna came over. After gaping at Rosanna for a minute she said, “You look so good I’d like to fuck you myself.” It was funny, but you could almost hear the air—sssssss!—slipping out of Rosanna’s confidence, as her moment was stolen, and it became all about Madonna. And come on! This was Rosanna Arquette, after all—a true fantasy figure for a good portion of the men in America! Moments later, Madonna grabbed the backdrop, commandeered the same pose… and Herb shot an image that became a famous poster.

I suggest y'all check the piece out, it's fascinating from so many different points of view.

Want more beautiful things?

How about this list of the 50 best title sequences from IFC Film. It's an exhausting list - get prepared to lose at least an hour of your day with it - that includes video of all the films with some great discussion going on, too. I think this moment from the article's introduction is quite truthful, although even serious films seem to have jettisoned the art of opening title sequences, haven't they?

Of course, the current fashion in big blockbusters is to skip the opening credits entirely: a studio name, the film's title, and that's it. That decision says a lot about these big blockbusters' priorities: screw mood and tone! Who cares about characters and themes? Let's get to the action!

I've included some of my favourites below.

The Naked Gun | Do the Right Thing

Charade | Taxi Driver

Seconds | Goldfinger

Warriors | Vertigo

If you asked me to pick a favourite, I would have to go with Taxi Driver, and it's a shame they didn't include any David Lynch intro's since his are always so good with their creation of mood through imagery and music. I actually think Gasper Noe's Enter the Void managed to trump every single one on the list - although I may be jumping the gun - just this past year. I didn't care for the movie, but those opening (and closing, which feature at the beginning?) is a "tour de force"

If, for a moment there, this entry was becoming a piece of "the lost art of something-something" then let me change that by noting that giant floating heads are still alive and thriving. The Book of Siberia has assembled a whole bunch of them together and, I'm sad to say, there are quite a few Australian films featured. I don't think any of these posters are anything, although I'd say my favourite was Breaking the Waves, since the way the images are illustrated has some lovely texture to it. Make sure to click on over for the entire compilation of giant floating heads!

The music branch at the Academy lost any chance they may have mad to make audiences care about the musical numbers when they failed to nominated the Diane Warren penned, Cher performed, "You Haven't Seen the Last of Me" for Best Original Song. The music branch hasn't had "taste" in a very long time, so why choose now to get some. I say that, of course, even though I think the film and the song are both legitimately very excellent, but even I can't deny that the general aura around the film is "omgsocamp!itmustbebad!!", which is a shame. Still, the film was one of only a few to actually insert its original songs into the film in the form of musical numbers and they still don't nominate it? And for "If I Rise"? A song that is, I think quite literally, air. There is nothing there to even be considered a song, right?

Oh well, how's this for... well, whatever it is? James Franco rehearsing a "You Haven't Seen the Last of Me" number for the Academy Awards that will, unfortunately, never see the light of day. Yet another reason to think the Academy's music branch deserves a punch in the face for their incompetence.

It's still better than either of the four songs actually nominated thought (give or take "Coming Home" from Country Strong).

Let's end this with some more "beautiful things" that this entry originally started out as. I went to see "Hairspray" last night at the Princess Theatre. I had originally decided not to see it because, well, the movie is so good that I didn't feel like spending over $100 on seeing it performed on stage, and especially since I'd heard the production used LED screen sets rather than actually, ya know, sets. However, I purchased a couple of tickets at OnyaAid and, ya know, it was for charity!

I really liked it, of course, as one does with "Hairspray". It's hard to dislike, truly. I was a bit disappointed we had the understudy for Seaweed since "Can We Talk" hitmaker Tevin Campbell would've been a trip to see! Remember "Can We Talk"?


Still, my favourite part of the show was getting to watch Jack Chambers on stage for a couple of hours. Is this guy not just one of the most adorkable guys you've ever laid eyes on? Okay, well, for me he is. He was most definitely my favourite from the one season of So You Think You Can Dance that I watched. Why doesn't he realise we're meant to be together? Gosh, how rude! Naturally, I took a few cute screencaps from an interview he did with Undercover. It's what I do.

Okay, so more than a few. We're made for each other, can't you tell?

Monday, February 21, 2011

Scream 4: Wimpy Smurfs

Today when I was at Hoyts Victoria Gardens for a movie screening - we won't go into it here just yet, but if you follow me on Twitter then you know it was memorable(!!) - I couldn't help but notice this array of movie posters. I know some younger audiences like horror movies, but this is going a little bit too far, don't you think?

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Review: Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives

Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives
Dir. Apitchatpong Weerasethakul
Year: 2010
Aus Rating: PG
Running Time: 114mins

Winning the prestigious Palme d’Or at last year’s Cannes Film Festival has proved to be a life changing moment for Thai director Apichatpong Weerasethakul – affectionately known as “Thai Joe” – whose films have never received a release in Australia outside of film festivals. But with Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives, audiences will now get the chance to experience the uniquely mystical films that have enraptured the world’s film festival crowd.

Read the rest at Trespass Magazine

Yet another of ACMI's amazing string of great exclusive titles. I love living in Melbourne, I really do.

By the way, I did mention what I thought of the American poster that sent the internet's indie cinephile folks into overdrive. Am I allowed to dislike it? Because I don't. Not really sure what it's meant to say about the film, which for such craft-focused designs like this is a must. It just looks like an excuse to do some fancy artsy stuff, doesn't it? Hmmm.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Ramona Flowers: Princess Slayer

See, this is why I don't do casting news here at the blog! A couple of days later it gets canned!

Unfortunately, everyone's (and by "everyone" I mean the 57 people that actually see The Loved Ones) psychotic prom "princess" Lola Stone (aka Robin McLeavy) has in fact not been cast as the wife of Abraham Lincoln in Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter. Instead, the role has gone to Mary Elizabeth Winstead who y'all will remember as that hipster girl Ramona Flowers that had a baffling amount of attention being paid to her. The only excuse I've ever been able to come up with for Ramona's impossible pull with suitors is that before she moved to the universe of Scott Pilgrim she was not an actual miserable sadsack with annoying hair and was, in actual fact, a hottie cheerleader like the one Winstead played in Death Proof. It's my theory and I'm sticking to it.

Wait, how did this end up as an anti-Scott Pilgrim entry? Anyway, this is why I don't do casting stories.

Oranges and Sunshine / Poster and Trailer

A poster and trailer for Jim Loach's - he's the son of Ken - UK/Australian co-production, Oranges and Sunshine. The film is released here in April and stars Emily Watson, Hugo Weaving and David Wenham and tells the story of the forced relocations of children from England to Australia and Canada, a government policy that wasn't fully ceased until the 1960s. The trailer, scored oh-so-tearjerkily (?) to the music of Lisa Gerrard, basically scream "WATCH THIS MOVIE AND CRY!"

We'll wait and see.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Scream to Scream, Scene by Scene: SCENE 10 of Scream 2 (0:34:42-0:36:37)

In this project I attempt to review the entire Scream trilogy scene by scene in chronological order. Heavy spoilers and gore throughout!

SCENE 10 of Scream 2
Length: 1min 55secs
Primary Characters: Sidney Prescott, Derek, Mickey, Randy Meeks, Hallie, Sister Murphy, Sister Lois and Portia de Rossi's Eyebrows
Pop Culture References:
  • The Empire Strikes Back (as Mickey and Randy continue their sequel talk)

Everclear on the soundtrack. This must be 1997.

(although to prove the "Everclear?"-ness of it all, I originally typed "Evermore", that New Zealand band that had that song that one time.)

These three - Sister Lois, Sister Murphy and Portia de Rossi's Eyebrows - are still an awesome bunch, aren't they? I'm so glad that Rebecca Gayheart wasn't cast as Tatum in the original or whoever else it was that she was meant to be cast as. I swear, I always lose my train of thought around Rebecca Gayheart because I always just jump immediately to this video of her greatest hits from Urban Legend, remixed the greater good of mankind. It's one of the greatest videos of all time!

Wait, where was I?


"What took you so long?"

I love this moment because it reminds me of that bit in Scream where Randy and Sidney have that cute moment discussing Jamie Lee Curtis' award nomination for Terror Train. The sort of moment that just adds that little something extra towards making the audience believe they're so close. Meh, I like it and think it's cute. Plus Randy's adorable puppy dog "i'm sorry" look at the end is, well, adorable.

"Hey babe, wanna dance?"

"Oh I'd love to. Yeah, with that tall, wide-shouldered fraternity boy..."

Another moment of friendly banter that rings so true and identifiable. Add this to their brief moment in the hospital and I really wish we had gotten to see more of these two together. If only Hallie knew she was turning down Timothy Olyphant, there's no way she, nor anybody, would deny him now, right?

"Empire Strikes Back. Better story, improved effects."
"Not a sequel. Part of a trilogy. Completely planned."

So does that mean I'm not allowed to consider Scream 2 one of the best sequels ever made? I mean, it was planned... technically. Although Scream 3 was completely changed from its original plan so maybe that renders the "planned trilogy" concept of this franchise null and void?

Also, when did Randy get so flirty? I mean, he appears to start chatting up a woman while she's holding hands with another man!

I'm sorry Sister Lois! I hear you talking and yet all I can see is...

...such bliss.

"I didn't mean to break up the party!"
"Shit! I should've brought my drink."

More evidence of why these two are amazing.

Oooh, amazing little moment here. Sidney realising for certain that her worst nightmares are coming true and Randy finally accepting it, too. Their look here is golden. It must be after this scene that Randy went back to his dorm room and filmed the "if you're watching this then I am dead" video that features in Scream 3.

And all set to the recurring theme of Nick Cave and the Bad Seed's "Red Right Hand", the trilogy's unofficial anthem.

Intro, Scene 1 Scene 2, Scene 3, Scene 4, Scene 5, Scene 6, Scene 7, Scene 8, Scene 9, Scene 10, Scene 11, Scene 12, Scene 13, Scene 14, Scene 15, Scene 16, Scene 17, Scene 18, Scene 19, Scene 20, Scene 21, Scene 22, Scene 23, Scene 24, Scene 25, Scene 26, Scene 27, Scene 28, Scene 29, Scene 30, Scene 31 Scene 32, Scene 33, End Credits

Scream 2
Scene 1, Scene 2, Scene 3, Scene 4, Scene 5, Scene 6, Scene 7, Scene 8, Scene 9

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Look Sharp! Scream 4 Gets a New Poster

I am sure that those of you who actually care about such things have already laid your eyes upon the brand spankin' new poster for Scream 4. I was unfortunately asleep and at work when it was exploding all over the internet, but I'm here now and, unfortunately, my observation that it shares a bit in common with the 1978 Halloween poster has been taken and ran with by many others. Oh well.

I like it! I find it interesting that they've gone with a completely new concept for this design. I still expect a tradition cast photo that all three prior Scream films received, but this is a nice change of pace. I especially think it's a wise move to make a very Ghostface-centric design since modern audiences will know what the mask is, even if they're not sure of what "Scream" is all about. The mask is like Freddy's glove, it's all you need.

In regards to Halloween (poster to the left, the greatest poster ever made - ahem!), well, I think it's quite obvious and very much deliberate. We all know the first film of the trilogy is particularly indebted to John Carpenter's groundbreaking slasher, so much so that Wes Craven and co even adopted parts of Halloween's musical score as their own and integrated video of the film as well as Halloween inspired gags into multiple scenes.

I find it interesting though the way these two franchises feel quite similar. Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers was the first after a lengthy break after the third, a movie that was disappointing to many fans because it took quite a detour from the path of the original two. Sounds awfully similar to the Scream franchise if you ask me. Halloween 4 is the best of the entire series after the original so if the trend continues...

And, yes, I think the tagline is great! What say you?

Michelle, Anne, Almodovar and Charlotte Sitting in The Tree

Okay, not quite.

Lets wipe the stink of artistic failure from our collective memories and take a peek at three amazing works of poster artwork. Click all images to enlarge.

The poster for Lone Scherfig's One Day starring Anne Hathaway may look 1993 ad for a perfume named "Sunday Morning Suede", but I actually really dig it. A lot. I like the way the colours appear washed out like an old photograph, and yet they still pop out. I like the continued use of numbers throughout and I even like the slash between Hathaway and Jim Sturgess' names. Weird, I know. I guess I'm also just thankful that they've shown these two stars in an embrace and not some lame-brained, posey posey mess. Since they've branded the poster with their logo, I don't really need to tell you where it came from, do I? *grumblegrumble*

Via Cinematical comes this poster for Kelly Reichartd's Meek's Cutoff. A while ago I spoke of how the poster for Never Let Me Go looked too much like a book cover to properly sell the film, the same can be said for this and yet I actually think it works much better. Love the pencil-drawn image at the core, and while it is completely unrepresentative of the film the distributor has gotta sell those tickets somehow! Conjuring up memories of True Grit is probably not a bad way to go. I like the colour, which is so rarely used, I like the way the cast is laid out and the typeface has me drooling (I have a bizarre fondness for words fitting into other words like puzzle pieces.

From The Playlist comes... well, this. It sure is something, isn't it? The first poster for Pedro Almodovar's The Skin That I Inhabit is a blunted peek at the film's nastiness. A weird merging of "pretty" and "sickening", which sounds fitting for an Almodovar film with echoes of Eyes Without a Face. You certainly won't be able to blame the movie for people going and being turned off by all the scalpel action if they keep marketing the movie this way. It puts its cards on the table quite willingly, which is to be admired.

And what of Charlotte? Well, she doesn't get a poster, but there is some happy news! One of my absolute favourite films from last year was Julie Bertuccelli's France/Australia coproduction, The Tree and I was glad to read today that an American release date is on the cards through Zeitgeist. Indiewire reports that the film, a sublime rumination on life after death (Clint Eastwood should take note), will be released in New York and Los Angeles before a national roll-out. I hope my American readers will get the chance to experience The Tree for themselves.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Arthur Poster is Having Us for a Laugh

When I first saw the newly released poster for Arthur at Cinema Blend I actually laughed. Out loud. Not due to any humour found within it - I'm sure some people will find the Russell Brand remake's poster amusing, but I am not one of them - but instead due to the glaringly obvious fact that its entire concept is stolen from another poster. And I don't mean in some "both posters feature lead actor in a chair" or "both posters look as funny as a punch in the face" way. No, I mean, stolen in the "they actually just took one poster and replaced the actors" way.

Take a look and I dare you to not think there is blatant copying going on here

(Click to enlarge)

Oh, sure, Arthur has a bit more going on in the background, and, sure, the American How to Lose Friends poster threw in Jeff Bridges, but that's why I included the international poster there on the left.

Both feature their lead man-child character sitting all goofy like in a chair with beautiful women flanking him on either side (and yes, Helen Mirren is definitely more beautiful than Megan Fox!). Both feature the New York City skyline behind them and both feature obvious signs of their lead character's quote unquote adorable childlike tendencies at their feet (pet pig and children's toys respectively). They even both use boring default fonts and strangely reflective floors!

Look, I'm not saying the designers of the Arthur poster saw the concept for How to Lose Friends and Alienate People and decided to... wait, that is what I'm saying! Surely they're having a laugh, right? This is one big joke, surely! Who looks at the How to Lose Friends and Alienate People campaign and think "yes, that's what we'll model ourselves on!" Of course, I'm probably the only person on the planet to even remember what the poster for that "Simon Pegg Goes to America" vehicle looked like so Arthur's studio probably didn't think twice when they greenlit the poster, but I call bullshit on whoever designed the Arthur poster. This is "creative inspiration" of the highest order.

Still, after all of that, the worst thing Arthur's poster does is not include Greta Gerwig! So tell me readers, am I imagining things or is there something fishy going on here?

Review: Rabbit Hole

Rabbit Hole
Dir. John Cameron Mitchell
Year: 2010
Aus Rating: M
Running Time: 90mins

Grief is given a hefty workout in Rabbit Hole, a searing drama that charts the parallel paths a married couple take after the death of their only child. It’s an unfair tragedy when a parent outlives their child, exemplified by the film being set nine months after four-year-old Danny’s death; you only get nine months to be excited about the imminent birth of a child, and yet the grieving never ends. Becca (Nicole Kidman) and Howie (Aaron Eckhart) know they’ll never experience another day of their lives that isn’t impacted by memories of Danny’s death, but they do what they can in such a pressing situation.

Read the rest at Trespass Magazine

And given how much I've spoken about this movie over the past year, you probably should read it just so we can draw a line under it. I found it interesting that on one side of me at the screening earlier this week, one of my esteemed colleagues was crying and an emotional wreck once the credits rolled, and on the other side of me, yet another colleague, say laughing and doodling in her notebook. Maybe you should go and find out for yourself?

Monday, February 14, 2011

Top This: Ten Worst Musical Numbers in Cinema

Do you read The Vine? Because you should. Today they are (or, more specifically, @Luke Ryan is) counting down the ten worst musical numbers in films ever.

"Don't Walk Away"

When asked for suggestions, I chimed in with "the animated fish scene in XANADU" and thankfully it made it onto the list at no. 10. The rest of the list, however, is equally awful. In fact, due to not having seen all the films these numbers are from, I have discovered some that are indeed far worse than "Don't Walk Away" in which Olivia Newton John and Michael Beck kiss and inexplicably turn into animated fish. Truly. I mean, I can't believe I ever lived in a world in which I didn't know "Top That" from Teen Witch existed. Can you?

"Top That"

It's just so funky!

Some doozies that didn't make the list? Well, I could list the entire soundtrack to the infamous 1984 Dolly Parton/Sylvester Stallone misfire Rhinestone, but special citation must be given to "Drinkenstein" I think, which is made worse by Dolly's "oh isn't that cute" laugh at the end. I don't believe The Dolly Parton would ever find that amusing in the slightest. What about "Sobbin' Women" from Seven Brides for Seven Brothers? A terrible movie for sure, but much like "Thank Heaven for Little Girls from My Fair Lady Gigi, this travesty of a musical number is so far rendered culturally insensitive by it's woeful lyrics that I kinda can't even fathom it existing in 1954! It's an ode to smackin' yo woman so she don't go astray, after all.


"Sobbin' Women"

And what about EVERYTHING from Were the World Mine, which is a very good example of how bad Glee truly could be and yet thankfully isn't. And while it feels beneath me to rag on product from the Disney field of dreams, "Bet On It" from High School Musical 2 had me in wild guffaws when I watched it. What's with that ridiculous pool reflection and Zac Efron's silly choreography? Yikes!

"Were the World Mine"

"Bet On It"

In the end, however, I think they got it right by naming "The Penis Song" from The Sweetest Thing as the number one worst. It's a travesty, isn't it? Watching Cameron Diaz, Christina Applegate and Selma Blair sing their way through this ode to giving men false impressions of the size of their manhood - "your penis is too big to fit in here!" - is akin to having your eyes and ears stabbed repeatedly with a rusty switchblade. It's diabolical, really. Not to mention the old lady who would've easily been played by Betty White if made five years later. Thank heavens for small mercies. It's just a shame the Razzie committee didn't bestow any of their illustrious honours onto it. I mean, if "Drinkenstein" can win Worst Original Song then why can't "The Penis Song"?

"The Penis Song"

I implore you to read the rest at The Vine and see how low/high Vanilla Ice's contribution to the world of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles ("Go ninja / Go ninja, go!") is!

And after all of that, if you just want one more video with a 1980s edge then watch this one. It's the music video for some band called Atomic Tom (they are not a spin-off of Atomic Kitten, featuring that mess of a dishrag Kerry Katona) covering Human League's "Don't You Want Me". The original is an amazing classic, this new version is awful. The video, however, is a hoot as it features an adorkably hot Topher Grace (Definition - clothes on: "aww, ain't he cute!" clothes off: "whoa!") and a hilarious as always Anna Faris (along with some of their co-stars from Take Me Home Tonight) recreating famous moments from 1980s flicks. I don't think I can see Michelle Trachtenberg, but I can see Lucy Punch and Michael Beihn!

Bonus points for Topher Grace taking his shirt off as well as his Risky Business moment. Even more bonus points for Anna Faris looking like Sandra Bernhard as she impersonates Glenn Close's bunny boiler moment from Fatal Attraction. Points off for including Norma Rae, which was from 1979. How'd that slip by? Thanks to the brilliant Jason at My New Plaid Pants for pointing me in the direction of this clip.

"Don't You Want Me"

I want that Human League/Dare tee that Topher Grace is wearing, by the way. Anybody know where I could get my hands on one? Preferably with Topher still inside.

Lola the Princess, Starmaking Role

I knew immediately after seeing Sean Byrne's sick and demented horror kick to the nuts The Loved Ones that "Lola aka 'Princess'" (her official character name on IMDb) would propel somebody somewhere to cast Robin McLeavy in a big time film and, whataya know, somebody has gone and cast her in a big time film. From the sounds of it it's nothing more than token love interest, but McLeavy has been cast in Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter (via My New Plaid Pants). I don't know much of anything about the film, but it certainly sounds like a juicy film, don't you think?

From sadistic prom queen to presidential vampire hunter's wife. Makes sense, really.

I first spotted Robin McLeavy in 48 Shades - an unfortunately forgotten Aussie teen comedy from several years back - but Lola was a brilliant performance in The Loved Ones so it's hardly surprising that somebody noticed her. And, hey, even if the film is a dud, we'll always have "I'm Not Pretty Enough".