Wednesday, May 16, 2007

hold on tight!

Just a quick one to say that with finals, graduation, and the first WHIRLWIND two weeks of my summer job, time to blog is not available. I plan to write about the season finales happening 'round about now, and will be seeing a few movies in theaters soon, so stay tuned. Also, any interest in a review of last night's Lily Allen concert? I think I might work on that, too.


Monday, May 7, 2007

trailer mondays?

Let's see if they stick! I know I should have gone with my lit major roots and used alliteration, but I was too bored to wait until Trailer Tuesdays... Also, I want to give props to Stagafling and thank him for the shout-out. I knew something good would come of watching too much TV!

Waitress (April 27)
I have been waiting for this movie for quite some time now, and I think it's going to be delicious (I can't stop with the crappy puns...sorry). It's a real shame how the tragedy of filmmaker Adrienne Shelly may skew the reception of the film, but it seems to be a perfectly stylized vehicle from which I expect the best of Keri Russell and Cheryl Hines. Nathan Fillion, of course, is never a bad thing!

Duck (May 11)
I couldn't tell you what this is about or if it looks like it'll be any good. But the website certainly has enough leafy crescents to imply that there's great critical value to this film that nobody else has ever heard of. One thing's for sure, Philip Baker Hall has given such amazing performances in Paul Thomas Anderson's movies that I must expect greatness from him in a starring role.

Fay Grim (May 18)
Parker Posey and Jeff Goldblum together seems like it would promise some off-beat chemistry, but I cannot say I have high hopes for this picture. First of all, the entire movie seems to be filmed in dutch angles, where the camera has been tilted to lend a sense of unease or quirkiness to everything, which gives me pause in a movie about terrorism? kidnapping or murder? government plots? Can't quite tell. The most unfortunate thing about the trailer is the final title card, which reads, "Watch the way you want. Opens May 18th in theatres and on HDNet Movies. Available May 22nd on DVD." Yeah, the studio really thinks this one is going to make money...see for yourself:

Evan Almighty (June 22)
Bruce Almighty was surprisingly better than I could have expected, but I found the main characters too unlikable and unrelatable for the humor to really come across and hit the mark every time. I have a lot of faith (hee) in Steve Carell's ability to pull this antediluvian character off, and I must say that the story looks quite a bit sweeter and easier to stomach than having to watch Jim Carrey conjure a monkey out of a cholo's ass. Though I must wonder how the film is going to get around the implications for the audience of creating a diegesis where the moviegoers are part of a world of abhorrent sinners that need to be wiped out by a new deluge. Also, notice The Office's Ed Helms in a small role!

Stardust (August 10)
Oooh, this looks like so much fun! Couldn't really tell you what's going on, but I know I want to see this one on the big screen. Hopefully Michelle Pfeiffer, Robert DeNiro, Ricky Gervais, and Sienna Miller won't fall into the same stylistic ruts they've individually occupied for the past few years. And man, do I loves me some Claire Danes!

Superbad (August 17)
Yes! This looks like much of the funny could not be included in the trailer. Reminiscent of Knocked Up, perhaps? Why yes! Produced by Judd Apatow and starring Seth Rogen, it looks like a broader take on "Freaks and Geeks," which can only be a good thing (as long as it isn't too broad, I suppose). And let us not forget - Michael Cera is a bonafide God-among-men. Stay tuned after the trailer below for some bonus Michael Cera action...

Martian Child (October 26)
I wasn't sure how I felt about this at first (K-Pax meets Millions? Starring The John Cusack?), but now I am starting to think that this may be just the kind of movie I'd like to see him in at his age. Identity was good, but having seen Must Love Dogs and (oh hell no) America's Sweethearts, I feel like studios haven't known what to do with such a good actor when he's too old to play Lloyd Dobler anymore. Certainly, he's mastered some more "adult" roles, but I think he will settle into the fatherhood role with the grace of a Shopgirl Steve Martin instead of a Cheaper by the Dozen one. Also, John Cusack --> High Fidelity --> Nick Horby --> About a Boy --> the right kind of role for John Cusack right now.

Saturday, May 5, 2007

we will rock you... booyakasha!

In some of the best movie news I've heard recently, Sacha Baron Cohen is signed on to play Freddie Mercury in an upcoming biopic! He is replacing previous frontrunner Johnny Depp, possibly because studio executives realized they had been considering Johnny Depp to play Freddie Mercury.

In some of the worst movie news I've heard recently, rumors that Sacha Baron Cohen is signed on to play Freddie Mercury in an upcoming biopic are absolutely untrue. The actor's publicist has come out and said that the reports are "pure hokum."

Who says "hokum" anymore? Anyway, the conclusion I've come to is that internet entertainment news is a cruel temptress, trying always to get my hopes up about something before dashing them away again. I had been very upset to hear about Depp's possible casting as legendary Queen singer Mercury (the dear Farrokh Bulsara, fyi), and am at least hoping that the confusion regarding the actor in the role means that Depp is out. I grant that he is a talented actor, and he used to be hot back when he was on 21 Jump Street, but I do not think people would be able to take him seriously in the role.

I understand this statement is confusing in light of my support for the casting of Cohen as Mercury, but I think that SBC has proven himself capable of committing to so many different types of roles - so far as to sacrifice himself to the character he is playing - more convincingly even than Depp. I think when the average person watches Ali G, they are entirely focused on and drawn into the noted Staines-ian, and don't think about Borat or Bruno until after they have absorbed who Ali G is. With Depp, however, it has become difficult for audiences to suspend their caricature of Depp caricaturing Keith Richards as Captain Jack Sparrow. The character and the man are almost inseparable, even for long-time fans.

Certainly, Cohen looks a hell of a lot more like Freddie Mercury than Depp does, but more importantly, I think he is woefully underappreciated in Hollywood. Though I did not see all of the contenders for the most recent Academy Awards, I maintain that Cohen should have at the very least been nominated. I don't think any other actor in Hollywood, Daniel Day Lewis be damned, could have commited to the role of Borat with such devotion, and pulled it off. I didn't like the movie or the character as much as I like some of Cohen's other work, but the fact is that he takes himself just seriously enough for everyone else to buy into his shtick.

So here's my vote for Sacha Baron Cohen as Freddie Mercury. May the best man win, and go on to lipsynch to classic sports anthems forever...

P.S. I should point out that I am quite devoted to Queen, and it is very important to me that the makers of a Freddie Mercury biopic give the man and the band the credit they deserve. I have seen the London stage musical "We Will Rock You" three times, and highly recommend it to anyone lucky enough to get a chance to watch it. I have so so so many memories of listening to Queen on my headphones and really absorbing the magic of the vocals, the instrumentals, the lyrics. Beautiful music deserves to be held on a pedestal, and I hope that the biopic, especially when dealing with a subject such as a famous death to AIDS in 1993, will be dignified. To me, even spandex suits and cocaine don't diminish the aplomb of this band...

Friday, May 4, 2007

mea culpa

I can hardly believe that I haven't posted since Monday! Unfortunately this week before finals has been terribly busy and hectic, but I apologize for my lapse in writing. On the plus side of schoolwork, I did get to screen my final video project on Thursday night! Though I am well aware of the faults in my piece, it was very exciting to see my very first short film on a big screen in front of an audience after at least 48 solid hours of shooting, re-shooting, recording sound, re-recording sound, and oh! the editing. Before this semester I had never held a camera or looked at Final Cut Pro, so it feels very nice to know that I actually made something! Also, I've come to the conclusion that I ought to take an intermediate level video production class next semester, despite the fact that it meets on a Friday afternoon (!). I'm hoping to change my schedule to drop L.A. Stories, add Media Sketchbook (the intermediate video class), drop Women and Comedy (wish it didn't conflict with this next class!), and add James Joyce. We'll see how much the registrar wants to help me out or not...

Yesterday morning I watched this week's two-hour episode of "Grey's Anatomy" online, and got my first glimpse of what may well become the Addison spinoff, "Private Practice." First things first - I really would have hoped that the team behind the catchy name of the original TV show, making a new show about an OBGYN named Dr. Montgomery, would have had the chutzpah to name it "Montgomery's Ward." But oh well...

Thursday's Seattle-based segments of "Grey's" packed quite a few standout moments. The slow decline of Cristina into an obsequious wife is dreadful to watch, because - ever since the end of season 2 - I've been waiting for her to sacrifice her whole self for Burke, only for him to decide that he doesn't want her anyway. Even more dreadful was the elevator kiss between George and Izzie. The adultery subplot would be painful enough to watch if it weren't for the complete lack of foreshadowing to there ever being an attraction between these two. But the scene in which Meredith gives the bad news to her father...I can't have been the only one who burst out in tears. That was one of the most powerful moments of the entire series, and I thought it was spectacularly framed and even better acted. I'm sad to see Mare Winningham off the show, but it was certainly a shot in the arm (hurr hurr) for the Seattle drama while the Santa Monica doctors were getting introduced.

In regards to the "possible" back-door pilot, I think it is understandable why many or most Grey's devotees would be unlikely to give it as much attention or praise as the original. Of course the cast is older, and their problems are finely tuned to an older audience, as well. Divorces are one thing in the background of Seattle Grace, but fertility issues, single parenting, and middle age will be differently ensconced in the L.A. atmosphere. That said, the mood of the new show is certainly more lighthearted, which I think will appeal to the Sex and the City demographic. It will be interesting to see, if Grey's fans and focus groups shy away from the spinoff, how the show's creators will react.

I read an interview in Entertainment Weekly a few weeks ago with an ABC executive who explained that a new pilot has a much harder time gaining viewers than a spinoff does. If this is the case, then I would imagine ABC will want the spinoff to go ahead no matter what Grey's fans say. Grey's viewers aren't going to abandon the established show if PP is a bomb, and it has a better chance of getting new viewers than a show with less buzz surrounding it.

For my part, I am a big fan of Kate Walsh, and if she gets her own show, I will certainly tune in for the first few weeks to see if I like it. But this latest episode did not have the pacing and character depth that sucked me right in for Grey's Anatomy. Also, was it just me, or did they portray Los Angeles in a very early-'90s sort of way? Hot blondes in sundresses, shaggy-haired surfer dudes, rollerbladers? I mean, I suppose it was meant to contrast with Seattle as much as possible, but I had a hard time watching such an unrealistic environment. I mean, trust me - I looooove L.A., but there was so much emphasis on the outside surroundings and I couldn't really figure out why.

Anyway, I'll be posting more, I promise!