Thursday, February 28, 2013

The Tardiest Oscar Review To Grace the Web!

I sort of live for the Academy Awards.  That's putting it mildly.  I am obsessed with them.  The Oscars fake their own death every year like in Sleeping with the Enemy, but I always end up tracking it down again and straightening the towels in the bathroom.  

I am late posting this because I literally felt awards season fatigue, and all I did this year was host a party.  It's not like I am stationed in New York City or Los Angeles and I have ACTUAL responsibilites.  The day after the Oscars was rough for me.  I slept all day, went to The Cheesecake Factory, and then slept some more.  Oscar withdrawal is an embarrassing thing to go through. 
This year has been maddening.  With all the schedule changes and surprises, even the cleverest pundits were left scratching their heads.  I feel like I paid very close attention this year, and I got swallowed in the confusion as well.  That didn't stop me from having the biggest Oscar bash EVER, though.  More on that later!

Best Picture should only be five movies.  When they expanded the category four years ago, I hated the idea of that many movies competing for BP, but then I settled into it.  It was nice to see something like District 9 or Toy Story 3 get nominated for the highest honor.  Then they changed it to the preferential ballot system, and they lost me.  Maybe I just like things to be symmetrical or even, but the past two years they have had nine nominees for Best Picture and, for two years, I wanted to claw my eyes out.  See?  Straighten those damn towels!  

Let's talk about the big show, shall we?  

"Uhhhh...what am I doing here..."

Everyone was buzzing about Seth MacFarlane's performance as host of this year's Oscars, and, I will admit, that I didn't necessarily have a problem with him.  I thought he was an add choice from the get-go.  Yes, he directed his first feature film (Ted, for the 12 people that didn't know that), but he's still a TV guy.  MacFarlane isn't a big enough name to host the Oscars, and I can guarantee that the people who met him during his hosting gig were not impressed.  

Then there was this: 

 Really?  A Kate-Winslet-is-naked-in-every-movies-joke?  Puh-lease.  How 2002 of you, Oscar writers.  Does it freak anyone else out that Seth MacFarlane doesn't change his voice at all when he sings as Brian on Family Guy?  It really bothers me.  It shouldn't, but it does.  He has a lovely voice, though.  I didn't HATE MacFarlane as host, butI didn't love him.  He was servicable.  I wouldn't mind if he hosted again, but he seems like a ploy to get an ignored demographic to watch the Oscars. 

Clearly, these are the Academy Awards producers trying to make decisions.

When it came to the actual awards, I was pretty satisfied.  I went to AMC's annual Best Picture Showcase, and I got to see all of the nominees back to back over the course of two Saturdays (I assume this contributed to the shameful Academy Awards withdrawal).  I went out on a limb and predicted Emmanuelle Riva to win Best Actress over Jennifer Lawrence.  I should have known better.

I love me some Jennifer Lawrence.  I remember that I was reading "The Hunger Games" when I went to see Winter's Bone, and I knew that she would play Katniss Everdeen in the film adaptation.  She was great in The Burning Plain.  Hell, she was good in The Beaver (shudder) and Like Crazy (vomit).  I am NOT hating on Jennifer Lawrence.  Not only is she a towering new talent, but she is genuine and relatable when she is interviewed or when she wins awards.  She did not deserve that Oscar.  Yes, she was charming and funny and vulnerable in Silver Linings Playbook, but Emmanuelle Riva did more in her nomination clip than Lawrence did in the entire movie.  Yes, the Oscars rarely award the "best performance."  Yes, the Oscars are all about momentum and working the circuit and hitting everything just right at the right time.  Just watch Amour, and you will see.  It's one of the hardest things you will ever sit through, but it is honest, real, and heartbreaking.  Not to pull the age card, but Riva is 86 while Lawrence is 22.  If I am lucky to make it to 86, I doubt I will be turning in Oscar-calibur performances.  I will be lucky enough to make it to the toilet and ensure that I have enough Ovaltine.  You put these performances next to each other and it's no contest.  Lawrence was good in Silver Linings.  Riva was great in Amour

"I know...I know...I don't deserve thiiiiisssss!!!" 
Daniel Day-Lewis and Anne Hathaway winning.  Yawn.  Knew that was coming.  Moving on. 

How bout that tie?!  Best Sound Editing went to Zero Dark Thirty and Skyfall (aka the loudest movies in the category).  I thought it was going to go to Life of Pi for the tiger and animal sounds used throughout the film.  Oh, well.  Marky Mark's expression was priceless. 

"I am as serious as Melissa Leo's Oscar campaign for The Fighter."

Dug the set. 

Near the beginning of the show, MacFarlane said this year's Oscars was a celebration of music.  I never got that idea.  The Oscars almost always features a musical opening (guaranteed if Billy Crystal or Hugh Jackman hosts), and the nominees for Best Original Song usually perform.  Instead of having all five nominees, however, they had Adele sing "Skyfall" and Norah Jones lumber through "Everybody Needs a Best Friend" from Ted.  You know who needed a best friend on Oscar night?  Norah Jones.  It was AWK-ward.  First of all, Jones hasn't been in the spotlight for a while, and she sings the song looking sad and alone.  If anyone could have benefitted from a CGI, foul-mouthed bear it was Norah Jones.  Wouldn't it have be adorable if Ted was frolicking around Norah Jones trying to pick up hookers or score blow?! 

"Oh to be in a coffee shop right now..."

Were the other two nominated songs not worthy of being performed?  Could no one be convinced to sing them?  If they are going to sing that dreadful Les Miserables song ("Suddenly"), they could take the time to find someone to sing the other entries.  Scarlett Johansson sings "Before My Time" from Chasing Ice, and it is a quiet, haunting song.  "Pi's Lullaby" is also very pretty.  Check them out. 

When Barbra Streisand didn't start singing "The Way We Were" during the In Memorium right away, I started freaking out.  Luckily, she finally started performing, and I didn't have a seizure.  Can we please have Streisand and Jennifer Aniston do a DNA test, though?  Babs looks great, but it's uncanny how much they look alike.  Someone give them a mother-daughter script stat. 

Speaking of musical numbers, how about Cathering Zeta-Jones singing "All That Jazz" during the tribute to musicals?  No one?  Anyone?  Or how about Russell Crowe singing LIIIIIIVE during the Les Miserables medley?!  I secretly thought maybe Crowe was nervous while singing live while filming Les Mis.  No dice.  He sucks in the movie, he sucks at the Oscars, and I'm sure his telephone-hurling anger stems from a lack of audience to hear him sing in the shower.  For every failed Velma Kelly and Javert, we have a Jennifer Hudson and Hugh Jackman.  Don't lose all hope. 

I was pretty content with the rest of the awards.  I love Argo, so I was happy to see it nab Best Picture.  Since Ben Affleck couldn't win I dug Ang Lee winning for Life of Pi. 

What I didn't understand was why Michelle Obama announced Best Picture.  Jack Nicholson was ready to open that last envelope and Michelle Obama appeared.  Jack must have been confused.  He sleeps at the Dolby Theater and is only awakened to announce the Best Picture winner once a year.  Rude.  I LOVE Michelle Obama, but why was she there?  I am surprised that we didn't hear anything about it before it happened.  For a brief moment, I thought Zero Dark Thirty was going to pull an upset.  Now, THAT would have been cool.  Also, there was a missed opportunity for Michelle to show her guns like Hushpuppy from Beasts of the Southern Wild.

All in all, a satisfying year.  Now the moment you've all been waiting for!  Pictures from my Oscar party (or evidence that can be used against me in the case of Joey vs. Having a Life).

Life of Pi-neapple Boat, complete with Richard Parker. 

Ar-goat Cheese and Strawberry Bruschetta.
Silver Lined Lost Your Marbles Marble Cupcakes with Philadelphia (Eagle) Cheam Cheese Frosting and garnished with medication Tic Tacs.  Yeah.  I was super proud about that one. 

Hushpuppies served out of The Bathtub(s). 

There are 3 more walls that look exactly like this.  I save the Arts & Leisure section from the New York Times twice a week to have decorations.  D-e-d-i-c-a-t-i-o-n.  Or S-A-D.  Your call. 

Seth MacFarlane has already said he won't host again next year, so, naturally people are turning to God Tina Fey to take his place.  She has already said won't succeed MacFarlane, and I think that if she got Amy Poehler to do it with her, she would do it.  Someone start the petition or send an Edible Arrangement.  Them hosting the next Oscars has become my new goal.

Exhibit A (which I don't need) that they would be amazing:

If the clouds part and baby Jesus up in the heavems grants us all this wish, I have one request.  In response to MacFarlane's "We Saw Your Boobs" musical number, these ladies should amp up the class factor and perform "We Saw Your Dick."  It would a short diddy, because not a lot of men are brave to show their penis on screen, but I think we would have a gem of a song on our hands.  We could reference the good (Jason Mewes, Richard Gere), the bad (Shia LaBeouf), the constant (Harvey Keitel, Ewan McGregor), and the larger than life (thank God for Michael Fassbender). 

There we have it ladies and gents.  Another year, another slice of my dignity.  Every year I go to The Cheesecake Factory with my friend Megan and we dish about the Oscars and order mamosas.  I will leave you with that. 

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Two Mothers trailer: Ready for Everyone to Hate It?

Director Anne Fontaine's new film, Two Mothers, explores the friendship between two female friends (Robin Wright and Naomi Watts) who start sleeping with each other's hunky sons.  Shrieks from pro-family groups can be heard in the distance.  The international title for the film is Perfect Mothers, but you can imagine how that would go over stateside.

The international trailer was released recently, along with some stills from the film.  The surfer sons, Austrailians Xavier Samuels and James Frencheville, are apparently shirtless for their share of scenes.  Hey, you don't hear me complaining!

Early word from this year's Sundance Film Festival suggests that the film takes itself too seriously, and, in the third act, some unintentional laughter might arise.  I think it's great that Fontaine is depicting a story with unapologetic female sexuality.  Especially older female sexuality.  

The trailer made me nervous, however, because I know people are going to haaaaate it.  Even if the movie itself has problems, people are going to poke fun at it ("Motherlover" references are abound online), and not open up the floor for discussion.  I mean, it could be a complete trainwreck, but it could also feature some nice performances.  

Anyone have any thoughts?  

Monday, February 18, 2013

Fate or Choice? Beautiful Creatures Sucks No Matter What

A friend of mine gave me a copy of Twilight in the height of its literary fandom.  I had heard that this was the new big book series, so I gave it a whirl.  I figured, hey, I love popular book series so why not jump on this bandwagon and see how far it takes me.  I immediately got off at the next stop.  The horrible writing was one thing, but the idiocy of Stephanie Meyer's characters pissed me off.  I admit that I finished Twilight, but that was only because I don't like giving up on reading a book.  It took me about three months to read that entire thing.  That's saying something.  Twilight is the literary equivalent to the latest issue of Highlights.

Enter Beautiful Creatures.

Now, I know what you're thinking.  You can't compare your reading of Twilight to your movie-going experience of Beautiful Creatures.  I will argue that I can, because Beautiful Creatures is one of the series DYING to be the next Twilight blockbuster.  Stupid, young paranormal love is huge right now, and, so, dear reader, I will compare them.

Watching Beautiful Creatures was one of the most maddening, frustrating experiences I have ever had.  I had no idea what was going on, what the director was trying to do, and no idea why Emma Thompson decided to be in this movie.  Thompson was the main reason I went to see Beautiful Creatures, because she seemed so over the top in the trailer.  I am a sucker for a respected, British actor going bonkers and having fun.

Beautiful Creatures centers on Ethan Wate, a high school junior who wants nothing more than to escape his small town.  He reads "Slaughterhouse-Five" and has picture of great novels like "Cather and the Rye" on his wall so that means he's deep and really smart.  Kind of like how Bella Swan's favorite book is "Wuthering Heights" in Twilight.  When mysterious Lena Ravenwood moves to town, Ethan is intrigued.  The bitchy mean girls in their school proclaim that her whole family is a group of Satanists and they don't think she should be allowed to come to school (I am working on a Mean Girl sequel featuring these crazy, religious bitches...Rachel McAdams hasn't returned my phone calls)  

Intriguing, potential outsider sounding familir?  Ethan soon learns that Lena is a vampine witch caster (PC term for witch) and she is going to be claimed for either the light or the dark whenever she turns sixteen.  Yup, you read that correctly.  This bitch is only 15 years old.  

We have an inverted Twilight on our hands, people!  Run for your lives!!!

Staring and love complications ensue.  Ethan meets Lena when she has 104 days left before she is claimed.  By day 74, they are professing their love for one another and sitting in exquisitely lit fields.  Then there's all this business with a locket that flashes us back to the Civil War, Emmy Rossum shows up in costumes that were obviously rejected from the Dark Shadows set, and Viola Davis lumbers through hoping that no one realizes that she is doing this solely for the paycheck.  One doesn't go from The Help to this nugget.  It's all so poorly produced and laughably directed and acted that I had a very difficult time staying seated.  

"Wait...I'm NOT starring in Helene Bonham Carter's biopic?!"

I seriously had no idea what was happening in this movie.  At least Twilight had a plot--a plot that they spread laughably thin, but a plot nonetheless.  It feels so jumbled together and lazily edited, so don't be surprised that there are 30 extra deleted scenes when the film comes out on DVD.  Also, according to the friend I went with, the movie combines elements of the second and third books.  If you feel so passionate about something that you read that you want to see it turned into a movie, and then you realize that the book is so shitty that you can't entertain people for 2 hours without yanking details from other books, you have a problem.  

Some of the production design is cool.  The gothic design of Ravenwood Manor was fun until they stepped inside to discover where the design of every White Snake video goes to die.  Dramatic ivory staircase in the center of the room complete with random Spencer's Gifts lightning effects in the background.  I will admit that every time they said Ravenwood, I had to resist the urge to scream, "The Sorting Hat sorts you into...RAVENWOOD!!!"  


I am telling you...this staircase would be KILLER in She's All That when Rachel Leigh Cook comes down all pretty...think about it...

Alden Ehrenreich (sheesh, how did he not get his ass kicked in junior high) is adorable with his angular face and nice smile, but his goofy, stoner laugh is immediately a dealbreaker.  Work on that Aldey.  You're sexy without trying to be, especially when you wear those glasses that make you look like Allen Ginsberg with a modeling contract.  Howl, baby, howl.  

Apparently, there are no picture with previously mentioned glasses.  Stupid Google, letting me down.

These mentioned qualities are not enough to make up for a horrible movie.  If I wanted to stare at hot boys and see pretty living rooms, I'd watch some gay porn while lazily leafing through Better Homes and Gardens.  Let's leave on a high note, shall we?  Nothing better than Emma Thompson looking nutso, if you ask me.  

Friday, February 15, 2013

Moulin Rouge!: Can Can Still Make Me Ugly Cry

One of the cool things about the AMC in Homestead, PA is their new Classic Movies special event they run roughly every Wednesday night.  For only $5 you can see one of your favorite movies that you may not have ever seen on the big screen, and, few weeks back, I was given the pleasure of seeing my favorite movie, Clue.  It's something different that you can experience with a theater full of other fans of your favorite movies.  Everyone should check it out.

Last night, I saw Baz Luhrmann's Moulin Rouge! and I realized that I hadn't seen it in years.  The special edition DVD has sat comfortably and untouched for a good four or five years.  I saw it twice in theaters, and they were two of the most memorable experiences I had.  For those of you heathens that haven't seen it, it's about a young writer named Christian (Ewan McGregor) who travels to Paris in 1899 and falls in love with Satine (Nicole Kidman), a courtesan at the Moulin Rouge.  Heartbreak and love medleys ensue.

The first time I saw it in New York City at the Ziegfeld Theater.  That theater was PACKED and everyone was singing along with the music.  It was so surreal and spectacular (spectacular) and weird and fun and sort of romantic in a way.  You could literally feel everyone connecting together with this movie.  The second time I saw it in theaters, I saw it during its expanded run while staying with a friend in Erie.  This theater only had three occupants.  Me and an old couple sitting waaaaaaay in the back.  I figured they (like my dad) hated the first half of the movie, but then loved the second.  I distinctly blubbered my way through this viewing while watching Christian and Satine.  And, I mean CRIED, people.  I was making noises, simpering, and my face was wet for the entire final ten minutes.

Kind of like this crying, but 15,000 times worse and without the dignity.

When I watched it last night, I was reminded of what a one of a kind experience it can be.  The movie itself is so manic and vibrant, that I honestly have a hard time describing what it's like.  I did realize/fall in love with a few things while I watched it.

1.  Baz Luhrmann had a total boner for slow motion while making this.  Anyone that has ever heard me rant about the work of Zack Snyder knows that I haaaaate slow motion anything.  The main difference, however, is that Lurhmann uses it to fuel the drama where Snyder uses it to make things look "awesome" and he always fails miserably.  The slow motion did get to be a little much by the end.

2.  Nicole Kidman is so exquisite in this.  I've always been a huge fan of Kidman's, but I was reminded of her real surge in 2001.  Between Moulin Rouge! and The Others, she was really having a breakout year since American audiences only really knew her from being Mrs. Tom Cruise.

I imagine this is exactly how I look on a trapeze. 

3.  And the costumes.  Sweet baby Jesus, the costumes!  

4.  I still attest that "El Tango de Roxanne" is one of the most astonishing moments I have ever seen on screen.  Some quibble that the editing is too insane, but I love it, because it is the true tonal shift of the movie.  It goes from being odd and crazy and turns dark and wonderfully dramatic.  Every time I watch this sequence, my heart starts pounding so fast I feel like everyone can hear it.  

Sorry, I need a moment...


5.  "Come What May."  Nuff said.  I was going to launch into a whole diatribe about how this might be one of the most beautiful movie musicals songs of all time, and it's a travesty that it wasn't even nominated for Best Original Song since it was disqualified on a technicality.  Ugh!  Not bitter party of one.

6.  Why wasn't Richard Roxburgh nominated for playing The Duke?  I feel like that is a performance that would have gotten a more serious Oscar campaign if it were released today.  He's just so odd and funny.  You don't know what's going to come out of his mouth.  Just the tone of his voice and delivery inspires laughs and revulsion simultaneously.  Roxburgh hasn't done that much that American audiences would know.  He was in Van Helsing and then his fair share of TV movies.  

This image of The Duke gleefully terrifies me:

7.  I want to know how they pitched this movie to studio executives.  I rewatched the trailer, and it doesn't even hint at the sheer craziness of the movie.  Anyone who went to see the movie thinking this is exactly what they were getting had to feel like they were tricked.  I love the high drama at the end of the trailer though.  

8.  This moment made me BOIL when I saw it this week.  Nicole Kidman and Ewan McGregor are going over the ending of Spectacular Spectacular when Nini Legs in the Air (yes, that's her character's name) gives away Satine and Christian's love affair.

"This ending's silly.  Why would the courtesan go for the penniless writer?  Whoops!  I mean sitar player..."

Upon this line being uttered, the woman behind me muttered, "Bitch..."  Preach, sister.

9.  Ewan McGregor is underappreciated as an actor.  Christian is so lovable and determined, and I feel like McGregor nails puppy love so well.  I fell in love with him all over again.  When Christian cries at the end of the film (as he holds Satine's body), I lose it every time.  Something about McGregor's high pitched wailing gets to me.

10.  I will close on a random/weird fact.  Jim Broadbent, who played Harold Zidler, won his Best Supporting Actor Oscar for Iris in 2002.  He was in three movies that year, and all three of his leading ladies were nominated in the Best Actress category (Nicole Kidman for Moulin Rouge!, Judi Dench for Iris, and Renee Zellweger for Bridget Jones's Diary).  They all lost, however, to Halle Berry for Monster's Ball.

Now, go and watch Moulin Rouge!  If you haven't seen it, don't tell me because I will judge you.  Just go.  I will leave you with some more images from the film.


Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Get Lost, Finding Nemo 2!!!

"I know what you're thinking.  But we need the money."

Finding Nemo might be my favorite Pixar movie.  There.  I said it.  A declaration of ridiculous magnitude.  This is why I was hesitant to be excited when Pixar announced they greenlit a sequel to one of their highest grossing films.  Hesitant is the wrong word.  Fear.  I greatly fear that they are going to Legally Blonde 2: Red, White and Blonde all over my good memories.

Exhibit A of my good memories:

Thank GOD Ellen DeGeneres has signed on to be Dory.  This is the only cheerful thing about all this sequel business.

I had heard Pixar was going to do this, but I figured it would get stuck in development hell forever, and then it would never get made.  Today, however, I read that Albert Brooks (the voice of overly protective father Marlin) has "finally" signed on for the sequel.  I find this hold out kind of ridiculous.  You mean to tell me that you had to hold out on working with one of the most successful and prestigious studios of our time?  Whatever, Marlin!  Your son deserves to get lost.  

Which brings me to my next concern.  What the fishsticks is this movie going to be about?  Is Nemo simply going to get lost...wait for it...AGAIN?!?!  I know nothing about the plot has been released yet, but it's sounding a little too Home Alone 2: Lost in New York for me.  (For the record, I don't mind a HA2:LiNY-esque romp.  Hell, for most of my childhood I argued that Home Alone 2 was better than Home Alone because Macauley Culkin got to stay at the Plaza Hotel and visit Duncan's Toy Chest.  It was the elitist in me , I guess).  

Pixar has a slew of fantastic writers, so I shouldn't be that concerned.  However, when I think that I am 100% comfortable with the idea that this might work, this pops in my head: 

Cars 2.  Cars mother fucking 2.  I have the attention span of grated cheese, and I couldn't sit through this.  Seriously.  A movie about secret agent cars doesn't seem like something that comes from a competent group of writers.  That's why I am nervous.  If they can make Cars 2, they can destroy everything I hold dear about a little clownfish getting lost and scared in a vast, cold ocean. 

Just flush the little turd down the drain now.  Along with my happiness.  

Monday, February 11, 2013

For Your Oscar Host Consideration: Zach Galifianakis

I have never really been the biggest fan of Zach Galifianakis (from now on, he will be referred to Zachie G, because my spellcheck is exploding), but I never disliked him.  I loved him in The Hangover and I found him uncomfortably hilarious in last year's The Campaign.  He's kind of like a big, drunk teddy bear.  I mean that as a compliment.

In the new video Between Two Ferns: Oscar Buzz Edition Part 1, Zachie G. jokes around with some of this year's most high-profile nominees.  Jennifer Lawrence continues to prove how effing fun she is, and Amy Adams reveals some real comedy chops.  Someone get her a potty-mouthed role in a filthy script!  Judd Apatow, I am looking at you!

When this year's host, Seth MacFarlane, was announced as the Oscar host, you could almost hear Maggie Smith turn around in her chair with a raised eyebrow.  MacFarlane is hilarious, sure (now to mention a sexy beast), but he isn't really a name in the film industry.  Was cuddly Zachie G. too much of a gamble?  Too risky?  Too drunk?  Hey.  If this is too drunk, I don't want to be sober.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

SJP: Dressing it on down

Let me be the first to admit that I know NOTHING about clothes.  Nothing.  I can barely dress myself in the morning and get away with it.  I mean, sure, I can look at a woman in a beautiful gown on a red carpet, and I  have an opinion about it.  Natch.

I tuned into this year's BAFTA telecast tonight, and when Sarah Jessica Parker presented the Best Lead Actor award, I was a little surprised that Ms. Carrie Bradshaw was so dressed down.

Standing behind a podium, this Elie Saab black jumpsuit seemed even simpler.  I personally hate when women wear pants to award shows, so I was a bit irked when she walked out.  It reminds me, however, of when Sharon Stone proudly threw on a GAP t-shirt before she presented at the Oscars a while back.  Anyone?  Anyone?

Friday, February 8, 2013

For Your Consideration: Why aren't THESE hanging in theater lobbies

The Academy Awards has teamed up with various artists to create some rather stunning artwork honoring this year's Best Picture nominees.  My favorites are Les Miserables and Beasts of the Southern Wild.  I have yet to see Amour, so I feel like I can't comment on how it fits in with the tone of the movie.  Here they are!

I love the colors and water imagery in this.

I wonder if the minimalism on this is intentional, because a lot of the criticism is that the movie is so overblown/bloated/saturated.

This might be my least favorite.  It feels like they took promotional stills and just drew them out.  I am getting an angelic-saving-each-other-since-we're-both-screwed-up vibe from the wings coming out of their backs.
I wish this Django Unchained art had a title.  I didn't even notice it when I first saw them online.