Saturday, June 30, 2007

Spice Girls Reunion Becomes Reality!

I already wrote about this when it was just a rumor, but let me say it now that it is true: I am super excited for the upcoming Spice Girls reunion tour. It’s only going to be an 11 city tour and it isn’t coming anywhere near Michigan (I think New York is the closest stop, but don’t quote me), but it’s one step closer to the reemergence of, in my opinion, the greatest female pop group of the past 20 years (they were certainly the most successful). Ten years later, their music still makes me want to just get up and sing and dance like a retarded person on crack. Maybe, if we pray hard enough, the Gods will pull through and we’ll get new ass-kicking music full of Girl Power and a sequel to the best so-bad-it-is-good movie that anyone will ever witness.

Reese and Jake Split

In case you haven’t heard, this past week Jake Gyllenhaal and Reese Witherspoon officially ended their relationship even though they were never "officially" going out. Apparently, the reason behind the split is that Reese wants to spend more time with her family. To tell you the truth, I’m really not sure what to think about this. On one hand, I’m excited because Jakey is free again (and those gay rumors can start all over again). On the other hand, I’m disappointed because I was totally ready for this new power couple. They’re young, drop dead gorgeous and, above all, extremely talented; if they had adopted children, they already would have had Brangelina beat. Plus, just imagine how amazing their celebrity name could have been if they would have stayed together longer: Gyllenspoon or Witherhaal. Those are simply fantastic and I would have enjoyed saying that over and over again. Alas, we’ll always have Rendition, the film they met on, which is supposed to be released November 30th.

(NOTE: I don’t know if you can see over the writing, but isn’t Jakey wearing the most fab jeans in this picture? I know they are probably from some big name designer and cost $400, but I totally want a pair)

Friday, June 29, 2007

Hey Paula!

Last night, Paula Abdul's new reality show Hey Paula! premiered and let me tell you it is a half hour of pure genius. As I've mentioned before, I have a special place in my heart for Paula Abdul. She was the first music artist I ever fell in love with (way back in Kindegarten) and I was super excited for her comeback on American Idol. Now with Hey Paula! I have a brand new reason to love her. She is so crazy and loopy that it is hilarious. The first episode followed Paula for a hectic 48 hours as she made an appearance at the Grammy's and then has to rush out to sell some jewelry on QVC. This episode was pretty awesome, but that was mostly because she treats her assistants like shit and started crying her eyes out because they forgot to pack sweatpants for her plane trip. The second episode was even awesomer because we find out that she is an insomniac. During the course of a half-hour, she goes from slighty loopy to batshit crazy. My favorite moment has to be when she was at the perfume factory, trying to decide what scent she wants to promote under her name. Her eyes are totally unfocused and most of her answers consist of "Mmmmm." And then she somehow ends up squatting on the floor with her blotters, talking about something totally off-the-wall. The episode ends with Paula doing those infamous satellite interviews in which she doesn't make any sense and looks like she escaped from the loony bin. Next week is sure to be interesting and I can not wait!

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Big Announcement

I know it's been forever since I've written anything, but my work schedule has been so crazy that I haven't gotten a chance to do much of anything. But, I do have an announcement that I'm really excited about. In the coming weeks I will be displaying my winners for the 2006 Diva Cup Awards! I know it will be a little outdated, since it's already half-way through 2007, but I want to share with everyone my favorites for the year. Here are the awards I'm planning:

Best Picture
Best Director
Best Actor
Best Actress
Best Supporting Actor
Best Supporting Actress
Best Original Screenplay
Best Adapted Screenplay
Best Ensemble
Best Scene
Best Quote/Line Reading
Breakthrough Performance
Obviously the last one will be the most important to my blog and should be the most exciting. So, while I catch up on some last minute films (most notably Letters From Iwo Jima and The Last King of Scotland), why don't you let me know who you think I should vote for. Think of it as your own personal For Your Consideration ads.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

I'm Your Genie Tonight

I've been feeling kind of blah about the entries I've written in the past few weeks and I feel like I haven't written anything you are excited about. So, I thought about it and I decided to do something different. In the comments, please tell me a movie you would like for me to rant on and I will do it. Your wish is my command. I only have a couple of requests: Please don't make me sit through Gigli, From Justin to Kelly or 2001: A Space Odyssey again (Those were painful enough the first time). Other than that, pick any movie you can think of and I will do a special rant on it. Thanks for your help!

Action Heroine Blog-a-thon: The Divaliciousness of Gogo in "Kill Bill Volume 1"

(This is part of the Action Heroine Blog-a-thon over at The Film Experience)

I’m not a huge fan of action films, but one of the few that I absolutely adore is Kill Bill Volume 1 (Volume 2 is also another of my favorites). The Bride is, understandably, a cult icon in the making, but the one character who briefly steals the spotlight from her is O-Ren Ishii’s personal bodyguard Gogo played by Chiaki Kuriyama. Although Gogo is merely a speed bump on The Bride’s road to revenge, Kuriyama’s take on the role is amazingly entertaining and divariffic on so many levels. She’s not a diva in the ordinary Bette Davis/Joan Crawford vein (instead of a verbal insult or a slap to the face, her weapon of choice is a ball and chain) instead, she provides a new take on a old favorite. So, without further ado, here are four reasons why I find Gogo to be such a role model for divas everywhere:

1. She takes pleasure in other people’s pain- The only time we see Gogo give a genuine smile is when O-Ren Ishii decapitated Tanaka for insulting her Chinese-Japanese-American heritage. Like Gogo, real divas find this sort of thing uproariously funny.

2. She’ll cut you and not give a shit (like Dame Judi Dench)- Just ask that guy in the bar she penetrates with her sword. I’m sure she wasn’t crying her eyes out or regretting what she had done afterwards.

3. She knows how to make an entrance- Just watch her ascension on the staircase before her and The Bride battle- it’s almost as if she’s Margo Channing incarnate. That sarcastic smile and "Hi" she greets The Bride with, her schoolgirl giggle when The Bride suggests she give up and not defend O-Ren, the dramatic way she lets her ball and chain fall on the floor to divert our attention to it.

4. She effectively steals the spotlight from The Bride- For those couple of minutes during the battle scene between her and Gogo, my attention is diverted almost exclusively to what she is doing. I don’t know what it is about her that grabs my attention like that (maybe it’s the way she manhandles The Bride, the main diva of the film, and almost suffocates her to death), but it is definitely a must for any diva.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Short Film Rants

Hello out there! Sorry about my absence, but I've been at work the past four days and was too tired to write anything meaningful. There will be some more entries this week, but, for now, here are some quick thoughts on a few movies I've seen in the past couple of weeks.

Flags of Our Fathers (Clint Eastwood, 2006): Not a terrible film per se, but not the revelation that many critics proclaimed it. I found it to be just an imitation of a 40's morale-booster with a muddled final 30 minutes in which Eastwood just throws random flashforwards and flashbacks hoping they will stick. What I had a good time doing, instead, was detecting all the B- and C-List actors that appeared in the film (Oh, look that's Gaby's new husband on Desperate Housewives! Geez, that's the Indian from Joe Dirt! That's the guy from that one show with the gay couple who's daughter is dating the guy from the family that owns a bar! That's Lt. Dischert from Monk!). ***

Mysterious Skin (Gregg Araki, 2005): This film isn't for everyone, but I found it to be one of the most hypnotic and finest I've seen in awhile. Joseph Gordon-Levitt plays a gay hustler who was sexually abused by his little league coach. Brady Corbet plays a young man who can't remember stretches of his childhood and believes he was abducted by aliens. The film is beautiful and the way these two lives collide is fascinating. Both of these actors give great performances and make this film a must see.

The Broadway Melody of 1936 (Roy Del Ruth, 1935): It's kind of embarassing to see this MGM musical and realize that also in 1935 RKO released the quintessential 30's musical Top Hat and Warner Brothers released the witty, as-good-as-the-original The Gold Diggers of 1935. Both of those musicals are far superior to this dud, a sloppily edited, horribly acted backstage musical. Buddy Ebsen is flat out terrible, Robert Taylor is yummy but nowhere near as good as he was in my favorite performance of his (Personal Property) and Eleanor Powell is infinitely more interesting as La Belle Arlette than she is as her character (although her Katharine Hepburn impression wasn't bad). The only bright spot in the film is Una Merkel as Taylor's secretary Kitty Corbett. **

Broken Blossoms (D.W. Griffith, 1919): This is one of those silent movies where a small nod is supposed to reveal character and the characters spend vast amounts of time staring off into the distance contemplating things they'll never understand. The first hour of this movie is pretty boring, but, like many Griffith films, the editing at the conclusion of the film is first-rate and makes it a better film. ** 1/2

Monday, June 4, 2007

Larissa is Gone From "Charm School"

It was a sad night last night because Larissa, one of my favorite girls from Charm School, got voted off. In the end, Larissa's bad attitude, backstabbing and constant plotting bit her in the ass and she was pretty much thrown out of the Charm School house. It looked like she would get away with hiding Leilene's picture under Schatar's bed, but she ran her mouth, blamed it all on Shay and thus her downfall began. Once Shay found out that Larissa blamed it on her, all hell broke loose at Mo'nique's surprise party. Larissa got defensive and turned her back completely on Shay. At the elimination ceremony, the male Dean (I can't remember his name for the life of me) told Larissa that she was psychotic (I can kind of see his point but since when is he a psychiatrist) and Mo'nique practically told Larissa that she was sick of her.

Before all of this drama, the girls had another commandment to learn and for the challenge was to be interviewed by a celebrity. It turns out this celebrity was the fabulous Miss New York, who, as Mo put it, "is the Wicked Witch of the West to these girls." I loved Brooke/Pumkin's reaction when New York walked into the room and then asked her "So, have you spit on anyone lately?" The only one who didn't have a problem with New York was Saaphyri (who wasn't there long enough to meet her) and she easily, and fabulously, won the challenge.

Friday, June 1, 2007

Rants on the first two weeks of "On the Lot"

Sorry I'm a bit behind on this show, but there just so much to complain/love about this show that I needed to get it off my chest. I immediately loved the premise of this show- 50 directors competing for a million dollar deal with Spielberg's Dreamworks Studio- but I knew I would be in for some trouble when I saw who the judges were:

Brett Ratner, the franchise-ruining director behind Red Dragon, X-Men 3 and the Rush Hour series.

Garry Marshall, director of such classics like Pretty Woman, The Princess Diaries and Georgia Rule

Carrie Fisher, who has never even directed a film, but did write the autobiographical screenplay for Postcards From the Edge (which is a pretty good Meryl Streep film) and, of course, starred in the geek classic Star Wars

It got even worse when the contestants found out who the judges were and weren't disappointed. In fact, a lot of the male directors claime that they wanted to make movies exactly like Brett Ratner. This is where I nearly turned off the show. Why would all of these directors look up to a hack like Brett Ratner? I can understand looking up to Spielberg because for all of his dumb crowd-pleasers (Jurassic Park, The War of the Worlds) he makes really interesting challenging dramas (Schindler's List, The Color Purple). But Ratner doesn't even have a good film to his credit.

Thankfully, the show did get better and some of the directors were somewhat interesting. They went from pitching a film to directing a short film in groups of three to directing their own short film. And it was this past Monday that we got to see these short films. Some were great, some were good, some sucked and some were plain disasters.

Great: I really liked the creativity of Zach's Danger Zone and the balls to shoot it all in one take. The special effects were kind of cheesy, but it was pretty funny. I also liked Mateen's Soft. The beginning was a little weak, but the comedic twist was great. Sam's Replication Theory was interesting and took risks that many of the other films didn't. I thought Carolina's Deliver Me was brilliant, but apparently America didn't since she was voted off.

Good: Will's Lucky Penny was very Keaton-esque, but not as fantastic as the judges claimed. The premise was good, but it wasn't as funny as a Keaton short. Trever's A Golf Story, like the judges said, could have been improved with a couple extra shots, but what was there was very good. No matter what Carrie Fisher said, I liked Jason's Getta Rhoom and didn't find it offensive that the geek was kinda retarded. I find that shit funny and Carrie needs to get over herself.

Sucked: Andrew's Spaced Out didn't deserve the praise of the judges because it's one joke (aliens barfing on a cop) wasn't really that funny or original. Marty's The Big Bad Heist wasn't bad but it really was a trailer, not a short film, and really didn't follow the directions.

Disasters: Kenny's Wack Alley Cab was just a random collection of crazy ass shots with the colors changed and tinted. I really wished he would have gotten voted off because he really annoys me. Jess' "metaphor" ...To Screw in a Light Bulb really made no sense and was as funny as Larry the Cable Guy.

The judges really got on my nerves after awhile. At first I thought they were going to heap praise on everyone, but after awhile they just shot down every film (some deserved it, but others didn't). The thing that made no sense was that they picked and choosed which films with "potty" humor were acceptable or not. To them, sometimes it was good and other times they just hated it for no discernable reason. And then there was Garry Marshall who, everytime a female director came up on stage, had to mention how "fantastic" his sister Penny is and then shot them down when they "didn't direct it like a female" or whatever. What a pompous ass. Women should be allowed to do whatever they want and not just limit themselves to Nora Ephron-Nancy Meyer's style romantic comedies. Actually. one of my dreams is to someday see a woman direct a Scorsese-style gangster picture because it would be interesting to see what that would look like.

If any of you watched On the Lot, what did you think about it? What films rocked and/or sucked? And what did you think of the judges?