Tuesday, July 31, 2007

2006 Diva Cup Awards: Breakthrough Performance

And the nominees are...

Abigail Breslin in Little Miss Sunshine
Breslin, the anti-Dakota Fanning, focuses on just being a kid and having a fun time with this role. Bonus points for being just plain adorable.

Sacha Baron Cohen in Borat

In the matter of months, Cohen went from being unrecognizable to one of the most reveared comedians of the decade with the strength of this film and performance.

Jennifer Hudson in Dreamgirls

Who would have guessed that this American Idol cast-off would come out of nowhere and blow us all away with her miraculous voice and volcanic performance?

Rinko Kikuchi in Babel

The only bright spot in Babel, Kikuchi impressively takes the stereotypical disabled role and transforms it into something lovely...not bad for this young of a performer.

Channing Tatum in A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints and Step Up

In Step Up, Channing Tatum showed he had promise as an actor and only needed the right role to be great. In Saints, Tatum followed through on this promise and gave one of the most exciting (and unexpected) performances of the year.

Runners Up: As the lonely dominatrix, Lindsay Beamish in Shortbus is the best of that film's impressive young cast...Ashley Johnson in Fast Food Nation earns best in show honors in a film brimming with established stars
Channing Tatum
Sacha Baron Cohen
Jennifer Hudson

Monday, July 30, 2007

2006 Diva Cup Awards: Best Quote/Line Reading

And the nominees are...
"Here I am!" ~Cate Blanchett in Notes on a Scandal
Blanchett's battle cry to the vicious vultures surrounding her during a major personal crisis is one of the most hilarious camp moments since Faye Dunaway uttered "Tina, bring me the axe!" in Mommie Dearest and is the perfect way to end such a high-strung scene.

"Is she a sphinx, or simply stupid?" ~Dame Judi Dench in Notes on a Scandal

I'm not sure why I love this quote so much, but Dame Judi's early size-up of Blanchett's Sheba is one of the quotes I immediately think about when I think about this movie.

"It's about fairness, Curtis. It's about people paying their dues. Isn't that what you keep telling me? ‘Get in line, Effie. Wait your turn.’ So why am I sitting here without so much as a B side on a 45 when an amateur like Martin Luther King Jr. gets his own album? I mean, can he even sing?" ~Jennifer Hudson in Dreamgirls

Diva-riffic to the extreme and the precise moment when I fell in love with J. Hud's Effie White. It takes a real diva to complain about MLK like that.

"Maybe. Maybe not. Maybe fuck yourself." ~Mark Wahlberg in The Departed

Wahlberg's effective scene-stealing in The Departed doesn't get any better than this foul-mouthed quip.

"That is it! I've had it with these motherfucking snakes on this motherfucking plane!" ~Samuel L. Jackson in Snakes on a Plane

I was shaking in anticipation of this line and, when it finally came, I laughed and applauded like I had never done before. Samuel L. Jackson’s delivery lived up to the hype and makes it an instant classic.

Runners Up: I loved Matt Damon's assholian response of "Qui gives a shit" to Alec Baldwin's "Qui bono" in The Departed so much that I wish I could say it more often...Annette Bening's "I need high ceilings" in Running With Scissors is one of this beautiful disaster's shining moments...Just the way Frances McDormand coughed out "Asshole" to that douchebag driver in the farmer's market in Friends With Money had me laughing for like two minutes straight. Brilliant.
"Maybe. Maybe not. Maybe fuck yourself."
"Here I am!"
"That is it! I've had it with these motherfucking snakes on this motherfucking plane!"

Friday, July 27, 2007

I Am So Sick of La Lohan

What a coke whore. I am so tired of her bullshit. Right, the cocaine in her pocket wasn't hers- she was holding it for a friend. That's the oldest cliché in the book.

2006 Diva Cup Award Nominees

Here they are...the 2006 nominees for my annual Diva Cup Awards!

Best Picture
The Departed
Little Miss Sunshine
The Painted Veil

Best Actor
Matt Damon,
The Departed
Leonardo DiCaprio,
The Departed
Aaron Eckhart,
Thank You For Smoking
Ryan Gosling,
Half Nelson
Edward Norton, The Painted Veil

Best Actress
Penélope Cruz, Volver
Dame Judi Dench,
Notes on a Scandal
Dame Helen Mirren, The Queen
Gretchen Mol, The Notorious Bettie Page
Meryl Streep, The Devil Wears Prada

Best Supporting Actor
Steve Carell, Little Miss Sunshine
Eddie Murphy, Dreamgirls
Jack Nicholson,
The Departed
Michael Sheen,
The Queen
Mark Wahlberg, The Departed

Best Supporting Actress
Lindsay Beamish, Shortbus
Abigail Breslin, Little Miss Sunshine
Jennifer Hudson, Dreamgirls
Ashley Johnson, Fast Food Nation
Rinko Kikuchi, Babel

Best Director
Bill Condon, Dreamgirls
Alfonso Cuarón,
Children of Men
Michel Gondry, The Science of Sleep
Christopher Nolan, The Prestige
Martin Scorsese, The Departed

Best Original Screenplay
Pedro Almodóvar, Volver
Michael Arndt, Little Miss Sunshine
Nicole Holofcener, Friends With Money
John Cameron Mitchell,
Peter Morgan, The Queen

Best Adapted Screenplay
Bill Condon, Dreamgirls
Todd Field, Tom Perrotta, Little Children
Patrick Marber, Notes on a Scandal
William Monahan, The Departed
Ron Nyswaner, The Painted Veil

Best Ensemble
The Departed
Little Miss Sunshine
Thank You For Smoking

Best Scene
Borat: Naked Fight
Dreamgirls: "And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going"
Little Miss Sunshine: The Dance
Notes on a Scandal: The Revelation
United 93: Fighting Back

Best Quote/Line Reading
"Here I am!" ~Cate Blanchett in Notes on a Scandal

"Is she a sphinx or simply stupid?" ~Dame Judi Dench in Notes on a Scandal

"It's about fairness, Curtis. It's about people paying their dues. Isn't that what you keep telling me? ‘Get in line, Effie. Wait your turn.’ So why am I sitting here without so much as a B side on a 45 when an amateur like Martin Luther King Jr. gets his own album? I mean, can he even sing?" ~Jennifer Hudson in Dreamgirls

"Maybe. Maybe not. Maybe fuck yourself." ~Mark Wahlberg in The Departed

"That is it! I’ve had it with these motherfucking snakes on this motherfucking plane!" ~Samuel L. Jackson in Snakes on a Plane

Breakthrough Performance
Abigail Breslin, Little Miss Sunshine
Sacha Baron Cohen,
Jennifer Hudson, Dreamgirls
Rinko Kikuchi,
Channing Tatum, A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints, Step Up

Best Diva
Kirsten Dunst as Marie Antoinette in Marie Antoinette
Jennifer Hudson as Effie White in Dreamgirls
Frances McDormand as Jane in Friends With Money
Meryl Streep as Miranda Priestley in The Devil Wears Prada
Mark Wahlberg as Sgt. Dignam in The Departed

The winners will be revealed in the coming week, so check back often to see if your favorite wins!

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Reader Request: Rants on "Dear Frankie"

When I first read the overly-sentimental plot of Shona Auerbach’s 2004 film Dear Frankie, I thought that there was no way in hell that I was going to enjoy this film. Sentimental films and I just don’t get along- it’s a sad fact since a good many Hollywood dramas heavily rely on this tactic, but I’ve learned to accept it. Imagine my surprise, however, when it turns out that Dear Frankie isn’t as bad as I predicted. The beginning is a bit rocky, full of every single-mother-who-won’t-settle-down cliché in the book. We see Lizzie (Emily Mortimer), her deaf son Frankie (of course he has a physical handicap- nothing like bludgeoning the audience to death) and her mom packing up their belongings and we get the feeling that this has become the norm for this family. And just when you think the parallels between this and every Tumbleweed and Chocolat-esque film you’ve ever seen are unending, Auerbach also throws in the Mask scene in which Lizzie insists to Frankie’s teacher that "she doesn’t want him treated any differently" because he’s deaf and "there’s nothing wrong with his brain."

But I’m digressing. The whole point of the film lies in the fact that Lizzie has been sending letters to Frankie, pretending to be his father away at sea (Frankie’s father is really an abusive prick who’s trying to avoid). This trick has worked for years, until one of Frankie’s classmates tells him that his father’s ship will be docking in town and Frankie becomes really anxious to meet his father. Lizzie, being the good, nurturing mother that she is, has to go out and find a stranger to pretend to be Frankie’s father (What mother wouldn’t do that for her child?).

It turns out that Lizzie’s boss knows a man who would be perfect for the job. Enter a hunky Gerard Butler (the man from both The Phantom of the Opera and 300) and it seems like our problem is solved. In my head, however, this scene in which these two characters meet is one of the biggest problems in the whole film. As Lizzie explains the situation to Butler, we realize how preposterous this idea is (I think even Lizzie realizes it) and that this situation would only work in a movie. In real life, any normal person would probably run off to call the loony bin to come capture Lizzie because she is freaking nuts. Naturally, in the movie world, this doesn’t happen and we must suspend disbelief for a little while.

So Frankie and the Gerard Butler character (he’s never really given a name) meet and eventually (or should I say predictably) Butler comes to love Frankie like he popped him out of his uterus within a few measly hours. With his "father’s" strength behind him, Frankie becomes good at football and even blocks a ball at one point for dear old daddy. Even Lizzie seems to be falling for him, but his leave is coming to an end and he’s forced to bid adieu to the family.

The film doesn’t end there, but I really feel that it can’t all be summarized in one rant. If you really want to know, go out and rent the film because for all of my bitching about it, Dear Frankie is actually a pretty decent film. Its sentimentality is more of the British stiff-upper-lip variety instead of the so-unsubtle-it’s-annoying American variety, so that makes the film go down a lot easier. Emily Mortimer is pretty solid as Lizzie, not exactly award-worthy, but another fine performance to add to Bright Young Things and Match Point. If your type of film is a quiet, character-driven melodrama with out any of the histrionics, then go seek out Dear Frankie. If not, at least it’s better than sitting through your average Hollywood crap.

My Rating: *** ½

Saturday, July 14, 2007

"Hairspray" Soundtrack

Postives About the Hairspray Soundtrack:
1. The music, as always, is a ton of fun.
2. James Marsden can sing. His character, Corny Collins, only has two songs (“The Nicest Kids in Town” and “Hairspray”) but he makes them so much more interesting than they ever were on the Broadway soundtrack. If his acting is anywhere near as good as his singing, this will be Marsden’s breakthrough performance with the public and will lead to truly interesting roles.
3. Newcomer Elijah Kelley’s version of “Run and Tell That.” This could do for him what “And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going” did for J. Hud. It’s that good.
4. The orchestration on “Good Morning Baltimore” is bombastic, over-the-top and fantastic to the extreme. Just listen to that wailing saxophone in the beginning and tell me you‘re not in love.
5. Nikki Blonsky (as Tracy) is fabulous. Bravo!

Negatives About the Hairspray Soundtrack:
1. John Travolta. Oh God, I hate to say it, but his singing practically ruins “Welcome to the 60’s” and “You Can’t Stop the Beat.” The awkward way he says “fabulous” in “Welcome to the 60’s” makes me cringe every time and I really don’t know why. It makes me miss Harvey Fierstein even more and I wish they had taken a chance and hired him instead.
2. This version of “You Can’t Stop the Beat.” The song is as catchy as ever, but the aforementioned Travolta and the elimination of my favorite verse (the Von Tussle verse towards the end) dampens the spirit of it.
3. The new songs aren’t that great. Sure “Come So Far (Got So Far to Go)” is a ton of fun and the way Zac Efron nasally wails on “Ladies’ Choice” makes me laugh every time, but they don’t seem to really add anything to the film.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

A Much Needed Vacation

Hey everyone! I will be gone for a couple days catching up with some of my college friends, so there will be no new ranting until Monday at least (I know you're just heartbroken). When I get back, expect my reader requested rant on the film Dear Frankie (if anyone else wants me to rant about a certain film, just let me know and I will do it), thoughts on two of my newest obsessions The Soup host Joel McHale and celebrity chef Paula Deen (I'm reading her biography right now and it is fabulous) and my ode to the great country of Sweden, which has produced some of my most favorite things.

Have a divariffic weekend and I'll get back to you next week.