Sunday, March 30, 2008

2007 Diva Cup Awards: Best Ensemble

And the nominees are...
James McAvoy, Keira Knightley, Saoirse Ronan, Romola Garai, Vanessa Redgrave, Harriet Walter, Brenda Blethyn

Nikki Blonsky, John Travolta, Michelle Pfeiffer, Christopher Walken, Queen Latifah, James Marsden, Zac Efron, Elijah Kelley, Brittany Snow, Amanda Bynes, Allison Janney, Taylor Parks

Ellen Page, Jennifer Garner, Jason Bateman, Michael Cera, Olivia Thirlby, J.K. Simmons, Allison Janney

Michael Cera, Jonah Hill, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Seth Rogen, Bill Hader, Emma Stone, Martha MacIsaac

Jake Gyllenhaal, Robert Downey, Jr., Mark Ruffalo, Anthony Edwards, John Carroll Lynch, Chloe Sevigny

If Only There Were Six: Lars and the Real Girl Ryan Gosling, Emily Mortimer, Paul Schneider, Kelli Garner, Patricia Clarkson, Nancy Beatty, Bianca

Rest of the Top 10: The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford...Knocked Up...Into the Wild...No Country For Old Men





Random Top 10: Victoria Beckham Quotes From Spice World

My original intention was to write a post to convince my readers (all 5 of you) of the awesomeness of Victoria Beckham's performance in Spice World and why it is completely underrated. But after watching the film again twice on Friday, I've come to the conclusion that Beckham's performance completely relies on her line readings and impressive comic timing.

But it's not as if she doesn't try to suggest otherwise. As much as the script and director Bob Spiers allow her, Beckham uses body language to portray her "character" in the group, the "posh" one who is above this whole singing thing. Right in the beginning of the film, backstage after performing "Too Much," the girls are chatting away while walking down the hallway. Victoria, on the other hand, struts down the hallway like she's on a catwalk in Milan and doesn't carry on with the idle chat surrounding her.

Another great moment is the one shown above. The girls have taken an impromptu boat trip with some young contest winners and are having a rocking good time singing along to "My Boy Lollipop". Everyone, that is, except Victoria. She is so over being on that boat it's not even funny. And no silly pop song is going to get her up and moving like she's a silly 13 year old girl. She's a lady, Goddamnit.

Apart from these few, fleeting moments, Beckham is spent being one of the girls, who in real life she is so obviously above it's not even funny. Like I said, the real centerpiece of this performance is located in the line readings, so here are the 10 best:

10. "Sunday drivers- it's only Saturday!"
Note to self: Don't go out for a drive when Victoria Beckham is driving a bus and in a major hurry. She's has serious road rage issues.

9. "Gosh you're fat."
Even while talking to aliens from outer space, Victoria maintains a high level of tact.

I don't know about you, but this is how I picture myself talking to someone in a coma: loud, obnoxious and so over the top that they would have to wake up and wonder "Who the hell is that?"

7. "Slap me!"
Except for the part where Geri tells a laboring Nicola to breathe and Victoria starts panting heavily, this is her silliest moment. Just remember, she asked for it!

6. "Could somebody please tell me...just what exactly is the dress code here?"
We're confused too, Victoria. This is the gayest club in movies until the one in Dreamgirls where the Dreams perform their version of "One Night Only."

5. "I can't run in these heels."
No truer words have ever been spoken.

4. "And then there's the little Ginger one, full of useless information...about manta rays!"
With any of the other girls, this line would have been butchered brutally, but with Victoria she enunciates it so well that it works (and sets up a pretty funny punch line later on).

3. "This dress is dry clean only, Melanie!"
She's nearly drowned in the river Thames (which I've heard is pretty disgusting) and all she cares about are her clothes...a-ma-zing!

2. "Hold on to your knickers, girls!"
For some reason or another, I find myself saying this on a regular basis. And the funny thing is, no one seems to catch on where I got it from.

1. "I'm not that desperate, thank you."
The Holy Grail of line readings. When I re-discovered Spice World about 2 years ago, and realized the amazingness of Victoria's performance, it was all because of this line. She may have nearly drowned, ruined a dry clean only dress and emerged from the river soaking wet, but she'll be damned if she's borrowing anything from Mel B.'s collection of leopard print tights.

Do you have any quotes from any of the girls that you just can't live without?

Friday, March 28, 2008

2007 Diva Cup Awards: Best Non-Musical Scene

And the nominees are...Atonement: Briony's Apology
No matter what you think about the validity of Briony's atonement, you have to concede that this scene packs an emotional punch. If this scene doesn't work, then what's the point in sitting around for the ending?

Eastern Promises: The Bathhouse
Besides the basic thrill of seeing Viggo Mortensen naked, the bathhouse scene is one of the most exciting fight scenes in years.

I'm Not There: The Restaurant
After seeing Cate ham it up for most of the film, it's nice to take a break and finally see something as subtle as this scene. Ledger's meltdown is uncomfortable and Gainsbourg's realization at what she has married is heartbreaking.

Sicko: The Dumped Woman
Of all the scenes in Sicko that are intended to provoke outrage and anger (and trust me, there are a lot), this scene downright pisses you off. Those horrifying minutes of watching that woman wander the streets after being dumped from her hospital for not being able to pay are way scarier than anything in Saw IV.

There Will Be Blood: The Bowling Alley
A thrilling scene because you have no idea where the characters are coming from, what's going to happen next or what it all really means until that stunner of a finale. He drinks those milkshakes, damnit.

If Only There Were Six: The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford: Jesse Comes to Dinner
Affleck vs. Pitt; it almost doesn't matter that anyone else is in the room. These two are lighting this mother on fire

Rest of the Top 10:
The Brave One: Confrontation in the Parking Structure...No Country For Old Men: Hotel Showdown...Into the Wild: Final Scene...Zodiac: Rainy Night in the Cellar

I'm Not There: The Restaurant

Atonement: Briony's Apology

There Will Be Blood: The Bowling Alley

Five Song Friday: "Subtle" Sexual Metaphors

It's simple. Every Friday, I pick five songs that I've been loving for the past week. They don't have to be new songs or even singles from the album...the only requirement is that they're amazing.

R. Kelly "Ignition"
"Let me stick my key in your ignition, babe"

Fergie "London Bridge"
"How come every time you come around my London, London Bridge/Wanna go down like London, London, London?"

Lil' Kim and 50 Cent "Magic Stick"
"I've got the magic stick..."

Rihanna "Shut Up and Drive"
"Take you where you wanna go, if you know what I mean/Got a ride that's smoother than a limousine"

Kelis "Milkshake"
"My milkshake brings all the boys to the yard"

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Oscar Predictions: March 2008

It's that time of the year again. Last year's Oscars have been over for a month and it's time to start looking towards next year's Oscar ceremony. One year ago I tried doing year-in-advance predictions and it didn't work out so well. Here's hoping this year goes better!

Best Picture

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

This looks like a good mix of Oscar's favorites: two biopics, one Broadway adaptation, one epic and, if they're looking to feed some auteur-lust, one by a director who they haven't fully embraced yet.

Best Actor
Benicio Del Toro, The Argentine
Leonardo DiCaprio, Revolutionary Road
Frank Langella, Frost/Nixon
Sean Penn, Milk
Mark Ruffalo, Blindness

I really hope this doesn't turn into the obvious with Langella winning every award in sight for his Tony-award winning performance as Richard Nixon. That is so Dame Helen Mirren in 2006.

Best Actress
Emily Blunt, The Young Victoria
Nicole Kidman, Australia
Julianne Moore, Blindness
Meryl Streep, Doubt
Kate Winslet, Revolutionary Road

I know this line up is almost too good to be true, with four of my favorite leading ladies all competing for the prize, but this is what looks the best right now. Depending on how the Academy is feeling, they might either go with Streep (who hasn't won since '82) or Winslet (who hasn't won on 5 nominations already).

Best Supporting Actor
Josh Brolin, Milk
Robert Downey, Jr., The Soloist
Ralph Fiennes, The Duchess
Danny Glover, Blindness
Michael Sheen, Frost/Nixon

Even if The Soloist is as sucky as it sounds, I really hope Downey gets the recognition he deserves. He is one of our finest actors around and another Oscar nomination (he has one already for Chaplin in '92) would be a sweet way to continue his comeback.

Best Supporting Actress
Viola Davis, Doubt
Anjelica Huston, Choke

Rinko Kikuchi, The Brothers Bloom
Patty McCormack, Frost/Nixon
Miranda Richardson, The Young Victoria

What a strange lineup here. I doubt most of this will pan-out (Huston, Kikuchi and McCormack are looking especially vulnerable) but this looked like the most fun. Just be grateful I didn't put down La Tisdale for High School Musical 3: Senior Year.

Best Director
David Fincher, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Spike Lee, Miracle at St. Anna
Baz Luhrmann, Australia
Fernando Meirelles, Blindness
Gus Van Sant, Milk

Can Spike Lee finally get his first nomination for Best Director? I hope so.

Best Original Screenplay
Woody Allen, Vicky Cristina Barcelona
Stuart Beattie, Richard Flanagan, Ronald Harwood, Baz Luhrmann, Australia
Dustin Lance Black, Milk
Susannah Grant, The Soloist
Charlie Kaufman, Synecdoche, New York

This is looking pretty standard, although the Woody Allen picture can go either way.

Best Adapted Screenplay
Bret Easton Ellis, Nicholas Jarecki, The Informers
Justin Haythe, Revolutionary Road
Don McKellar, Blindness
William Monahan, Steve Zaillian, Body of Lies
John Patrick Shanley, Doubt

I don't think the Ellis nomination will happen, but he's one of my favorite writers and I thought I'd have a little fun. And you never know, it could happen.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

2007 Diva Cup Awards: Breakthrough Performance

I decided this year to change this category up a bit. Anyone who was nominated for one of the Top 4 acting awards wasn't eligible for this category. The reason I changed it is because after J. Hud won in both Best Supporting Actress and here, it didn't really give anybody else a chance. I know I don't have to be so democratic, since it's my personal awards, but I'm in a giving mood. Just call me Jesus.

And the nominees are...
Nikki Blonsky, Hairspray
This is a debut?! Holy mother of God! Blonsky sings and dances like a hoofer who's been doing this for 20 years. Definitely excited to see what she does next.

Michael Cera, Juno, Superbad
With two opportunities to display his off-beat comic timing, Cera took full advantage and stood out among A+ ensembles in both films.

Saoirse Ronan, Atonement
She works hard to make you hate her...not an easy thing for a kid actor to do. Can't wait for The Lovely Bones to see if this was a one-shot performance or just the beginnings of an amazing career.

Ed Sanders, Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street
I'm not usually one for kid performances, but Sanders goes above and beyond the usual child actor tricks. As soon as I left the theater, I looked over at my friend Jill and said, "This kid needs to be in a remake of Oliver!!"

Carice van Houten, Black Book
She turned me on and gave a fantastic performance in the same film. What will she do as an encore?

If Only There Were Six: Elijah Kelley, Hairspray "Run and Tell That!" was phenomenal...and the rest ain't too shabby either.

Rest of the Top 10: Zac Efron, Hairspray, High School Musical 2...Dillon Freasier, There Will Be Blood...Emile Hirsch, Into the Wild...Reece Thompson, Rocket Science

Michael Cera

Nikki Blonsky

Carice van Houten

American Idol Recap: Top 10 Edition

Theme: Songs From the Year You Were Born

Before I get started let me mention just how smart Kristy Lee Cook was in picking "God Bless the USA" last night. Now, you know I'm no fan of hers and that pick was the most shameless song choice I have ever seen in the entire run of American Idol, but Kristy Lee knows just exactly who she's singing to (in this case, the I-support-the-troops-no-matter-what rednecks) and picks accordingly. Never mind that she was as awful as ever, singing like some small town pageant winner, she gets mad props from me.

It was another pretty meh week on Idol. The only real highlights were Kristy Lee's balls (see above), Michael Johns finally showing some ability (other than speaking with that lovely accent) while performing "We Will Rock You/We Are the Champions", Syesha tearing shit up finally on an okay song and David Archuleta turning a truly awful inspirational song (I don't even know what it was called) into something magical. I swear that Archuleta kid is some kind of miracle worker rivaling Annie Sullivan. I realized something about Archuleta last night that's kind of disturbing for me. I love the kid to death and think he's a great singer, but I don't know if I would buy his album. Since he's so young and innocent, I don't know if I would buy him singing about love and I definitely wouldn't believe him singing about sex. So what does that leave? Inspirational ballads? No thanks. But, you never know, he could really surprise me.

The usual suspects all were as bad as usual. Jason did his whole mellow hippie thing again, Chikezie tried a ballad again and it was such a disaster that I was actually praying for a hoe-down again. And Ramiele Malubay had the audacity to try doing Heart's "Alone" with her weak-ass voice and somehow expected it to be good. I still don't understand the appeal of this troll.

Brooke started off strong with "Every Breath You Take," another smart choice for her voice, but it went nowhere fast after the band joined in. Carly Smithson certainly had the voice to tackle "Total Eclipse of the Heart" but, for some reason, it didn't fully work. Maybe it's because the song is so overused on this show (didn't someone already pick this song during 80's week?). David Cook tried once again to be cool and turn a random pop song into a rock ballad, this time with Michael Jackson's "Billie Jean", and this shtick is getting old quickly. Next week he just needs to sing a song straight through without trying to change everything all the time.

I'm interested to see who leaves tonight because, for once, I'm not predicting Kristy Lee; after that brilliant move she's going nowhere. I'd say it's between Ramiele and Chikezie, but since people love Ramiele for some strange reason, I'll go with Chikezie to go home.

2007 Diva Cup Awards: Best Musical Scene

The reason I decided to split this category up from Best Scene was simple. If I had kept it the way it was, I would have filled 3 of the 5 spots with musical numbers, so why not just give them their own damn category? It also helped that this year had an abundance of musicals, so there was a ton to choose from.

And the nominees are...
Enchanted: "Happy Working Song"
Only Amy Adams could make this song- or the fact that cockroaches are helping to clean the apartment- work. Her light touch, as she flitters about the apartment in that dramatic ball gown, turned what could have been a throw-off number into something, excuse the pun, enchanted.

Hairspray: "I Can Hear the Bells"
The staging of this number for the big screen (compared to on stage, where it was absolutely nothing) was a blessing. It doesn't hurt that it was also very witty (the teacher's lounge, the nurse).

Hairspray: "Without Love"
An admittedly silly choice, but this is the one musical sequence that I made sure and told everyone about afterwards. What was it about this scene that had me going, made me laugh so hard I really thought I was going to pee? Two words: Zac Efron. I give him mad props for going all the way with this number and, unlike "Bet On It!" from HSM2, it's not a complete embarrassment.

La Vie en Rose: "Non, je ne regrette rien"
The perfect note to end this film on: child Edith, young adult Edith, dying Edith and entertainer Edith all converge with the swelling of emotion from the song. A second viewing on YouTube left me a little cold, but there's no denying that first experience (which was almost the equivalent of J. Hud's "And I Am Telling You I'm Not Going").

Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story: "Beautiful Ride"
A hilarious parody of the stereotypical last song of a musical biopic that encompasses all the ups and downs of the singer's life (and even funnier considering that it's mocking just what I loved about the previous nominee La Vie en Rose).

If Only There Were Six: Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street: "Epiphany"
Here comes the barber...and he is pissed.

Rest of the Top 10:
Juno: "Anyone Else But You"...Enchanted: "That's How You Know"...Across the Universe: "Strawberry Fields Forever"...Once: "Falling Slowly"

Enchanted: "Happy Working Song"

Hairspray: "Without Love"

Hairspray: "I Can Hear the Bells"

Monday, March 24, 2008


I just...I'm so...I don't...How do I even begin?

JA over at My New Plaid Pants is reporting that Jake Gyllenhaal and James Marsden have been cast in David O. Russell's (Three Kings, I Heart Huckabees) newest film Nailed. Plot details are at the link, but at this point I could really care less. All I'm picturing right now is Gyllenhaal and Marsden together on the screen and I'm practically melting in my chair. Remember when I drooled over McAvoy and Brolin at the Oscars? Let me guarantee you that it will be 100 times worse when I see this film, even if it's the suckiest film ever.

I'm so happy right now that I'm grinning like a major idiot and will probably continue to do this all day. I just hope that someone doesn't rain on my parade...otherwise I'm going to have to cut them like Dame Judi Dench.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

American Idol Recap: Top 11 Edition

Theme: Lennon-McCartney Songbook...again (I know, overkill)

Since this is so late that next week's show is only a couple of days away, I'll wrap it up quickly.

This week turned out exactly the way I thought Week One of the Lennon-McCartney songbook would: mediocre. Nearly every single performance reeked of it. People who were so good last week floundered trying to find another Beatles song to top what they've done before. Amanda Overmyer was certainly spirited during "Back in the U.S.S.R." but it was exactly what you would expect from her, and she doesn't seem intent on evolving over the course of the show. Brooke White chose something called "Here Comes the Sun" and was predictably cheerful and cutesy. I love this woman, but that entire performance was dreadful with the yellow dress and those awful lyrics (yes people, even The Beatles had their bad songs every once in awhile- so you can suck it if you think they were perfect or something). David Cook attempted to work on his rock edge with "Daytripper" and, for the most part, it worked. It just wasn't special enough to merit any above average praise, especially after that "Eleanor Rigby" performance. And Carly Smithson, who had the best performance of the entire year so far last week with "Come Together," tried something softer and it wasn't all there. Her voice was flawless, but the song was kinda boring and didn't really go anywhere.

The ones at the bottom of the suckey pile were there yet again this week. Kristy Lee Cook yet again countrified another Beatles song and- surprise!- yet again it sucked. I still don't know what America sees in this chick because she has about as much as talent as Sanjaya, but is about as funny as a royal dinner with the Queen. Can you honestly imagine her with a ponyhawk and not believe she's trying too hard to have personality? Ramiele Malubay made "I Should've Known Better" a piece of karaoke trash and was so cutesy I wanted to barf. Jason Castro warbled through "Michelle" and inspired nothing in me (I literally wrote down "Awful, nothing really of note to say about it"). Chikezie, still in crazy schizophrenic mode, started "I've Just Seen a Face" off of beautifully...until he turned it into another hoe-down. What the fuck is his problem? This was awful last week, and it's still awful this week. Any respect I once had for this man has entirely evaporated. Dreamy Michael Johns went from brilliant to embarrassing and back again throughout the course of "A Day in the Life." It was during this performance that I've realized that he has yet to deliver a performance of any particular worth and the only reason I want him around is to admire his accent. Not really a good sign, Michael.

Praise God Archuleta was back again this week! After last week's disaster (which they insisted on mentioning every two seconds) Archuleta proved his worth with a safe, yet beautiful, rendition of "The Long and Winding Road." I hope next week he picks an up-tempo song to silence all the haters who thinks he can only do ballads. Um, hello, did you not see his Top 24 performance of "Shop Around"? That was more than amazing.

Syesha Mercado also had something to prove (she hasn't really been progressing much) and she did just that with "Yesterday." I'm glad someone had the balls to tackle this song and I give her bonus points for it. I wasn't in love with it as much as the judges were (as soon as she started singing, I knew this was one they were going to eat up) but it was still a beautiful rendition.

Let me just add a quick note about the results. I realize that Amanda isn't exactly everyone's cup of tea. She's loud, obnoxious, her voice was better suited for a small biker bar in upstate New York and she wasn't going anywhere near the finale, but she was definitely 100 times better than Kristy Lee Cook. Amanda was so wildly inconsistent that she was interesting and always worth a watch; Kristy Lee is just consistently bad. What is it about this woman that has America saving her from leaving every damn week? She must be a witch and has cast a spell over the country, because there's no way people actually thinks she has talent. And why the fuck isn't Ramiele getting anywhere near the Bottom 3 yet? She's horrible every week but no one besides myself seems to notice. Ugh, sometimes I just hate this country.

Everyone's Favorite Mother is Having a Birthday!

Hollywood Royalty Joan Crawford is celebrating her birth today (well, she would be if she was alive). Being a true diva, the year of her birth is widely disputed, so she would either be 100 or 103. If you're not acquainted with Joan's filmography (aside from Mommie Dearest), I highly encourage you to catch something. If you're in a campy mood, you can't go wrong with What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? or Strait-Jacket. If you're in a serious mood, how about Possessed or A Woman's Face. And if you want to have a good laugh, check out Joan in one of her most underrated performances in Love on the Run.

What are you planning on getting Miss Crawford for her birthday? Let me know in the comments.

2007 Diva Cup Awards: Best Quote/Line Reading

And the nominees are...

"How could they forget Vietnam?"
(Julie Christie, Away From Her)

A haunting moment of clarity; if Fiona can see this connection, why are we still over in Iraq?

"I don't know what melodramatic means..."
(James Marsden, Enchanted)

There were so many great line readings from James Marsden in Enchanted that it was hard to narrow it down (I almost went with "Giselle!" or "Thank you for taking care of my bride, peasants."), but then I remembered that this is the one that made me laugh hardest so I went with it.

"I drink your milkshake! I drink it up!"
(Daniel Day-Lewis, There Will Be Blood)

An instantly iconic line that could be seen as out of place, but delivered with so much power by Day-Lewis that it works.

"I love you. Come back...come back to me."
(Keira Knightley, Atonement)

When Nicole Kidman delivered practically the same line in Cold Mountain, it came off as cartoonish, a way to write off the entire mess of a film. But when Keira Knightley says it this time around, the simple words turn into an eloquent cry for love.

"Whoa, dream big!"
(Ellen Page, Juno)

There were many lines to pick from, but Page, with that unique comic timing, makes this inconsequential line pop and sizzle with energy.

If Only There Were Six: "I am very, very sorry for the distress that I have caused" (Romola Garai, Atonement) Briony's been practicing this line over and over again, but still manages to mess up. A brilliant reading from Garai.

Rest of the Top 10:
"I think I may be beginning to disappear" (Julie Christie, Away From Her)..."You were never in the fucking KGB" (Naomi Watts, Eastern Promises)..."Well, the funny thing about my back is that it's located on my cock" (Jonah Hill, Superbad)..."'Detroit sound?' What's that- the cries of people being mugged?" (Michelle Pfeiffer, Hairspray)

"I don't know what melodramatic means..."

"How could they forget Vietnam?"

"I drink your milkshake! I drink it up!"

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Miss New York is Back!

Great news! In fact, it's the best news ever: The lovely and charming Miss New York's (aka Tiffany Pollard) new reality show has been confirmed by VH1! On this new show, instead of looking for love, New York will be looking for her big acting break in Hollywood. No news yet on whether Tailor-Made (the winner of I Love New York 2) or Sister Patterson will appear on this new show, but I'm hoping they will for maximum dramatic effect. I'm not sure whether New York's success as a reality television superstar will translate well into an acting career, but my third eye is telling me that the journey there will be one hell of an exciting time!

Who Knew, Vivien Leigh?

A couple of days ago, while I was looking for a certain Bette Davis quote that went with my thought about Amy Ryan, I ran across this quote from Vivien Leigh that made me fall in love with her all over again. You already know I think she gave one of the greatest performances in the history of cinema in Gone With the Wind and that her work in A Streetcar Named Desire was dynamic, to say the least. Well, besides from being an accomplished actress, you can now add "diva extraordinaire" to her impressive resume. After Joan Crawford dropped out of Hush...Hush Sweet Charlotte, her re-teaming with Bette Davis after the mega success of What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?, the director was looking around frantically for some older actress to fill in for Crawford. Eventually Olivia de Havilland took over, but apparently Leigh was offered the role at one point and had this to say:

"No, thank you. I can just about stand looking at Joan Crawford's face at six o'clock in the morning, but not Bette Davis'."

Oh snap! Isn't this juicy? I had no idea that Leigh could deliver a perfectly bitchy bon mot just as well as Davis, Crawford and Tallullah Bankhead. I'm so impressed with this one quote that I'm moving Vivien Leigh onto the "My Divas" section on the right hand side of the page.

2007 Diva Cup Awards: Best Sexpot

And the nominees are...

Keira Knightley as Cecilia Tallis in Atonement
James McAvoy as Robbie Turner in Atonement

They're sexy on their own, but together, the screen almost melts away with their sexual chemistry.

So Hott: The library sex scene

Marisa Tomei as Gina in Before the Devil Knows You're Dead
The only way Tomei's Gina knows how to communicate is through her body and what a body that is.

So Hott: Walking around in nothing but panties, her hips definitely don't lie.

Carice van Houten as Rachel Stein/Ellis de Vries in Black Book
As a spy using her body to lead the Dutch resistance against the Nazis, van Houten proudly flaunts her body and provides the sexy edge that makes Black Book work so well.

So Hott: Her first sexual encounter with Muntze (Sebastian Koch) was so lusty (I can't believe I'm going to say this) I got a little excited down there. I don't think I can recall a previous heterosexual couple in film that did that for me.

Tang Wei as Wong Chia Chi in Lust, Caution
Wei also plays a spy who uses her sexual prowess to get information, but her sexuality is subtler than van Houten's and becomes more pronounced as Lust, Caution goes on.

So Hott: Any of her sex scenes with Leung (except for maybe that anal rape scene...what is it with Ang Lee and anal rape?)

If Only There Were Six:
Julia Roberts as Joanne Herrig in Charlie Wilson's War For a strong Christian woman, she definitely dresses a little more on the liberal side. And that wig was a masterpiece.

Rest of the Top 10: Zac Efron, Hairspray...Taraji P. Henson, Talk to Me...Gerard Butler, 300...Michelle Pfeiffer, Hairspray

Marisa Tomei

Tang Wei

Carice van Houten

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Pictures From The Box

Forgive me if these are a couple of weeks old, but I felt like now was the perfect time to post them. These are the first stills from Richard Kelly's (Donnie Darko, Southland Tales) latest film The Box. The film stars Rants of a Diva favorite James Marsden and Cameron Diaz. The Box is about a married couple who find a box on their doorstep that makes them wealthy when it is opened- but this will kill someone who they don't know. Yay, I'm so excited for this one!

Sunday, March 16, 2008

2007 Diva Cup Awards: Best Cameo/Limited Performance

I'm ready to move on with 2008, but before I can do that I have to wrap up 2007 with my annual Diva Cup Awards. This year, I saw 66 films, which is 10 more than I saw in 2006 (and four months sooner, as well) and I am pumped to share with you my favorites in 16 categories. I added a couple of new ones this year and Best Cameo/Limited Performance is one of them. I hope you enjoy and let me know what you think my nominees in this or any category.

P.S. I know I already cheated with having 6 nominees, but there were so many strong cameos this year and I didn't want to split this up into two categories. So sue me.

And the nominees are...

Roger Bart as U.S. Attorney in American Gangster
Bart puts a jolt into the quickly deadening film with a fierce intensity and the shock of seeing Mr. Broadway Nice Guy dropping the "n-word" so viciously.

Jack Black, Justin Long, Paul Rudd and Jason Schwartzman as The Beatles in Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story
Together, these four shamelessly steal the scene away from John C. Reilly and have the funniest moment of the entire film.

Adam Brody as Stephen Montgomery in The Ten
Brody shows us in The Ten that he can also play characters that aren't Seth Cohen...and he can do so hilariously.

Margo Martindale as Carol in Paris, Je T'Aime
Paris has never seemed lovelier than through the eyes of the bewitching Martindale. I love it when hard working character actresses receive the attention they deserve.

Julianne Moore as Alice Fabian in I'm Not There
Moore ably provides us with the background on Christian Bale's Jack Rollins with her usual warmth. Bonus points for "Hey, that's my chair" and her other small ways of making Alice real.

Kristen Wiig as Jill in Knocked Up
She really serves no purpose in the context of the movie, but Wiig is utterly hilarious dryly (and somewhat, but not really, subtly) putting down Katherine Heigl.

If Only There Were Six Seven: Valerie Tian, Juno Tian turns the one-note Su-Chin into an adorable pro-life poster child

Rest of the Top Ten:
Gena Rowlands, Paris Je T'Aime...Steve Buscemi, Paris, Je T'Aime...Nick Nolte, Paris, Je T'Aime

Roger Bart

Margo Martindale

Jack Black, Justin Long, Paul Rudd and Jason Schwartzman

Quick Thought on Amy Ryan

There's this great quote from Bette Davis during her infamous feud with Joan Crawford that goes, "Why am I so good at playing bitches? I think it's because I'm not a bitch. Maybe that's why Joan Crawford always plays ladies."

Why do I mention this? Because I just finished watching Before the Devil Knows You're Dead and after this and Gone Baby Gone, I have come to the conclusion that Amy Ryan must be the sweetest, nicest person on the planet. Why? Because only someone that nice can play two women so despicable as the ones in these films. Not only did she play the worst mother since Joan Crawford in Gone Baby Gone, but she isn't any more pleasant in Before the Devil. She's less crass, but not much. Ryan is unrelenting in her emasculation of her ex-husband Hank (Ethan Hawke), not letting a minute pass by without mentioning the money he owes. Her next big role is in Clint Eastwood's Changeling and I don't know anything about the role she plays, but I hope she plays someone kind-hearted so she can show what a good person she is (and not be typecast)

Rants on The Other Boleyn Girl

Holy fuckballs! Going in to The Other Boleyn Girl, I figured that it was going to be campy, but I didn't expect it to be this deliciously campy. I believe the only way to describe this film is to call it a fierce hot-mess tranny...but in a good way.

Confused? Don't be, it will all make sense eventually.

The Other Boleyn Girl is so over the top it makes Elizabeth: The Golden Age look as serious as Schindler's List. The reason that The Other Boleyn Girl is a better film, however, is because it's not really trying for dramatic realism- director Justin Chadwick knows it's camp and accepts it. The direction isn't self-conscious and there's no grand staging to make everything seem more important than it really is. It's a perfectly inspired choice on Chadwick's part and a reason that The Other Boleyn Girl works as well as it does.

Anyone who's seen the trailer knows that The Other Boleyn Girl is supposed to be a dramatic showdown between Natalie Portman and Scarlett Johansson. Want to know who the winner is? Portman, by a mile. Maybe it's because she has the infinitely more interesting role compared to ScarJo, but Portman just runs away with this film. Where a normal actress would add no emphasis, she tosses off bitchy one-liners like no one's business and commands the screen without resorting to Blanchett-esque howling (no bitches wear her collar here). While Johansson is definitely fetching and you can see why Henry falls for her, she has done better work than in here. She's curiously vacant and, after The Black Dahlia and The Prestige, maybe that's how she always acts and I'm just now noticing. As for the other women, they excel in the middling parts they are given. Kristin Scott Thomas plays the mother of the Boleyn sisters and she makes sure her voice is heard while the men in her life decide the future of the girls. She's the voice of reason, even though no one really wants to hear what she says. Ana Torrent, as the first queen Catherine of Aragon, really only has three scenes to work with, but she's divalicious in all of them with out going way over the top. Her first scene where she praises ScarJo's awful singing with that sarcastic sneer and thinly veiled hatred. And the second scene where she approaches Portman and ScarJo with "Well, if it isn't the Boleyn Whores" was priceless. This woman was a hoot and is an early contender for my 2008 Diva Cup Award for Best Diva.

There's this one scene towards the end of the film that I'm sure either makes or breaks the film for some people, but it's so out there and ballsy that it made me love this film even more. I don't know if it's technically a spoiler or not, but I'm simply going to refer to it as "The Queen Needs a Lover." If you've seen it, I hope you know what I'm talking about. It's the most alternately horrifying/hilarious scene I've seen since Hitchcock and the most outrageous thing I've ever seen in a PG-13 rated movie. Chadwick uses the static close-up to infinite effect, as the audience's reaction goes from "Who is she thinking about using?" to "No, they can't be..." to "Oh no they didn't!" to "Oh my God, they went there!".

If you're looking for a historically accurate representation of Henry VII England, avoid this movie and pick up something like A Man For All Seasons. But, if you're looking for a campy good time, with two beautiful females duking it out, check out The Other Boleyn Girl and, trust me, you won't be disappointed.

My Rating: *** 1/2