Sunday, May 31, 2009

Anna Kendrick as Sally Bowles...Sort Of

Just when I thought Anna Kendrick couldn't be any more amazing, a friend of mine showed me the above clip of her performing "Life Upon the Wicked Stage" from Show Boat with the Kit Kat Club dancers from Cabaret. Make sure to pay attention for the recreation of Liza Minnelli's immortal "Mein Herr" dance from the film version with Anna gamely taking over the reins. Oh, and did I mention that this was performed in 1999 when Anna was 14? Good God, can someone get this woman a role in a movie musical ASAP? Surely there must be some casting agent/producer who thinks that Kendrick would be a better choice than Vanessa Hudgens.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

25 Best Performances of the TV Season

So, the 2008-09 TV season has officially ended and while the doldrums of the summer season begin and I impatiently wait for Mad Men and my Bravo reality shows [My Life on the D-List, Flipping Out, Tabatha's Salon Takeover and Shear Genius (if that's even coming back)], I decided it's the perfect time to celebrate the best of the past season. Instead of attempting to do a massive Emmy ballot like last year which I know would just end up a complete disaster, I decided to just rank my favorite performances of the season. I hope you enjoy and let me know what you think the best of the season were.

25. Portia de Rossi,
Better Off Ted
Hilariously deadpan. She's now officially my second favorite lesbian (after her wife, of course)
24. Sebastian Stan, Kings
That scene where his father denounces him for his homosexuality totally killed me. And don't we all love a scheming and manipulative gay (I think someone's been taking lessons from their girlfriend)?
23. Brie Larson, The United States of Tara
She gets the funniest lines on the show and I love that even if she's a bitch most of the time, she's still my ideal older sister.
22. Kristin Chenoweth, Pushing Daisies
Always a delight as the unlucky-in-love Olive. I especially loved her nun storyline this past (and last, sadly) season.
21. Jack McBrayer, 30 Rock
Often has the most ridiculous, WTF lines on the show and he still makes them work.

20. Hannah Murray, Skins
I'm so behind on Skins it's almost embarrassing, but, thanks to Murray, her season one episode was one of the most heartbreakingly real takes on anorexia and eating disorders I've ever seen.
19. Keir Gilchrist, The United States of Tara
Adorable, instantly lovable and already one of my favorite gays ever. As an added bonus, I want his wardrobe more than any other person's on TV.
18. Marcia Gay Harden, Damages
Practically oozes a confident sexuality unmatched by anyone on TV. The fact that she's over 40 and is still sexier than Megan Fox is a testament to her acting (and her incredible, real body)
17. Eva Longoria-Parker, Desperate Housewives
She gets better and funnier with every passing season and still no respect. I do not understand Hollywood sometimes.
16. Ian McShane, Kings
Overpowering and authoritative like any king should be.

15. Hugh Laurie, House
Consistently probing while chipping away at the psyche of one the darkest, complicated and most awesome characters on TV ever. Has anyone done this much character work on what is, more or less, a "procedural" show?
14. Becki Newton & Michael Urie, Ugly Betty
My favorite gay guy/fag hag combination ever (Will & Grace excluded, of course). Apart, they're brilliant. But when they're together, all hell breaks loose. I love that the show is allowing Urie's Marc to grow and become more than just a shallow (yet hilarious) stereotype, while I'm impressed that they have managed to keep Newton's Amanda fresh and freakishly hilarious week after week.
13. Kristen Wiig, Saturday Night Live
One of the very few reasons I watched Saturday Night Live as much as I did this season. Given just a couple of props and quirks, she develops characters that are so funny I forget to breathe sometimes. And the best part is she's ALWAYS funny, no matter how awful some of her sketches are.
12. Marcia Cross, Desperate Housewives
Ms. Cross will forever and for always be my favorite desperate housewife. I just wished she got better storylines and more respect from all of the awards groups (One Emmy nomination and NO wins?! How is this even possible? She should have 2 statues, easily).
11. Jane Krakowski, 30 Rock
What more does this woman have to do to prove that she's infinitely worthy of an Emmy nomination? She's consistently brings the house down every week and her quotes are the ones I'm always repeating for weeks on end.

10. Lee Pace, Pushing Daisies
Adorable, achingly sweet and just awkward enough to be completely endearing.
9. Rose Byrne, Damages
Scarily intense. I thought I loved her the first season, but she upped her game tenfold for the second. Now, will Emmy fall in line and actually nominate her?
8. Julia Louis-Dreyfuss, The New Adventures of Old Christine
My favorite moment of the entire season happened in the episode of Christine where Louis-Dreyfuss is trying to prove to the gang what a sore loser her boyfriend is after he has a complete meltdown when she beats him in tennis. She asks everyone to make sure that he loses at all costs, but when he starts beating everyone, she has a meltdown herself, stamping on the floor and throwing game pieces all over the place. Apparently, I was causing such a commotion with my laughter, my parents had to ask and make sure I was alright. It is for moments like this that I love Julia Louis-Dreyfuss and her take on the burned out single mother.
7. Glenn Close, Damages
By now, Glenn Close has this cold, intense and generally frightening gorgon act down pat, but you can see that she maintains Patty Hewes as a work in process; Close continues to add layers to the character with each passing episode.
6. Alec Baldwin, 30 Rock
I was tempted at first to call Portia de Rossi my favorite corporate ballbuster on TV, but then I remembered that Alec Baldwin was on my list and I completely forgot about that. He's still the funniest guy on TV and seeing his chemistry with Tina Fey only get stronger and funnier every week fills me with complete joy.

5. Elisabeth Moss, Mad Men
It's a man's world, but Moss's Peggy Olson is fighting to good fight for women's equality in the workplace in her own special way. I love that she doesn't give big, moralizing lectures, but instead does her work better than any of the men while slowly gaining the respect of Don. But, she also has her heartbreaks and its during these moments that we are really moved by Peggy and Moss's performance.

4. Vanessa Williams, Ugly Betty
For a show that has more ups and downs, quality wise, than Britney's comeback, it's never less than surprising the way Vanessa Williams is able to consistently find new ways to make being a complete diva bitch compelling and funny. After three seasons, you would think we would get tired of this shtick, but Williams is a much smarter actress than most people give her credit for and knows how to be villainous while showing her human side at the same time. It's a very difficult role, but Williams handles it without breaking a sweat.

3. Jon Hamm, Mad Men
The most interesting thing about Hamm's interpretation of Don Draper, and consequently why it's ones of the best performances of the season, is that for everything that happens to him throughout the course of the season, he remains as much of an enigma as before. Who is Don Draper and, furthermore, will anyone (including Don himself) ever really figure him out? Thanks to Jon Hamm, we'll continue to have fun guessing.

2. Tina Fey, 30 Rock & Saturday Night Live
My professor this semester wondered out loud about Tina Fey's Liz Lemon, "I find it hard to believe that anyone can be that pathetic." I thought about this for a second and had to disagree. Liz Lemon has to be that pathetic because we are all Liz Lemon in one way or another. We have all reacted in similar ways to the situations Liz gets in week after week (and don't you deny it!). On the other hand, Fey's Sarah Palin interpretation became a full-blown cultural phenomenon and it was all highly deserved.

1. Leighton Meester, Gossip Girl
If you're at all surprised by this, then what site have you been reading for the past year? I liked her well enough during the first season, but it wasn't until this year that it blew up into a full-blown obsession. With every passing week, Meester turned Blair Waldorf from a guilty pleasure to one of the coolest and most cheerworthy characters on television. Every time she delivers a bitchy one-liner, manipulates her way out of a situation or devises a scheme to eliminate a potential threat to her well-being, we cheer her on and laugh at the sheer outrageousness of her character (especially when she embarrasses her frenemy Serena in front of the dean of admissions by telling him about Serena's "murder"). But then there are the quieter moments when Meester truly shines as a dramatic actress as well. I still remember the scene where Blair is standing in front of a mirror and, in a beautiful long take, she stares at her reflection and goes from stoic, to upset, to a blubbering mess, back to upset, sullen and finally happy. This all happens in a matter of 45 seconds and is one of the most entrancing moments of the past season. For all of these reasons and more, I mention to JD every week that she's worthy of an Emmy nomination. It completely saddens me that she'll probably never get the respect she deserves just because she's young, relatively unknown and on a "teen" drama on the CW. Leighton Meester is a goddess and one of the most promising and hottest actresses in Hollywood- when will the rest of the world start to take notice?

Thursday, May 28, 2009

I Wish I Had a Legitimate Excuse to Post These Pictures...

...other than the fact that, you know, good looking, young French boys make me weak in the knees. As an added bonus, they're wearing suits and skinny ties and that drives the French New Wave fanboy inside of me crazy. I found these pictures about a month ago here, but since I don't speak much French I have no idea what they were shot for (other than a reason to assemble a smorgasbord of hot French people). In the end though, all that matters is that there are a bunch of pretty French hommes to gaze at:

Julien Baumgartner

François Civil

Théo Frilet

Adrien Jolivet

Guillaume Gouix

Emile Berling (whom you might recognize as a Diva Cup nominee for Breakthrough Performance for A Christmas Tale)

And, of course, I saved the best for last: none other than Mr. Grégoire Leprince-Ringuet himself in all of his sexy, smoldering glory (also a Breakthrough Performance nominee with Berling)

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

2008 Diva Cup Awards: Best Actor

Colin Farrell
In Bruges
Like most people, I had been waiting since Farrell's breakthrough in 2000's Tigerland for him to live up to that initial promise. It's been a long, tough eight years, but he finally did it with In Bruges as a remorseful hitman. Farrell is hardly the first person you would think who could handle both the wickedly hilarious side of the role as well as the dark, internal drama and does both jaw-droppingly great. Along with his also great performance in Woody Allen's Cassandra's Dream, it looks like Colin Farrell is fighting to finally be taken seriously as an actor and up his game with each passing role; let's hope for more of this in the future.

Andrew Garfield
Boy A
There's a great little scene in the middle of Boy A that perfectly sums up why Andrew Garfield's performance is not only one of the best of the year, but one of the most exciting and breathtaking breakthrough performances of the past decade. Garfield's Jack is sitting in a restaurant with his girlfriend Michelle when she hands him a little gift. It turns out to be a nice leather wallet- a nice gesture, but nothing earthshattering. Jack, on the other hand, reacts as if he's just been handed the Heart of the Ocean and about 14 different emotions run across his face. The moment is interesting because, for a minute, you have no clue what his reaction is and, consequently, how you should be feeling about it: is he going to cry, laugh, get angry or is he just really surprised? More often than not, women are called on to play these types of emotional roles that demand shading and texture so it's nice to see an extremely young, good looking man not only tackle this but do it so damned effectively.

Richard Jenkins
The Visitor
Jenkins's performance in The Visitor is probably the hardest of the five to talk about because it's hard to put into words what makes it so special. On first glance, it doesn't look like Jenkins is doing much with only one big "moment," but the beauty of the performance lies in the quiet moments of fractured dialogue and deep, soulful looks of contemplation. Jenkins subtly follows the progression of The Visitor's narrative perfectly, starting cold and unapproachable, slowly melting as he becomes tangled up emotionally with a young immigrant couple and building up to that firestorm of frustration and grief before regaining his composure, still quite and reserved but newly open to care for another human being. The acting may not be superficially visible like a certain Best Actress nominee who cried and threw things on her way to a nomination, but Jenkins is able to speak volumes and more clearly with just a few carefully chosen gestures and looks.

Heath Ledger
The Dark Knight
The most buzzed about performance of the year, if not the decade, and somehow all of it (and then some) is completely warranted. Ledger's Joker may not have a massive amount of physical on-screen time, but, just like Anthony Hopkins' Hannibal Lecter, his presence so dominates every frame of the film that he feels like a true lead with Bale's Batman. Whenever a long stretch of screentime goes on (and on) without him, the film seems to flounder, but always recovers whenever he decides to cause some drama and show up for another round of "Guess What the Psychopath Will Do Next." And that's probably what makes Ledger's performance so exciting and immediately engrossing: you really have no clue what trick he's going to pull out next (or, as in the film, stick in your eye). Every scene is a jolt and, in my case, makes you sick to your stomach in anticipation of his next diabolical move. Heath's passing early last year was extremely saddening, but how many actors get to go out with a bang like this?

Mickey Rourke
The Wrestler
Like Jenkins, it may not seem like Rourke is doing much "acting" as the past-his-glory wrestling star Randy "The Ram" in The Wrestler, but his quiet character shadings speak volumes about both the character and Rourke's ability as an actor. The fact that The Ram's downfall to obscurity after an impossibly great 80's mirrors Rourke's career in Hollywood is the icing on the cake and one of the most perfect immersions of an actor into a role I've ever seen. The fact that Oscar passed over this subtle character work for some perfectly competent (and, for the most part, admittedly well-done) biopic-ing isn't really that surprising, but I'm thinking that this is the performance more people will still be talking about 15 years down the road.

If Only There Were Six: James Franco, Pineapple Express

Rest of the Top 10: Sean Penn, Milk...Espin Klouman-Hoiner, Reprise...Josh Brolin, W....Sam Rockwell, Choke

And the Diva Cup Goes to: Mickey Rourke, The Wrestler

Monday, May 25, 2009

To All My American Readers Who Get Turner Classic Movies (TCM)

I hate to exclude any of my international readers, but this news is only applicable to those in America. Late tonight/early tomorrow morning, from 2:15 to 4:30 am, TCM will be airing the MGM silent romantic war epic The Big Parade. Why should you care? Here are my four main reasons:

1. It's one of my 10 favorite movies EVER.
2. This is the first time TCM has aired the movie since I originally saw it five or so years ago.
3. The film is not available on DVD, only on a hard to find VHS.
4. If you remember from a couple months ago when I posted my film log from the Silent Era, I included The Big Parade as the second best film of the entire era (just behind Keaton's Sherlock, Jr.) and also mentioned that leads John Gilbert and Renée Adorée gave two of the best performances during that time period. In fact, I went on to elaborate that Gilbert indeed gave the best male performance.

Enticed yet? If you're not, I don't know what else I could short of flying to your home and recording it on your TiVo for you. Truly, I hope that a few of you give The Big Parade a chance and fall in love with it much like I have. Be sure to let me know what you think!

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Can This Actually Be Happening?

Am I going insane or is the new song by the Brothers Jonas, "Paranoid," actually pretty decent? And not just pretty decent, it's really quite a good pop record. I've only listened to it three times and it's already, bar none, the greatest thing they've ever done (not that that feat was hard to accomplish, mind you). I'm especially impressed with their ability to combine an insanely catchy beat with such dark, creepy (and, admittedly, well-written) lyrics. Plus, it sounds like Nick's voice is starting to mature a bit; the whininess that hindered the few good songs on their last album is either eliminated or reduced to the point that it doesn't distract. What's even crazier is that after the nightmare music videos that were "Burnin' Up" and "Lovebug," they've actually managed to make a music video that is every bit as impressive as the song. In the wrong hands, the jokey premise and situations they go through (Joe in a wrestling match!) could have been a complete disaster, but it all actually adds to the creepiness of the song. How they do it is beyond me, so take a look for yourself and see if you can figure it out.

Jonas Brothers - Paranoid - Music Video in HD

I know there were some critics out there *cough*Entertainment Weekly*cough* who thought that the Jonas's last album, A Little Bit Longer, was a breakthrough of any sorts (in fact, it was one of the worst albums of the year, worsted only by Beyonce and Janet Jackson). But if "Paranoid" is indicative of their newest album Lines, Vines and Trying Times--horrible title, by the way--could the Brothers Jonas finally break free of that Disney tweenage ghetto with a legitimately good pop record? I'm not holding my breath over here, but stranger things have happened. Who would have thought that Jesse McCartney, after a couple of bland, uninspiring albums and singles, had it in him to make Departure?

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Norma Shearer Classy

In case you missed it on Facebook, today is my birthday! Hooray! I'm 21 and getting my drink on in a couple of hours for the first time ever. Exciting, non? I was talking to JD about it last night and he asked if I was going to get totally wasted. I replied that no, I was going to be a lady and keep it classy. He then said the most perfect thing ever.

Oh. Norma Shearer classy.

I hadn't thought of it before, but Norma is the perfect role model for my 21st birthday: elegant, stylish and maniacally stylized. Let's just hope I don't pull a Divorcée and not turn away any man from my bed. I don't need to be a total ho on my birthday (or ever).

Wednesday, May 20, 2009


Say hello to your new American Idol!

After a season full of the most shameless manipulation I've ever witnessed, it's just sweet to finally see justice served. GO KRIS! I love you!

American Idol Recap: Top 2 Edition

I know this is going to be incredibly biased since I've been on the Kris Allen train since "Man in the Mirror" during semi-finals week, but he owned Ms. Glambert during the first two rounds (I'm not counting the third because, as I'm sure you are well aware, the song penned by Kara DioIdon'tgiveacrap is a complete piece of shit and neither of the contestants did well with it). Okay, maybe "owned" isn't the best word, but Kris was definitely much better. His second take on "Ain't No Sunshine," definitely his most underrated performance of the season the first time around and the one that proved what a unique artist he is, was just as beautiful and stunning this go around. I'm glad that the judges finally (kinda) gave him the respect he deserves, but was anyone else peturbed by Simon's back-handed compliment that went something like "After last week, I wasn't sure if America had made the right choice." Are you fucking kidding me? Are the judges still on the Danny Gokey bandwagon? He's gone, get the fuck over it. For his first round pick, Ms. Glambert sang "Mad World" again, his most well-received performance, and it was even more dreadfully dull and lifeless than I remembered. Seriously, nothing was going on there. I don't care if it was more Phantom of the Opera or Twilight, it was still shit.

The second round brought about the dreaded Producers' Choice instead of the usual Let the Contestants Pick Their Own Damn Song. I instantly feared another Syesha Mercado-style sabotage and was prepared for them to make Kris sing something from the
Monsters vs. Aliens Soundtrack. Instead, they decided to make it social message night with Adam singing "Change is Gonna Come" and Kris doing "What's Going On?" (does the producer realize that good songs didn't stop with the Civil Rights Movement?) and neither of them doing that amazingly. Ms. Glambert's performance gave me a headache with all of those unneccessary runs, falsettos and general shriekiness. I will be so glad once they hand him his (undeserved) Idol crown so I can go back to never having to listen to him again. Kris's pick was something I wouldn't have chosen for him in a million years (he's so much better at heartfelt than preachy), but he did marginally well with it and much better than the judges *cough*Simon*cough* gave him credit for. I did love Paula's comment that went something like "I know what's going on and it's you!" How amazing is this woman? Why would they even consider firing and replacing her with that dumb wench known as Kara? She can't even write a cheesy inspirational ballad that makes sense. That song, called "No Boundries," was as long, drawn-out, pointless and unwieldy as her critiques. What a fucking embarrassment--even Ms. Glambert deserved better.

I would love for Kris to win tonight, but I'm not holding my breath. Even if all of this underdog stuff is true, I still don't think it's enough to overcome the mindboggling fanbase Ms. Glambert has amassed throughout the course of the season. Besides, if Kris finishes second, he won't have to release that "No Boundries" pile of steaming shit and he can make his debut album however he wants without interference from the show. Come to think of it, can we please let him lose?

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Possible Song Choices for Kris Allen in His Quest to Become This Season's American Idol

In case you're one of the 19 people in America who doesn't know, tonight is the final singing show between the Glambert and Kris Allen for this season's Idol crown. Since I'm pretty sure you all know who I'm supporting, I thought I'd offer him some possible song choices that could help him win. The song he picks is going to depend on what he decides on which version of Kris he decides to be on the show.

If he wants to show us what kind of artist he's going to be once the show is over:

Jason Mraz "The Remedy (I Won't Worry)"

If he wants to find untapped emotions in the most unlikely pop song:

Miley Cyrus "See You Again"

Jessica Simpson "I Think I'm In Love With You"

Michelle Branch "Breathe"

If he wants to prove that he makes songs originated by women suitable for a man's voice:

Eurythmics "Thorn In My Side"

Robyn "With Every Heartbeat"

If he wants to do an acoustic version of a heavy rock song:

The Killers "When You Were Young"

Monday, May 18, 2009

Lady GaGa Knows Her Stuff

No truer words have ever been spoken.
Adapted from The GaGa's "Boys Boys Boys" from her incredible album The Fame.

(Boys, boys, boys)

We like boys in cars

(Boys, boys, boys)

Buy us drinks in bars

(Boys, boys, boys)

With hairspray and denim

(Boys, boys, boys)

We love them!

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Rants on Star Trek (2009)

I am not a Trekkie. Never have been, never will be. Throughout my childhood, my parents constantly watched Star Trek on TV: the one with Patrick Stewart, the guy with the huge, wrinkly forehead and the other guy with the light-up visor over his eyes. Being the odd child I was, instead of heading to my bedroom to watch something with my brother, I would sit with them and watch it, hating every minute of it. Maybe it was just because I was too young to understand any of what was going on, but those memories of watching countless hours of this show has not only turned me off toward Star Trek but also any other space-themed sci-fi show/film that is being hailed as the best thing around (i.e. why I never bothered with Battlestar Galactica or Firefly). When I heard that TV megaman J.J. Abrams was planning a franchise reboot, I'm pretty sure I rolled my eyes and lamented, as usual, about the death of original ideas in Hollywood, especially since this was Star Trek, that boring show from my childhood.

But then the previews came out and the film looked, dare I say it, not bad. And the more and more I was flooded with trailers and stories about the film, the more and more I wanted to see it. I didn't want to go during opening weekend because, frankly, I didn't want to run into the hardcore Trekkies who would either be cheering at every twist and turn like those annoying Twilight girls or would spend the whole movie discussing how the movie differs from the seventh episode of season two on The Next Generation. I waited until the next week and went with another friend (hey Kelli!) who also knew nothing about Star Trek but thought that the previews looked awesome. I went in with low expectations for two reasons: (1) Star Trek is, quite obviously, a big budget action blockbuster and I'm normally highly allergic to them and (2) the film has been getting outstanding reviews and normally whenever one of these types of films gets great reviews (Iron Man, Spider-Man, Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl), I end up hating them just as much as the crap that doesn't get those reviews. Surprisingly, the film impressed me with how much it earned every one of those stellar notices.

The thing I appreciated the most about Abrams' Star Trek is the fact that there aren't the usual idiotic subplots and themes that come attached to most summer blockbusters. There are no awkward and clichéd love triangles, no gooey, overly sentimental or otherwise painful dialogue that makes you roll your eyes and no attempt to philosophize some meaningless drivel about man's place in the world or some crap like that. Instead, he stuck to the two things the film does exceedingly well--comedy and action sequences. More than anything, I was surprised at just how funny Star Trek was. What could have been a dry excursion into space mythology and exploding planets is saved by a humorous script and an exquisite ensemble with nary a weak link in sight. I was most impressed by the extremely charismatic Chris Pine's ability to handle a lot more than just looking pretty, especially his comedic chops during the scene where he keeps on getting stabbed by Karl Urban's needle. Who knew that deep inside the beautiful creature is a comedic hoofer buried deep inside there? I also need to give props to Anton Yelchin, whose accent, at first, sounded completely ridiculous and over the top but, by the time he started running through the spaceship screaming, "I can do it! I can do it!" I was completely in love with that ridiculousness.

Star Trek, in addition to being one of the lightest, funniest films of the year thusfar, is also a marvel of visual beauty. The action sequences, while maybe a bit too slavishly devoted to the Bourne style of editing, are exciting and invigorating without overtaking the whole movie. While I enjoyed the numerous scenes of exploding spaceships and planets being engulfed by black holes, often accompanied by Michael Giacchino's excellent, winking-at-the-audience, bombastic score, the best parts of the movie were the moments where the soundtrack completely cuts out for an extended period of time and all the audience has to rely on is their sense of sight. Most directors would be afraid to let up the deafening roar of guns and explosions for even a few precious seconds, Abrams takes a risk and lets the visuals tell the story (and that shouldn't even be a risk since, as you all know, film is a visual medium).

My only big problem with the movie was the fact that the whole "Spock as an old man" subplot made absolutely no sense. I couldn't have been the only one scratching my head at that nonsense...


Oh well, that shit was bananas. My friend tried to explain it to me but after awhile she gave up and I still have very little idea what happened. All I know is that it was even more confusing than the concept of Hannah Montana.

This gripe, however, is very minor in comparison to what the film gets right. Who knew that a summer blockbuster whose sole mission to entertain could actually be so entertaining? I never would have guessed it in a million years. And this brings me to one final point: why is this film any less of a "good" film than The Dark Knight? I've talked to a couple of people about the movie and, while they liked Star Trek, they didn't think it was as good as The Dark Knight or even a real piece of art since it wasn't about "serious" issues. First of all, comparing these two films is almost futile because, even though they are part of the same genre, their missions are completely different; it would be like comparing a silly Astaire & Rogers vehicle such as Top Hat to a Fosse musical like Cabaret or All That Jazz. Secondly, since when does a serious subject matter automatically make a film better? When did we start thinking like the Academy? I liked both of these films equally, but to suggest that The Dark Knight is worthy of "art" while Star Trek is ludicrous. Star Trek's main goal was to revive a dying franchise and entertain us with well choreographed action sequences and a lot of raillery. Goal accomplished, successful film, end of story. B

Stay Out Of It, Nick Lachey!

Nick Lachey is relevant again. Hooray?

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

I Think This Picture Says It All

Picture courtesy of this amazing list of 25 Reasons to Vote for Kris Allen Into the American Idol Finale (half of which include his beautiful face!) brought to my attention by partner in crime in Kris Allen-obsessing this season, the ever fabulous Nick. Put the GO in Gokey!

Speaking of that last bit, I finally started watching the Idolatry videos on yesterday and I am completely in love with Kristen Baldwin and her incomparable dry wit. Seriously, I would marry her if I ever got the chance.

American Idol Recap: Top 3 Edition

Theme: Judge's Choice, Finalist's Choice and...oh wait, that's it because the judges can't keep their fucking traps shut for long enough to even get through six songs in an hour. Seriously, how do they keep going past 9:00 every damn episode?

Really ecstatic

Kris Allen "Heartless" Just when I was ready to write Kris off after a decent first round performance and Gokey mugging his way through "You Are So Beautiful," proving what an "amazing" "vocalist" he is, he surprised everyone with by announcing that he was doing a Kanye West song. Readers, I'm not going to lie- I literally did the gay inhale at this point. The sheer audacity of the choice combined with the artistry and knack for turning the most random songs (ie She Works Hard for the Money, Remember the Time, Ain't No Sunshine) into material that works for him as an artist was enough to get me excited. With the level of depth and feeling he mined from a song that's currently one of the most robotic songs on the radio, Mr. Allen did not disappoint in the slightest and in fact improved upon the original. The greatest thing about this performance is that, for once, Kris has stolen the spotlight from the seemingly unstoppable train of publicity from one Glambert and gotten everyone in America talking about his performance (Hell, my friend who never even watches the show told me via Facebook this morning that she caught his performance and was so impressed she called and voted for him). This kind of buzz couldn't have come at a better time.

Paula Claps
Quite good

Kris Allen "Apologize" Not as amazing as it could have been, but the way the judges went on, you would have thought it was the most atrocious thing they had ever heard. I love (ie really, really detest) how the judges often criticize the singers for changing up the melody when it was strong enough to be sung straight through, but when Kris does just that, they tell him he should have changed it up. Still, A++ for effort (if the judges can use that as a critique, so can I!).

Dancing in My Seat
No one ever said it took much to get Paula on her feet

"Well, You Look Beautiful..."
It's never good when she starts with this

Adam Lambert "Cryin'" Clichéd and uninspiring. He did everything you would expect him to do with the song and consequently I was bored silly. Next.

Adam Lambert "One" When Simon picked this song out, did he have a brainfart and completely forget that Mary J. Blige did the ultimate cover of this song a couple of years ago (and even sang it with Elliot Yamin on the Season 5 Finale) or did he honestly think that Adam was ever going to match that genuine emotion MJB brought to it? This song was a complete failure on all fronts.

Danny Gokey "You Are So Beautiful" Seriously? Of all the songs in the universe you could ever pick, you go with this eternally dull and hopelessly old-fashioned choice? If this is any hint about what your first album is going to sound like, excuse me while I stick my head in an oven to escape the sound of feel-goody Christian bullshit and insipid romantic ballads. I think I'd rather listen to Eoghan Quigg's album (Haha, okay, maybe that was taking it a bit too far, but the point still stands).

Danny Gokey "Dance Little Sister" I was unfamiliar with Terence Trent D'Arby's version of this song, so I decided to YouTube it and I can honestly see where Paula was going with this choice (whoever said she was the weak link on the panel honestly needs to reappraise their standards- she is honestly the only decent judge left on the show). Unfortunately for her, Danny completely let her down--what else is new--and just mangled this song like a cat sharpening it's claws all over your brand new leather couch. D'Arby was able to use his growly voice and still keep the song light and airy; Gokey, on the other hand, just completely deflated any attempt at smoothness, especially with those epically bad "Do-do-do's" which lingered there like a bad aftertaste. If this fucker gets in the finals over Kris Allen, I seriously have no clue how I will react. It will either be an uncontrollable rage that lands me in jail or a coma-like trance that I won't emerge from for a long while.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

An Open Letter to Robert Pattinson

Dear Robert Pattinson,

I know we've had our disagreements in the past. I insulted your performance in Twilight any chance I could and even listed as one of the worst of the year. You have no reason to heed my advice since you obviously haven't listened before (you are still acting, right?) but please, for the love of God, listen now:

Get your fucking arm and bad breath-polluted tongue away from my beloved Anna Kendrick, you two-bit, artificial, personal hygiene-ignoring closet case.

She is a fucking Tony nominee (Best Featured Actress in a Musical, High Society, 1998) and Independent Spirit Award nominee (Best Supporting Actress, Rocket Science, 2007) and what have you done? Stared vacantly in a huge blockbuster, earned a legion of retard tweenage girls who don't mind that you don't take a shower and want you to bite them on the neck and an MTV Movie Award nomination for Breakthrough Male. You don't even belong in the same frame with this goddess, let alone touching her, so back the fuck up and go back to not washing your hair, your favorite pastime.

Dame James

Monday, May 11, 2009

My New Favorite Gays

This weekend I've been in a TV watching mood, so I decided to catch up on two shows that underwhelmed TV critics and audiences, too: NBC's Kings and Showtime's United States of Tara. After watching them, however, I'm afraid I have to disagree. I absolutely loved every minute of each of these shows (give or take some parts of the last two episodes of Kings). Their writing is top-notch, definitely not for everyone but exciting and richly rewarding if you give it the attention it deserves, and the acting on both shows is out-of-this-world ensemble work at its best. I could write at length about each of these shows, but right now I just want to focus on one character from each show: Prince Jack (Sebastian Stan) on Kings and Marshall (Keir Gilchrist) on Tara. Okay, so it's obvious and almost predictable that I'm latching right on to the moes, but the characters are so different from the usual bitchy gays we've become so accustomed to on TV that I was immediately fascinated/in love with them.

Let's start with Marshall, the youngest member of the clan on the Diablo Cody-written United States of Tara. Played by Keir Gilchrist, Marshall is your classic sitcom outcast, the "oddball" of the family who would rather watch Pandora's Box or dress in a sportcoat and tie for school everyday (seriously, though, can I have his wardrobe?) than be trendy and hip. In typical Diablo Cody fashion, his best friend/fag hag is a quirky intellectual girl who wears long, frumpy dresses and horn-rimmed glasses while discussing the difference a From Here to Eternity kiss and a Place in the Sun kiss. But Marshall is also easy to love and, in my case, entirely relatable. Take out the mother with multiple personalities and closeted love interest and you basically have me in high school (and now, actually). It's all thanks to Gilchrist's performance that Marshall feels so fresh, unique and plausibly real (On a side note, can we please get Gilchrist and sister Brie Larson Emmy nominations?).

On the other end of the spectrum we have Prince Jack on
Kings, played by Rants of a Diva favorite Leighton Meester's man Sebastian Stan (you may recognize him from Gossip Girl as the man Blair slept with earlier in the season to get revenge on Chuck for whatever reason). The show doesn't focus on the Prince's homosexuality even half as much as Marshall's (and that's pretty minor as it is) but he's still an interesting bad guy. I don't know if I've ever shared this, but I love a gay villain. Yes, I don't care what the old queen gay activists think, I love it when gay characters are mean, vindictive, sociopathic and/or willing to do whatever it takes to exact their revenge on those who have done them wrong. I find them infinitely more interesting than your standard queen. So, needless to say, I love the flashes of evil that flash from Stan's Prince Jack. Actually, it looks like he has been taking lessons from Meester on how to be so awesomely manipulative that the audience actually roots for you. I know I was, especially during the final episode when he's trying to screw over David, the war hero and his father's new favorite. Oh, and let's not forget Prince Jack's daddy issues or the fact that his father knows about his not-so-discreet liaisons with other men and thinks he's an abomination. Poor Prince Jack, he just can't catch a break, can he?

Friday, May 8, 2009

2008 Diva Cup Awards: The Extra Categories

Best Ensemble
Burn After Reading

George Clooney, Richard Jenkins, John Malkovich, Brad Pitt, Frances McDormand, J.K. Simmons, Tilda Swinton

A Christmas Tale
Mathieu Amalric, Emile Berling, Laurent Capelluto, Anne Consigny, Catherine Deneuve, Emmanuelle Devos, Chiara Mastroianni, Melvil Poupaud, Jean-Paul Roussillon

Josh Brolin, Joseph Cross, Victor Garber, James Franco, Emile Hirsch, Denis O'Hare, Sean Penn, Alison Pill

Rachel Getting Married
Rosemarie DeWitt, Anisa George, Anne Hathaway, Bill Irwin, Anna Deavere Smith, Debra Winger, Mather Zickel

Henrik Elvestad, Espen Klouman-Hoiner, Anders Danielson Lie, Christian Rubeck, Viktoria Winge

If Only There Were Six: Happy-Go-Lucky

And the Diva Cup Goes to: A Christmas Tale

Best Scene

Boy A
The Nightclub
From the moment the first chords of Robyn's searing, perfectly-chosen-for-the-moment song "With Every Heartbeat" roars over the soundtrack, the nightclub scene is one of the most fascinating scenes of the year. The highlight of this scene, however, is the above clip of star Andrew Garfield, high on ecstasy, doing the most awkward/mesmerizing dance ever captured on film. I'm not exactly sure what it is about this moment that has made me watch it over 10 times, but whatever it is, it's golden.

Burn After Reading
Has Brad Pitt ever been this at ease and interesting on-screen? I don't think so.

Subway Tunnel
This scene terrified me so much that I couldn't even re-watch the clip to make sure it was the right one. Someone please let me know if it's the wrong one.

Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist
The Toilet
I wanted to gag and laugh hysterically simultaneously.

Dancing in the Stars
I hate to use over-the-top hyperbole, but this is the most romantic scene I've ever seen since the finale of City Lights. Simply beautiful.

If Only There Were Six: The Dark Knight: "Why So Serious?"

And the Diva Cup Goes to: WALL-E

Best Musical Scene

Les Chanson d'Amour

"J'ai cru entendre"
The number is quick and gets straight to the point, but it's magical; the romance between Louis & Grégoire is the best thing about this movie.

Hamlet 2
"Rock Me Sexy Jesus"
Not quite as funny as it thinks it is, but I must admit that the whole "Jesus comes back as a huge celebrity" theme of the number is interesting to ponder.

High School Musical 3: Senior Year
"High School Musical"
The song is really nothing special, especially compared to the original's epic closer ("We're All in This Together" in case you've forgotten) but the scene is a killer. It's totally manipulative but every time I see their outstretched arms as the curtain falls down or their final bow, I just turn into a complete mess. What a perfect way to say goodbye to our Wildcats!

High School Musical 3: Senior Year
"I Want It All"
Oretga and company throws everything including the kitchen sink into this number and it turned out orgasmically. The colors! The sets! The music! The performances from La Tisdale and Lucas! There is not one weak link in this entire number.

High School Musical 3: Senior Year
The storm of falling basketballs is a bit dubious, but the scene quickly builds up to Efron's should-be iconic jump of the staircase. Simply magical.

If Only There Were Six:
Mamma Mia!: "Does Your Mother Know"

And the Diva Cup Goes to: High School Musical 3: Senior Year ("I Want It All")

Best Quote/Line Reading

Everytime I look in the rear view mirror, this oddly charming chant pops into my head. Thank you, Scott, for teaching me the safest way to drive.

The House Bunny
"The eyes are the nipples of the face."
Any of Faris's line readings were golden (I especially loved anytime she added the word "sexy" to something like "pants" or "car wash") but this one had me craking up the hardest.

Role Models
"No, venti is twenty. Large is large. In fact, tall is large and grande is Spanish for large: venti is the only one that doesn't mean large. It's also the only one that's Italian. Congratulations! You're stupid in three languages."
Paul Rudd at his assholian best.

Savage Grace
"You are truly disgusting, you and your Spanish cunt. I am SPEAKING of a CUNT half your age."
Only Julianne Moore could deliver a line like this and not have it become a complete trainwreck. Just golden.

Tropic Thunder
"I don't read the script. The script reads me."
In a movie full of WTF funny moments, this is probably the biggest headscratcher.

If Only There Were Six: Role Models: "Me and the judge have a special relationship. I don't wanna get too graphic but I used to suck his dick for drugs."

And the Diva Cup Goes to: Happy-Go-Lucky

Breakthrough Performance

Emile Berling
A Christmas Tale
Manages to hold his own against Catherine Deneuve, Mathieu Amalric and Anne Consigny throughout the course of this movie. And yet he still doesn't even have a birthdate on his IMDb page. What does an actor have to do these days to get some respect?

Ari Graynor
Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist
Who said young, pretty blondes can't be funny? Graynor has one joke to go on in Nick and Norah, but I'll be damned if she doesn't ride that joke for all it's worth. If I were an actor, I would be leery to accept a comedic drunk part because Graynor has set the bar impossibly high.

David Kross
The Reader
I don't quite buy him as a sex symbol, but I will admit that this performance showed tremendous amounts of potential in the acting field. I can't wait to see what he decides to show us next.

Grégoire Leprince-Ringuet
Les Chansons d'Amour
Adorable, slightly stalkerish instantly lovable and, quite honestly, the most alive person on the cast. By the end of the movie, we are loving him just as much as Louis Garrel is.

Trevor Wright
What I appreciated the most about Wright's performance in Shelter (aka the "gay surfer movie") was that he didn't turn his character into a "type" we were automatically familiar with. In other words, I felt like I connected with his lower-class background more than I did with his homosexuality, and you know most actors wouldn't have done that.

If Only There Were Six: Mather Zickel, Rachel Getting Married

And the Diva Cup Goes to: Ari Graynor, Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist

Best Diva

Christine Baranski
Mamma Mia!
Diva Moment: The "Does Your Mother Know" musical number. Baranski rips into that like the over-the-top goddess she is.

Penélope Cruz
Vicky Cristina Barcelona
Diva Moment: Do I really have to choose one? Oh dear, how about her verbal assault on ScarJo during her first breakfast out of the hospital.

Catherine Deneuve
A Christmas Tale
Diva Moment: That moment in the backyard with Mathieu Amalric where they, laughingly yet seriously, admit they don't like each other.

Heath Ledger
The Dark Knight
Diva Moment: Performing that "magic trick," just because he can.

Ashley Tisdale
High School Musical 3: Senior Year
Diva Moment: Descending from the ceiling to reclaim her version of "A Night to Remember" from that British cunt who stole it from her.

If Only There Were Six: Ana Torrent, The Other Boleyn Girl

And the Diva Cup Goes to: Penélope Cruz, Vicky Cristina Barcelona

Best Sexpot

Penélope Cruz
Vicky Cristina Barcelona
Hottest Scene: If I was straight, I would say the makeout session with ScarJo, but, since I'm not, I'll go with that moment of her leaning against the wall, cigarette in mouth, posing for ScarJo's camera.

Zac Efron
High School Musical 3: Senior Year
Hottest Scene: The opening shot of Zac, staring straight at the camera, dripping with sweat and panting like he's just had an orgasm. Yes please.

Hugh Jackman
Hottest Scene: Pouring water over his hot, sticky, shirtless torso while Nicole Kidman looks on. Does anything else even compare?

Mitch Reinholt
American Teen
Hottest Scene: His first date with Hannah: he's so playful and adorable it kills me.

Marisa Tomei
The Wrestler
Hottest Scene: I think a better question to ask would be which of her scenes aren't hot. And I think the answer to that would be none.

If Only There Were Six: Amy Adams, Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day

And the Diva Cup Goes to: Hugh Jackman, Australia

Best Cameo/Limited Performance
Karina Fernandez
HILARIOUS! Mines more comedic depth in three minutes than most people did in entire movies.

Anna Kendrick

It wasn't until I saw Kendrick on-screen that the character of Jessica truly made sense to me. Why oh why is the gifted comedienne slumming it in third tier parts underneath Robert Pattinson? Can someone write her a role please?

Lena Olin

The Reader
Intellectually kicks so much ass she makes what Batman and Iron Man did in their respective summer blockbusters look like kids stuff. Still the best damn performance in the entire film.

J.K. Simmons

Burn After Reading
Impossibly drole and dark in that Coen Brothers, straight-faced way we've all come to expect and love.

Kaira Whitehead

Tyler Perry's The Family That Preys
We only see glimpses of her as Cole Hauser's secretary, but she nails the one-liner she is given so much that she ends up one of the highlights of the entire film.

If Only There Were Six: Elisabeth Shue,
Hamlet 2

And the Diva Cup Goes to: Karina Fernandez, Happy-Go-Lucky

Best Poster The Dark Knight
The only reason I was actually excited for The Dark Knight was because of it's ingenious marketing campaign and this poster was one of the many beautiful ones to emerge.

Funny Games U.S.

One of the most beautiful images I've ever seen on a poster. Had me hooked into this movie straight from the get-go

The House Bunny
I'm still laughing at that stupid look on Anna Faris's face!

Prom Night
Shit movie, but that image is pretty kick ass.

The Wrestler
Interesting choice of photo and that "Witness the resurrection of Mickey Rourke..." quote is just as infamous as the film itself.

If Only There Were Six: Australia

And the Diva Cup Goes to: Funny Games U.S.