Monday, May 28, 2012

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Style Sunday (+ Cannes Wrap Up)

After that liquid gold Dolce & Gabbana Kylie wore for the premiere of Holy Motors I was sure she'd blow my mind forever and ever. Albeit beautiful, this Roberto Cavalli is a bit underwhelming in terms of Cannes-ity. She does look stunning but the loose hair is a bit meh.

Oh my beloved Diane Kruger. Can we all agree that I should stop profiling other women on this column and just focus on whatever she is up to. She was the picture of fashion forward, orgasmic sartorial taste in this stunning Christian Dior ball gown. The plaid made me think it was McQueen at first but they haven't done any of this in quite a while and Jesus, those lace appliqués are a thing of pure beauty.

Also while we're at this, head over to The Film Experience and read my Cannes wrap up.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Isn't She Lovely?

God, I love Kylie Minogue. There she is lighting up the Cannes Film Festival red carpet as she promotes her new movie. Sigh. I discuss her and other awesome ladies over at The Film Experience's red carpet lineup.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

The Great Bazy

Visit The Film Experience where I discuss the sure to be controversial trailer for The Great Gatsby. Kanye and Fitzgerald! How dare he?

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Style Sunday.

To promote their new movie together, the lovely Charlize Theron and the obnoxious - but undeniably pretty - Kristen Stewart went for similar looks. Theron is a vision, as usual, in a form fitting Dior Haute Couture dress that gives her flowy movement while highlighting her beauty.

Stewart, who usually pops up in miniskirts, leather jackets or an assortment of gowns that make her look more disgusted than stylish, delivers her all time greatest look in this illusion-style Marchesa. The house's extravagant designs should've drowned the starlet, but she actually looks stunning.

Do you think they decided to wear similar dresses on purpose?

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Boschian Masterpiece.

Are y'all finally watching Adventure Time? The fourth season might be the most dazzling yet. Andrew was mentioning recently how few shows manage to actually improve their comedy with age, he brought up 30 Rock, which I totally agree with, yet in terms of artistry and profundity, nothing out there compares to Pendleton Ward's creation.


(Very) Short Take: "Haywire", "American Reunion" and "The Vow".

Time and time again, Steven Soderbergh should be commended for being perhaps the only mainstream American director who refuses to stop experimenting with the medium. Not all of his experiments are successful but it's his willingness to keep trying that makes him such a valuable filmmaker, for example see Haywire, by hiring MMA star Gina Carano to play the lead in a movie about a female spy, instantly recalls his The Girlfriend Experience in which he hired a porn star to play an escort. To say that none of the ladies were outstanding actresses would be to say too little, but what Soderbergh achieves is to concoct a movie that feels like a documentary combined with exaggerated fiction. Sure, Carano doesn't hold a candle to the effortless way in which Michael Fassbender or Ewan McGregor move onscreen (Channing Tatum gets no such defense) but watching her fight stock actors has the urgency that matches any of their greatest performances. Other Soderbergh flourishes like stopping the score when there's a fight make for a unique experience that sadly doesn't become more than an exciting experiment.  

American Reunion is nothing more than a sad reminder that the more things change the more they stay the same. The entire gang is back (including Mena Suvari!) for their high school reunion and they have silly realizations like how "first loves are forever", "home is where the heart is" etc.
The thing that remains constant is that the film seems to gloat in the fact that these men-children refuse to grow up and celebrates them for it. The notorious Stifler (Seann William Scott) becoming nothing more than a clown who holds any inkling of a grown up life to be completely contemptible. Sure, adult life may not be all fun and games, but there is a larger problem at bay when a movie character is loved because he chooses to exist in complete denial. The movie therefore is never funny or touching - in the way the original was - instead it becomes somewhat of a horror film that like Carrie reminds us that high school can seriously mess up some people.

Pretty people having love problems has become the staple of all Nicholas Sparks movie adaptations...oh wait, what? This isn't based on a Nicholas Sparks book? Could've fooled anyone. This was a much, much better movie when it was called 50 First Dates.

Grades
Haywire **½
The Vow **
American Reunion *

Sheet-y Saturday.

Where we take a look at posters for upcoming features.

Few things worry as much as listening to something being compared to The King's Speech and this movie about FDR has been getting such notices. It's easy to assume then that it's going for complete "let's win Oscars and make middlebrow people weep" intentions to which I say fuck this!
However we haven't even seen the movie yet and Bill Murray is a fantastic actor. The poster does scream Speech a bit, but I'm truly loving Laura Linney in it, am I the only one getting a totally Kristen Wiig as Gilly vibe from her gesture?

Most Bond teasers look the same and to that I say, some things should never be messed with.

Are you tired of the same 007 concepts time after time or would you like the franchise to start trying new things?

Thursday, May 17, 2012

The Lucky One **

Read my review for The Lucky One by clicking here.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

THE May Shower.

Earlier this week I began reading Stephen Robello's Alfred Hitchcock and the Making of 'Psycho' which is being turned into a motion picture. Needless to say how excited I am about this movie, today we got our first look at ScarJo as Janet Leigh. Y'all know I'm obsessed with actresses and as much as I loved Tony Hopkins as Hitch, it was ScarJo in full costume that truly got me freaked out. Will she win the Oscar Janet was robbed of in 1960? 

Friday, May 11, 2012

Head over to PopMatters and read my review for the outstanding David Lean Directs Noel Coward.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Head over to PopMatters and read my review for A Night to Remember.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Spotlight.

I have always wondered why The Exorcist has never terrified me. I have seen it on several occasions, under several states - more often than not alone in the middle of the night - and it has never spooked me, not even in that "boo" way some stupid films always do. I have come to realize the reason of this is because The Exorcist isn't really a horror movie, at least not in the sense it thinks it is. The movie is not about demons and possessions, it's about a different kind of devil: Hollywood.

Why does the possession have to happen to the daughter of a movie star? Chris MacNeil as played by Ellen Burstyn is the epitome of a Hollywood personality; liberal, a non-believer, dedicated to her craft. Why does the possession happen to her daughter and not a secretary's or a doctor's?
Perhaps the idea was precisely to highlight why things like these happen to non-believers but instead what the movie highlights is the idea of spectacle as seen through demonic possessions or movies.


Could there be any other reason why the movie's most iconic shot, feels so much like a staged entrance?


One of the earliest scenes in the film even anticipates this moment, as we see the spotlights being prepared for the movie Chris is working on.

Later, as the exorcism proceeds, we see the young girl floating while the terrified priests try to help her. The idea that both devils and Hollywood crews can make people fly is presented to us during an earlier scene where we see Chris discussing the movie, while in the background a crate is pushed around. Element which later might be used to lift actress Linda Blair from her bed.


Notice how the crate lingers in the back, not even the characters seem to notice its presence, a prescient reminder that the magic of movies isn't supposed to be obvious. All of this leads us to my favorite shot in the movie:

A shot, so cinematic that it begs to be seen more than once. Here the movie becomes aware of its own movie-ness, since we're the only ones who see this creepy face flash in Chris' house and if a demon's face was to flash behind our backs, who would get scared? The movie reveals it's not about the characters' interests but about the audience's. Burstyn has her best damsel in distress look and the demonic face appears for a mere instant, reminding us that regardless of our religious beliefs, the movies have always had the possibility to thrill us in unison.

This post is part of Nat's "Hit Me With Your Best Shot" series.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Style Sunday.

They just grow so fast. Sobs.
Chloë Grace Moretz was a toddler just yesterday and now she's looking all sorts of gorgeous while wearing Dolce & Gabbana. This simple dress reminds me of the one worn by Madge in her Love Profusion video and that is never ever a bad thing.

ScarJo has been mixing a lot of patterns lately and only as someone as beautiful as her can do, she always manages to look stunning. This time around she showed up in Preen to receive her Walk of Fame star. Paired with a simple hairdo and sexy toe peeps, she is a pin-up gone wow.

Are you feeling all the prints and patterns this week?

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

The Avengers **½

Director: Joss Whedon
Cast: Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth
Samuel L. Jackson, Mark Ruffalo, Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner
Tom Hiddleston, Clark Gregg, Cobie Smulders
Stellan Skarsgård, Gwyneth Paltrow

The Avengers feels like a success because its very existence seems to be fulfilling a promise made to us with the advent of comic book movies: that one day we would get to see an epic popcorn flick in which all our favorite superheroes would get to have some fun together.
What once was thought to be impossible due to technology, budget and other factors, has finally become a reality and the result is disappointing because in the process, the film has become the equivalent of opening gifts as grown ups on Christmas morning: the magic has all but vanished.
The first part of the movie, consists of the "let's put on a show" plot that was much better used in last year's The Muppets, since the faces involved are all familiar (or at least they should given that this movie has no less than six prequels) all the audience is expecting to see is what they will do together.
The film however takes its time setting up the stage as we see Thor (Hemsworth) come back to Earth to stop his psychotic brother Loki (Hiddleston) from invading it. Joining the Norse god are brilliant playboy/Iron-Man (Downey Jr.), the slightly passive aggressive Bruce Banner (Ruffalo) whose Hulk is on almost permanent sleep, the thawed Captain America (Evans), the sexy agent known as Black Widow (Johansson) and ace archer Hawkeye (Renner), all led by agent extraordinaire Nick Fury (Jackson who seems to be more alive than in any movie he's made in at least a decade).
The entire film revolves around this group of heroes kicking Loki's ass and preventing imminent destruction at the hand of weird aliens who ride intergalactic mopeds and use fish like spaceships to wreak havoc on New York City (because where else do space invasions begin?).
The film often lies at a very awkward spot because its execution is often marred by the Whedonisms being repressed by the very epicness of it all. Whedon is an extraordinary director who has no trouble alternating and even normalizing the relationship between fantasy and "real life". Some of his greatest creations combine vampires, space cowboys and clones with a deep sense of longing, melancholy and geek humor.
His persona shines during some key moments in the film, mostly through, who would've guessed it, Thor and Captain America, the two towering men whose latent humanity shines through under Whedon's sensitive directing.
The Avengers thrives on its all-star ensemble but the running time (already excessive) doesn't give us enough time to delight ourselves with our favorite characters, unlike the Ocean's Eleven movies this one doesn't know how and when to use its assets best. It tries to be fair, when it should've been selfish in its purposes. As much as Downey Jr. shines as Stark, his smugness can get too grating, especially when Whedon is making Hemsworth and Evans act! 
It's a shame that the director never really knows what to do with the larger setpieces, because he has proven time and time again just how great he is at action sequences (remember the sense of Indiana Jones-like adventure he infused in the whole of Serenity?) The Avengers overflows with moments of almost-greatness that feel abrupt, as if Whedon wanted to jump but remembered he might break a bone upon landing.
The movie is unarguably efficient in its coherence, but it's almost too coherent, when it could have been playful, thrilling. Instead of inspiring us to want and turn the page to see what's next, more often than not we end up wondering if something fun will ever happen. Comic book movies are often a double edged sword because those who concentrate on the profoundness contained in the post-war plight for salvation are never really "fun" (any Batman movie under Nolan), and those that concentrate on thrills leave audiences feeling empty and self indulgent (any Spider-Man under Raimi).
Perhaps to concentrate too much on this would lead to an exploration of why comic books even matter and by the end we'd have lost all notion of the product known as The Avengers, which despite Whedon's attempts, misfires more than it succeeds and reminds us that the whole sometimes is lesser than the sum of its parts.

The Anti-Auteur?

Head over to The Film Experience where I wonder about the unfairness shown to poor Stephen Daldry.