Saturday, July 31, 2010

Sheet-y Saturday.

Where we take a look at posters for upcoming features.

The teaser was already a bit disappointing (with the whole I want to be Shrek vibe) and now is it just me or does the poster for Tangled seem completely icky?
All that hair! That conspicuous opening! It would've been a more appropriate poster for something like Teeth maybe...

Thanks to this magnificent new poster for Never Let Me Go I am now desperate to read the novel (best of the decade! according to the elegant quote from Time magazine)
Movie posters usually go one of two ways lately: creating specific concepts or terrible Photoshopping.
Rarely do we get movie stills as part of the campaign (I'm assuming this is a movie still by the way) and this one in particular has so much to say!
The beauty of the moment captured is that we don't know whether the characters are running to something or from something.
When to that you add the refreshingly odd sense of nostalgia brought by the peer and that genius stroke of typography genius in the "go" and we have something that promises more than I'd expected.
Will it deliver?

Seen anything good at your theater lobbies lately?

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Stronger Than Yesterday.

I promise I will try to resume normal posting as soon as possible. With actual work, traffic jams, exhaustion, existential issues and whatnot, I've barely had time to sit and watch a movie lately!
I know...
For now I present you with a still from the upcoming Country Strong, already being touted as the female version of Crazy Heart (which as you know I disliked) I'm excited about it if only because well Gwyneth Paltrow is getting some stellar buzz for it.
I can't wait to see her back in the awards game, considering she's only actually been in it once! Although she should've at least garnered some buzz for The Royal Tenenbaums, The Talented Mr. Ripley, Proof and the vastly underrated Sylvia...
But OK it seems my bias is coming out too strongly at this hour, I better go catch some sleep and write my butt off during the weekend.
Seen any good movies while I've been AWOL?

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Triage **

Director: Danis Tanovic
Cast: Colin Farrell, Jamie Sives, Paz Vega
Kelly Reilly Branko Djuric, Juliet Stevenson, Christopher Lee

Sticking to the kind of austere-by-way-of-beautiful aesthetic he explored in No Man's Land, Denis Tanovic once again examines the chaotic nature of war in Triage.
Colin Farrell plays Mark Walsh, a journalistic photographer who comes home from Kurdistan with scars and no recollection of what happened to his best friend David (Sives).
Not knowing what to do, his wife (Vega) sends for her estranged grandfather (Lee), a prominent psychoanalyst who slowly begins to get to the mystery of what happened to Mark.
With little consideration for nuance, Tanovic constructs a story of such archaic proportions that you don't need to know much about storytelling devices to know where it's going.
Farrell's character, being the center of the film and all, never sees himself fully realized and by the time we get to the big breakthrough, Tanovic had made sure the events unfold in pure soap opera style.
What gives Triage somewhat of a spirit are the little details that escape the main plot's constriction; Reilly for instance is divine as David's very pregnant wife, filling her character with the sort of life everyone else in the film seems obsessed with ignoring.
Her relation to the void left by her husband at the beginning of the movie and Mark's need to call death upon himself could very well recall some derivation of the Apollonian versus Dionysian spirit.
But other than Reilly, none of the actors ever truly evoke something that feels real. When not even the astonishing Christopher Lee is capable of moving something in you, whether intellectual or emotional, you know what kind of movie you're in for.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Shrek Forever After **

Director: Mike Mitchell
Cast: Mike Myers, Cameron Diaz, Antonio Banderas, Eddie Murphy
Jon Hamm, Julie Andrews, John Cleese

The best thing that can be said about the seeming last installment in the Shrek series is that nothing in it is cringe worthy.
More of an excuse to get cash out of children and their unwilling parents, than an actual movie, this chapter concentrates on Shrek's midlife crisis.
Despite having a perfect life, a loving wife, babies and loving friends he misses the days when he was just an ogre having fun and wreaking havoc.
The major issue with the film is that, well so do us.
After the refreshing experience that was the first one almost a decade ago, each subsequent film has been a painful pastiche of pop culture references, annoying scatological jokes and a ridiculous attempt to make fun of Disney movies while choosing to respect their parameters and actually accommodating to them.
In this one, when Shrek gets offered a whole day of old fashioned goodness by the conniving Rumpelstiltskin and while he injects the movie with the kind of madcap hilarity last seen in the original movie, nothing in this one justifies its existence.
Shrek discovers that the alternate universe he's in just makes him want to have his old life back and while trying to seduce Fiona all over again and trying to befriend Donkey for the first time only makes it obvious that those of us looking for great entertainment would be better off watching the DVD of the first movie.

As Much as the Emmys Got it Right This Year...

...these two ladies should've bee shoe-ins for their astonishing supporting work in Nurse Jackie.

Anyone else agree?

Sheet-y Saturday.

Where we take a look at posters for upcoming features.

James Franco plays Allen Ginsberg and we get a glimpse of greatness in the retro first poster for the film.
The part with Franco in full beatnik mode is terrific, gotta love the boldness of the yellow and his intense look but the part on top featuring Jon Hamm feels a bit too pedestrian. Hamm is truly awesome but I can't help thinking what the hell is Don Draper doing on top of Allen Ginsberg?

This is a poster for a movie called Vampires Suck, we obviously won't get into how awful it is.
I just wanted to point out how wrong they got it with the girl playing Kristin Stewart. We all know Stewart can't gasp! She only has one expression.

The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets' Nest might be the lesser entry in the Millennium trilogy but this poster truly encompasses how badass Lisbeth Salander truly is.
The intense mohawk, the severe expression...and the cigarette! I'm astounded an American poster will feature smoking.

What's your take on these?

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

You Don't Say...

"It's a were thing...we run hot."

Penny, Penny Married Lady.

Sometime within the past two weeks Penélope Cruz and Javier Bardem got on a plane to the Bahamas, called their close friends and family and tied the knot.
As much as I would've enjoyed being there (I blame the third world mail for probably losing my invitation) I'm sure Pe will understand I've been pretty busy these past few weeks.
Congratulations to the dynamic duo who no wonder will now spend their days making babies (or practicing to get good at it) and Oscars.

Speaking of Oscar, are they the only prominent married couple with his and hers AMPAS hardware?

Read the story at Movieline.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Crush of the Week.

After a great turn in the canceled Ugly Betty, this luscious Kiwi has been invading my TV in both new seasons of True Blood and Satisfaction.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Wet Estella.

You know what movie I love? Well obviously judging from the picture the question is nothing if not redundant.
Great Expectations was one of my favorite movies growing up; yes, I was allowed to watch movies with naked women, sex scenes and insane Anne Bancrofts as a child.
And I got to thinking today how long ago I haven't seen something as romantic and literally fucked up as this one is. I had been planning to take in a new movie and actually post a review but I think all of you will forgive me for being so tired from work and wanting nothing else but to lie on my bed, throw a big blanket on top and have a warm cup of tea while it rains outside.
I promise I will make worthier posts in the week to come.

What would you be watching on a rainy night?

I'm Off to Watch Some Football.

Let Shakira entertain you while I return...

Style Sunday.

The luminous Gwyneth Paltrow steals the show at the Valentino archives' launch in France.
The Oscar winner chose a pale vintage design by Garavani and with a simple hair and makeup looks utterly angelical.

Whatever Marion Cotillard is eating, she definitely should sell to the rest of the world.
How she manages to look, fresh, casual and so elegant all the time is a mystery to me.
At the London premiere of Inception, the gorgeous actress donned a Thakoon, asymmetrical dress with a retro print.
Most women would've made this look like a sad attempt at hippie chic but Marion knows what she's doing.

I miss Jennifer Garner.
She's one of my favorite actresses (so undervalued after Alias was over...) so every time I see her somewhere my heart skips a beat.
This isn't owed to my eternal devotion to her but also by her beauty. For the opening of the Greenwich Casinos, the lovely Mrs. Affleck went for a violet Alberta Ferretti gown with a bare shoulder.
Notice how her simple hair seems to flow with the dress' lovely draping and the color compliments her pale skin. While the clutch looks divine, it's her thin bracelet which really puts a glorious touch to the whole look. She's a Greek goddess.

What do you think?
See anyone else look like a million bucks this week?

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Sheet-y Saturday.

Where we take a look at posters for upcoming features.

James Cameron is a real sweet guy.
Despite the fact that Avatar made a trillion dollars when it was released last year, he knows there's people who didn't get to see it (like my roommate) or some who just want to relive the experience all over again (it was truly worth it as a moviegoing trip).
Of course Cameron wants to give us even more so he's added extra footage.
Avatar will be re-released on cinemas in August, in obvious preparation for the humongous DVD set coming later during the year.

This poster is unremarkable and pretty standard.
But just how lovely is Patricia Clarkson?

What do you think about getting more Avatar or would you skip it to watch Patty?

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Looks Promising!

...but then again the Woodsman always does.

Monday, July 5, 2010

How Come?

I always had the strange idea that Paul Muni was German?
Whatever his nationality, he's phenomenal in I Am a Fugitive from a Chain Gang isn't he?

Crush of the Week.

He lays concrete.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

"I don't want your absolution, I want to know the truth."

Style Sunday.

I can't stand Kristen Stewart but damn does she look great in this RM by Roland Mouret sequined minidress.
Stewart has remained as uncreative as ever and has hot every red carpet, TV show and premiere of the new Twilight in short dresses (in either black or white) with high heels.
Yet this is the one look that has transcended, given how she even looks *gasp* comfortable!

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Sheet-y Saturday.

Where we took a look at posters for upcoming features.

Today we get a double dose of the Woodsman as the posters for You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger arrive.

The American version has a quirky, lovely fortuneteller vibe and keeps a simple theme that makes you want to know more about what the movie's about.
The concept here works much more than it did the last time Allen used cards in a movie.

Now the Spanish version is a seductive, sexy take on the silhouettes being used lately in Mad Men.
The color combination is simple and evokes ying-yang and Marilyn Monroe. While the first version has a more romantic appeal, this one isn't afraid to turn us on.
Of course both are done in the sort of impeccable style we hadn't seen from a Woody poster in quite a while.

Sexy or romantic, which do you prefer?

Friday, July 2, 2010

Donde duerme el horror *

Director: Adrián García Bogliano, Ramiro García Bogliano
Cast: David Rivera, José Castro, Michael Dionisio Morales
María Orozco, Gustavo Rojas, Ricardo Rodríguez Otoya
Rosibel Carvajal, Rocío Carranza, Haymo Henry Heyder

The real horror in this film lies in the fact that once it's over and the credits start rolling it dares to say it was partly inspired by Joseph Conrad.
If, like some of the characters in the film, Mr. Conrad could come back from the grave he surely would if only to keep his name out of this.
This film claims to be based on Conrad's The Inn of the Two Witches but it also says it's based on The Monkey's Paw by W.W. Jacobs and here's where one of the film's numerous troubles begin.
The writers not only adapted these tales but inserted them into a preposterous plot involving heists, bungee jumping, gulf war veterans gone mad and an array of ridiculous twists that not only fail to muster horror but also interest from the viewer.
The film begins when a band of thieves Mirlo (Rivera), Buho (Morales) and Aguila (Castro) rob and kill a man, not before they are cursed by a maid who ominously proclaims they will never live to enjoy the money they stole. That she does this while purposely showing her breasts is something that fails to make sense at any level, except int he fact that it fulfills the filmmakers love for any gratuitous sex they can get.
The criminals flee to a jungle hotel where some more supernatural shenanigans are going on. Hotel owner Miguel (Rojas) receives a cursed monkey paw from deranged Gulf War veteran (Heyder) who's more Colonel Sanders than former army member, who proclaims it will grat its owner three wishes.
Of course he fails to mention that in order to fulfill those wishes, tragedy will obviously ensue and as if the filmmakers were unsure of their ability to hook an audience with one good storyline, they get these two and use them as incoherent back up plans for each other.
While this could've had the charm of a Twilight Zone potpourri its inefficiency and dullness make it a total snooze fest in which the filmmakers find themselves trying to fulfill every single cliché from the bad horror movie canon.
It's a mystery how the people behind this movie were unable to even make this an enjoyable campfest, because the sequences are so exhausting and senseless that in the end it won't be horror taking a nap but the entire audience.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Sex and the City 2 ***

Director: Michael Patrick King
Cast: Sarah Jessica Parker, Kim Cattrall, Kristin Davis, Cynthia Nixon
Chris Noth, David Eigenberg, Evan Handler, Willie Garson
Mario Cantone, Max Ryan, Lynn Cohen, Jason Lewis
Alice Eve, Noah Mills, Raza Jaffrey, John Corbett

"Beyond here there be fashion" should warn a sign at the beginning of Sex and the City 2; like the ancient maps warning sailors about the perils involving dragons, it seems that almost every "traditional" heterosexual man fears fashion with the same irrational angst of their ancestors.
Once they made it through the labyrinth of Dior, Vuitton and Manolos, they would be surprised to find a sensitive film that taps on the fears, anxieties and hopes of the women they love.
Because regardless of the excess, apparent frivolity and more slapstick infused nature of this installment, Sex is still about the magical friendship of its four leads.
This time around Carrie (Parker) is going into the terrible twos with her husband Mr. Big (Noth). He wants to sit on the couch and watch TV, she's desperate for nights out on the town and escaping the boring married couple curse.
Samantha (Cattrall) is trying to go through menopause with as much dignity as she can muster while trying to see if she's still got it (she seduces stud Noah Mills using her amazing one liners).
Miranda (Nixon) comes to realize that work might just not be all there is to life while Charlotte (Davis) begins to sink under the pressures of motherhood.
Just as the women are about to be trampled under the harshness of reality, an opportunity comes up for them to escape when Samantha invites them to come with her to Abu Dhabi, all expenses paid.
Once in the Middle East we follow their adventures which rage from enigmatic trips to little markets, camel rides, karaoke singing, running into old flames (Corbett's Aidan for Carrie this time) and also the realization that rules and traditions are practically impossible to understand looking from the outside in.
To enjoy this movie fully one must understand that it's not meant to be taken as a factual "this is how things are" deal. Sex and the City 2 is a delightful throwback to the films audiences flocked to during the Great Depression and WWII.
Escapist fare overflowing glamour, sparkle and the kind of excess people only could look up to. In the style of Greta Garbo, the women are dressed head to toe in exquisite clothes (courtesy of genius costume designer Patricia Field).
Like Bob Hope and Bing Crosby in Road to Morocco they take on the exotic locale with the selfish anxiety Americans tend to show in foreign places.
And just like Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz they're also completely conscious that this is a land of dreams that soon will prove it has its dark sides as well. It's no coincidence that Carrie utters delighted "Toto I have a feeling we're not in Kansas anymore" the minute they walk into the luxurious Middle Eastern hotel.
Just like no one chided Dorothy for taking advantage of what she could in Oz, these women deal with the place in the only way they know how. In order to fulfill the roles they created in the original TV series and first movie, sometimes the filmmakers recur to efficient techniques that help encompass who these characters are using the smallest details.
Therefore we have Samantha regain her mojo through a Shisha, Charlotte give in to her insecurities by becoming attached to her iPhone and Miranda manifest her inner control freak through schedules and the strategic use of Arabic words.
Anyone who's followed these women for a long time will notice that they do change in vacation, "you're fun in Abu Dhabi" says one of them with gleeful surprise.
But at their core they remain the same women we've known for ages, in this case it's just the structure that changes.
Michael Patrick King cleverly turns his entire film into a 1930's spectacle, in a way Sex and the City 2 follows the course of the cinema made during those years.
The movie begins with the delightful excess of a Busby Berkeley musical. There's a wedding at the beginning with such campy charm and outlandish attention to detail that you can't help but fall for its innocent belief in romance a la Top Hat.
After this, the film enters into the shaky terrain of Leo McCarey and Frank Capra romantic comedies, you know films like It Happened One Night where romance actually dealt with emotions while being outrageously entertaining. It's no wonder that some of the women's further hijinx involve moments straight out of slapstick classics.
Then when the film explores the nature of fantastic travel (like in the mentioned Morocco and Oz) it does so with a selfconscious, almost forced sense of escapism. Without disregarding reality the women know that despite their privileged status they want to get away from "reality".
Therefore Samantha has no trouble expressing how because of the bad economy they "need to go somewhere rich".
To expect these women to ignore their wealth and the opportunity they have to indulge themselves in luxury would be to condemn reality, for isn't this exactly what the upper classes have done throughout history?
It's fortunate for the Sex girls that now they're less Marie Antoinette and fit more with the celebrity worship our generation has come to obsess with, if not this movie could be perceived by some as being a tacky exercise in excess.
Fortunately by movie's end, King concentrates a bit more on the melancholic feeling brought by more serious filmic works like those of Preston Sturges and William Wyler, which means that when the credits roll, the women, especially Carrie, have gone from Arabic princesses to bruised women learning what they really want out of life.
King's intentions don't always work and some of his most clever ideas are drowned in execution (the whole analogy of the women learning about tradition and rules by going to a different cultural landscape is fascinating, the execution lacks a bit more politics) yet for all its flaws in the end Sex and the City 2 can't help but take aim at our hearts by adequately reminding us that when all is said and done there is no place like home.