Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Oh Lars...

After making poor Kiki wish she'd been swallowed by the Earth in that now infamous Cannes press conference, and then coming through for her by helping her get one of the most prestigious acting awards in the world, Lars von Trier gave one of his most awesome interviews ever to Anne Thompson.
The interview is filled with amazing von Trierisms, my favorite of all being when he talked about Pé choosing Pirates of the Caribbean 4 over his little film:

It’s happened to me before this, these big actresses think that ‘ok he can just wait for me,’ which of course I could. But my problem, compared to other directors, is that I can’t work on more than one thing at a time. And that means that I should wait three quarters of a year doing nothing. So I chose to try something else.

Bless his mad genius heart. Read the whole interview here.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Style Sunday.

Doesn't she look pretty when she stays away from black? The unusual color of this Jenny Packham dress make Angelina Jolie look adorable. Her paleness contrasted to the vibrant red hues of this gown make for a quite pleasant sight. Gotta love her simple choice of hair and makeup too.

Up and coming girl Jessica Chastain seems to be getting ready for the imminent red carpets she'll be crossing all awards season long. She stars in the Palme d'Or winner The Tree of Life and is looking the movie star part already. This stunning Roland Mouret dress not only highlights her gorgeous figure, it's also a work of art in itself. Mouret's taste for architectural dresses is quite evident in this, but notice the amazing color blocks. The turquoise and yellow look amazing combined with Chastain's lush red hair. Can't wait to see more of her in red carpets!

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Sheet-y Saturday.

Where we take a look at posters for upcoming features.

Are you a big fan of The Muppets? I can't really say I am, they didn't define my childhood or anything and I barely remember their movies. However I can see their appeal, they're utterly adorable. The one thing that really freaks me out about this poster is their legs. As far as I remember, we never really see their legs right? They're freaking puppets! To be honest if I saw them walking down the street towards me, I'd run scared. The tagline doesn't help either. This poster might haunt young children for weeks.

Gotta love the character posters for X-Men: First Class. I'm particularly infatuated with this one, not only because January Jones is freaking gorgeous, but also cause she's dressed like a Victoria's Secret model! This is such a shout out to all the horny geeks who will flock to this movie and for one I say, let 'em have it!

Scared of the Muppets' legs too? Would you rather see January's?

Excuse Me While I Have an Orgasm.

This will be fucking unbelievable, won't it?

Friday, May 27, 2011

Breillat Day!

Head over to the awesome PopMatters and check out my review for Fat Girl. I was so pleased to write about this one, cause well, I love it...

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Trailer: The Unleashed.

Check out the trailer for this Canadian horror film. World premiere is next month, so if you're up in Canada be sure to give it a try.
I personally enjoy watching new filmmakers try to deal with horror movies, I am rarely scared by them, but it's the one genre that truly needs to be refreshed to make new movies become iconic. When's the last time a horror movie actually scared you?

For more info on this film, see their Facebook page.

Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides *

Director: Rob Marshall
Cast: Johnny Depp, Penélope Cruz, Geoffrey Rush
Ian McShane, Kevin McNally, Sam Claflin
Àstrid Bergès-Frisbey, Richard Griffiths

Given how excruciatingly terrible the two last installments of the Pirates of the Caribbean saga had been, it was perhaps reasonable to expect that a fourth chapter would only be created in order to improve the series. This wasn't the case. On Stranger Tides in fact might be the worst of them all and if you've seen the other ones, you understand this is saying a lot.
Johnny Depp is back to play Captain Jack Sparrow, by this point however he seems to have become so uninterested in the character that he plays him on autopilot. Sparrow still delivers witty lines and acts like he's drunk; however by now his quirks have just become preposterous and fail to add shades to this character.
This time around Sparrow gets dragged into an expedition to find the Fountain of Youth that Ponce de León had set out to find two centuries before. Sparrow's expedition is led by the evil Blackbeard (McShane) and his newfound daughter Angelica (Cruz) who also happens to be Jack's former flame.
Of course things won't be just that easy for Sparrow and crew, given that two other teams have set out to find the fountain. One of them is led by Sparrow's perpetual enemy Hector Barbossa (Rush), the other by Spanish conquistadors. Somewhere within the movie there are inklings of a political statement meant to have been suggested with these multicultural races towards advancement.
This might be looking too much into the film's flawed screenplay though, given that so little happens over such a long time that your mind might wander and try to find things to rescue about this production.
Many questions might arise, like: why does such an expensive film feel so cheap at every turn? The visual effects fail to impress and at moments look almost dated. What are actors like McShane, Rush, Depp and Cruz doing in such a film?
Rush as usual injects Barbossa with a manic wickedness, while McShane is given so little to do and it's such a shame given his talent for delivering villains. Cruz remains enjoyable throughout the movie and is perhaps the only cast member who never seems to get bored by the ridiculous levels the plot reaches. She somehow seems to be having fun and in one of her last scenes is even able to find something that feels like an emotional core of sorts.
The biggest enigma in the film though, might be why is it so dull? From the beginning, when it throws complexly choreographed sequences at us (one even contains a Judi Dench cameo!), everything feels like something we've seen a million times before and never really liked to begin with.
While the first installment in the series brilliantly exploited the film's amusement park origins, this one feels like a very long ride down an attraction someone forgot to make fun. How can something so big, be so little fun?
Despite the film's loudness, it's almost impossible not to drift while watching it. Perhaps director Marshall tried to see too much into these characters and situations? For there is not a single character who doesn't suggest a richer backstory than they deserve (something Angelica mentions about a convent might've been a better movie than this one...) and for all these comments about past stories we get truly ridiculous attempts at humanizing these people even more. Marshall then gives us a boorish love story between a missionary (Claflin) and a mermaid (Bergès-Frisbe). He's looking for faith, she's not one of "god's creatures" and before long we have even more winks about religion by way of the conquistadors who speak exactly three Spanish words in the film.
There's dozens of plot holes, setpieces that go on and on and on without any purpose and an overall disturbing feeling of coins falling into Disney's own treasure chest. Not even Cruz's own phenomenal chest makes this any better.
Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides drags for so long, giving so little that by its end you will wish you found the fountain of youth, if only to recover the hours you lost watching this.

Monday, May 23, 2011

She Talks!

See Kiki win! I'm so happy about this award!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Style Sunday.

I am so happy that Kirsten Dunst finally decided to dress like a movie star! She has been flawless for the entirety of the Cannes Film Festival and this Chanel Couture is more than enough proof of it.
The thing with Kiki is that she has an awkward body posture, she still stands like a teenager and often hunches as if trying to hide her breasts. This is kinda cute when you think about it but when she pairs it with disastrous gowns, she just looks psycho.
The simplicity of this Chanel design seems to make Kiki feel right at home, gotta love that she went with black stilettos to finish her look and also did stunning hair and makeup.
Best part of all? She ended up going home with the coolest accessory ever...

...the Best Actress award (not Edgar Ramírez...)

What's your take on Kiki's style evolution? Did you like her more as a crazy bag lady or is this new, more serious Ms. Dunst working better for you?

Thursday, May 19, 2011


Can someone explain to me how does Pé go from this (i.e. sartorial perfection!)

to this?

...all frumpy and matronly? Both are Armani Privé but she should honestly stop with the black Sophia Loren dresses! She's still so young and sexy!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Me Tarzan, You Horny.

One of my favorite things about Pre-code movies is how freaking erotic they are. Tarzan the Ape Man is most definitely no exception. How could it? When it featured the lovely Maureen O'Sullivan as Jane and the amazingly sexy Johnny Weismuller as Tarzan.

During my favorite sequence, Jane has been frolicking with Tarzan over tree tops and vines. However we have had no truly obvious inkling of them having actual sexual intercourse. We know Jane wants it, given that she barely refuses to be kidnapped by the ape man and we know Tarzan must be tired of fooling around with hairier mammals.

As Tarzan takes a dip in a pond, Jane looks from the outside begging him not to drag her in.
Why? She doesn't want to get wet. Yes, wet, literally and take that in any other way you want. Remember the context...Hollywood was naughty back then.

Jane fails.

Tarzan pulls her into the water and her look of delight is simply a joy to watch.

Neither of them can wait to get out of the water and head over to their cave though, which leads to my favorite shot in the entire movie...

We see how Jane has completely surrendered to lust and desire. She relaxes watching her reflection on the pond, completely drenched and hopefully quite satisfied. O'Sullivan's performance in this movie has an amount of horniness that only rivals Kim Hunter in A Streetcar Named Desire and Anne Baxter, well, in anything she starred in.
Gotta love the fact that the art direction in this particular moment is so freaking sexual. We have the leopard skin, the smoothness of the water and Jane is lying on something that might as well be a giant penis.

And when Tarzan finally returns, Jane is surely ready for more.

Would you blame her?

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

Monday, May 16, 2011

The Man Who Wasn't Here.

Apparently I decided to neglect my poor site again but that doesn't mean I haven't been writing.
I'm featured twice today at the fabulous The Film Experience.
First, I discuss Meryl and then Nat rescued me from an afternoon of hard work under the sun (not literally but I'm in drama queen mood) to talk about fashion! I could not refuse, especially because we talked about Cannes' red carpet.

So, go read me!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Style Sunday.

Pé's back!
After a string of red carpet disappointments, which I'll attribute to postpartum disorientation, the Spanish beauty has began to command red carpets the world over, while she promotes the new Pirates movie.

In Russia, she was a winter delight in this simple Emilio Pucci pencil dress. You gotta love Pucci's use of snowflakes as pattern and remarkably, despite how it all screams cliché (bows and snow in Russia, really?), Pé actually looks hot! Yay for the return of the bangs too!

Now on to the sunny Cannes, she goes for one of Stella McCartney's form fitting designs. The simplicity of this dress truly highlight the hard work Pé must've been doing to get rid of the baby weight. She looks absolutely fabulous! The loose hair works wonders for her too.

Then finally, she really blows our minds in this beautifully detailed nude and lilac gown from Marchesa. Love how the appliqués and embroideries seem to have been glued to her curvaceous body and despite the oddity of the shoulder puffs, she pulls off a stunning mermaid look that's sure to send her all the way to year end lists as one of 2011's best looks...

...and the bangs? Just wow!

Had you missed Pé as much as I did?

Friday, May 13, 2011

Meek's Cutoff ***½

Director: Kelly Reichardt
Cast: Michelle Williams, Paul Dano, Shirley Henderson
Zoe Kazan, Neal Huff, Will Patton, Tommy Nelson, Rod Rondeaux

The advent of Cinemascope brought with it bigger visions of where cinema could take audiences, with it came sprawling musical numbers, larger-than-life Hitchcockian nightmares and the magnificence of the Wild West in all its glory.
For what epitomizes widescreen more than the imposing image of the rocky towers of Monument Valley in The Searchers? With this new expanding screen, filmmakers were finally able to encompass the oppressing feeling of liberty that nature added to stories about cowboys, natives and pioneers.
The idea of the United States of America that was exported to worldwide audiences in these films was one of ample opportunity as long as you could withstand its obstacles (whether they were social, emotional, racial etc.)
Soon enough, the Western was subverted across the Atlantic where filmmakers like Sergio Leone grabbed on to the darkest aspects of this cultural and geographical expansion and explored the way the rest of the world perceived America.
Therefore, the first thing we must ask ourselves about Kelly Reichardt's revisionist entry in the genre is: why did she shoot it in 1.37:1 format?
Meek's Cutoff is presented to us, not in the epic landscape format favored by John Ford, but in the boxy Academy format, which instantly takes us to a time when films like Stagecoach were being made.
Perhaps Reichardt's intention was to take us back in time by using earlier cinematic language to contextualize her story about settlers in the 1800s. After all, it's fairly common for memories to be influenced by images we've seen in the movies. This is why some people imagine the past in black & white.
However effective this may be, if this was her purpose, she's not only subjugating the idea that genres should constantly evolve, she's also disregarding audience members who might not detect this with ease, or at all.
Those for whom film format is indistinguishable, will then wonder why the natural landscapes onscreen feel almost claustrophobic despite their grandeur. It is here, where the movie starts working on a psychological level. It is here, where Reichardt's genius surfaces: she is working on different layers, all of which work depending on the eye that beholds them.
Meek's Cutoff is one of those movies that requires extra attention, not because of the complexity of its plot, but precisely because of its languidness.
The entire film is presented to us in the first ten minutes. The setting is the Oregon Trail, the year is 1845. Three families traveling in wagons and carts are being led by explorer Stephen Meek (Greenwood) towards their final destination.
As the film begins we see the settlers go on about their daily lives-on a journey that is-as they wash clothes, cook and then prepare for further travel.
Despite Reichardt's, and cinematographer Chris Blauvelt's, best efforts to highlight-or perhaps contrast-the beauty of these daily rituals, we soon get the feeling that something's not right.
The husbands (Huff, Dano and Patton) and wives (Williams, Kazan and Henderson) discuss matters separately and soon we understand that they seem to be lost.
Meek reassures them that everything is fine but tensions begin to grow as they start running out of water and supplies. Their voyage becomes even more complicated when they capture an Indian.
The group becomes divided as some claim he should be killed before his tribe members find them, while others think he could help them find water.
Here Reichardt explores the dynamics of gender in society as we witness how the wives speak in whispers, fully aware that they have no actual "voice" in the decision making. This becomes especially potent when we realize that the women have ideas that might actually work, as opposed to the men's obvious inefficiency and apparent fear of Meek.
The director isn't one to hide her feminism under nonsensical disguises but unlike filmmakers that stigmatize non-mainstream ideologies, she is able to recreate the need for said currents of thought to appear.
In Meek's Cutoff she channels this with Emily Theterow (Williams), who to the shame of the others decides that the Indian should be treated with respect. Of course, the film's politics aren't Disneyfied and we understand at all times, that Emily's treatment of the Indian depends on what she can get out of him.
What's more, in her defense of this stranger, she challenges Meek and the entire patriarchal structure that has defined their journey seems on the verge of collapse. The film studies the purpose of following traditional structures under anomalous circumstances.
We are left wondering then, if a shift in power during the journey would result in long lasting change, or would thing return to normal once their destination was reached?
The film then is by all means a political work, not only because it challenges our notions about the status quo but because in doing so Reichardt, perhaps unintentionally, recreates time appropriate situations, because Meek's traditionalism and stubbornness can easily be perceived as a parable of the Bush administration , but his calm charm and "coolness" in the face of adversity easily take us to the Obama who only recently seems to have achieved an actual purpose in his presidency (it's a freaky coincidence that like Meek, his sudden decisiveness relied on the seemingly accidental encounter with a feared enemy).
If the film seems to be trying to discuss too much, it's only testament to art's capacity of molding itself to the necessities of those who consume it, for it can be said that a few years ago, the film would've been touted as a liberal pro-immigration essay and fifty years ago it would've been feared for its subversive takes on feminism and segregation.
Meek's Cutoff is transgressive political study, a convention-defying genre film and all in all, an excitingly entertaining film (you must watch it if only to witness the year's most authentic action sequence!) but overall it's an ambitiously ambiguous, but never purposeless, evaluation of American history: how they got there and where they're going.
Because when all is said and done few images of this movie year will remain as potent as that of Michelle Williams fearfully holding on to a rifle, trying to reach a compromise between physical and ideological survival.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

When 2 Become 1.

Pedro Almodóvar's films have always been charged with sexual content and eroticism that seems impossible to contain. However, sex always comes with a little bit extra as the director inserts some sort of symbolism in it.
Think about it, how many times does he give us purely gratuitous sex? In films like Live Flesh for example, he delivers the kind of coital situation that is able to turn audiences on while exposing different layers about its characters (notice how in that movie, Francesca Neri grabs onto Liberto Rabal's hips with the passion she can't show her paraplegic husband, played by Javier Bardem).
In Law of Desire Almodóvar leads us to what seemingly will be a purely lustful situation as film director Pablo (Eusebio Poncela) begins a torrid affair with the young Antonio (Antonio Bandera)

Without needing to mention how his displays of homosexual passion are nothing short of hot, as the film moves on, Pedro begins to turn these people into almost Bergmanian symbols of despair and sorrow.
Antonio, unable to understand Pablo's rejection, takes on a metaphysical transformation that reminds us of Bergman's own Persona in how we see the personalities unintentionally fuse into one. Of course Pedro wouldn't be OK with just this and in a movie that also deals with transgendered motherly love (portrayed by Carmen Maura) we arrive to a beautifully poignant climax in which all of the ideological currents the film has dealt with reach an aesthetic and emotional peak.

This shot (my favorite in the film), equals this:

I'll leave it to you to think about the implications that come with Pedro's staging of this famous moment using two men, who are inarguably sinners in a Catholic context, who also represent mothers and whose relationship began with just sex (makes for a whole essay in the making about dating in the gay world, no?)

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

Monday, May 9, 2011

Meet Me at the Met.

Guess who's back in da motherfuckin' house!

Exactly one week ago I had a date at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. Much to my disappointment the Met was closed (I later found out it's always closed Mondays but still...) however to my surprise, that day they were setting up the red carpet for the Costume Institute Gala: my second favorite red carpet event in the world.

This year the festivities were dedicated to the memory of the late genius Alexander McQueen as the Costume Institute set up an exhibition of his work appropriately called Savage Beauty. People in New York, do yourselves a favor and go see this show. It was one of the most breathtaking art exhibits I've seen in my entire life and since this blog isn't about my life, but about movies, I'll review the red carpet and seam it into a travelogue sort of thing.

The fantastic Stella McCartney wore a design by well, herself and rocked the asymmetrical leg with Alasdhair Willis.

Salma Hayek, as many others, went with a McQueen design which gave her an ethereal aura that neutralized her overcoming erotic sense of fashion. She looked elegant and simple. Notice how she's even subduing the boobs! Well done Hayek!

The statuesque Giselle Bundchen opted for a simple McQueen (if there is such a thing in the designer's oeuvre) that highlighted her height and gave her a regal look.

Madonna, fresh off the time machine, rocked this Stella McCartney that paid homage to great screen sirens like Ava Gardner and Joan Fontaine. the color is absolutely perfect and her Jean Harlow-esque hair is perfect.

Only Beyonce can grab Emilio Pucci and make him seem like he's an understudent at the House of Dereon. This all too tight dress highlights B's gorgeous body in all the wrong ways. She needs to lay off the black and gold for a while.

Even if I'm not a fan of this Alexander McQueen, props should always be given to SJP, who time after time pushes fashion forward.

Blake Lively, who I never ran into despite my best efforts, is a vision in this Chanel Haute Couture. The nude and print paired with the chiffon make her look like a Greek goddess out of a modern orgy.

If something works for you, keep it up, no? Gwyneth Paltrow's state of mind seems to be that since column dresses with sexy high slits have worked for her recently, now's not the time to stop. I would've loved to see her try something new but this Stella McCartney truly defies criticism.

J. Lo chose a McQueen inspired Gucci that highlighted her curves while adding a sense of purely dramatic flair. This reminds me of getting lost on the 6 train (true story).

I, for one, am glad that Taylor Swift gave up her "angelic girl" look for this event. Sure, this J. Mendel dress and severe hairdo make her look like Carolina Herrera but hey, it's about time she embraced womanhood, no?

Oh Diane Kruger. When will this perfection let us down? Your Jason Wu dress is nothing if not simple, yet you wear it with such grace and add this strange sexiness to it that Veronica lake herself would come from the grave to ask for your fashion advice.

Michelle Williams finally smiles for the cameras and looks stunning in this Miu Miu with golden patterns. Speaking of which, I think I finally saw what others see in her acting-wise. She was phenomenal in Meek's Cutoff (that's what I ended up doing after my failed Met date...review coming soon!)

Pé rocks my world, as you all know, but she's been lacking a little something after her pregnancy. This Oscar de la Renta is efficient but looks too much like what she wore for last year's Golden Globes.

Emma Roberts owns Scream 4 and she also gives this Michael Kors design a youthful sexiness not anyone would've achieved.

The awesome Jennifer Hudson highlights her best assets in this lovely Vera Wang dress. The big skirt and see through chocolaty cover make her look good enough to eat.

Amy Adams should stop trying to pull off L'Wrenn Scott. It just doesn't go with her! While the idea of this dress is rather nice, the execution looks cheap and plain dull. It doesn't help that she tried to do her hair in a manner that resembled the gown's pattern.

Wednesday Addams is back! Christina Ricci rocks this strange Zac Posen in a way Helena Bonham Carter only dreams of! The odd skirt and weird patterns are pure runway Posen but the Gothic romantic feel is all Ricci.

The adorable Hailee Steinfeld gives the Fanning sisters (who wore Valentino) a run for their money in the "freaking cute" department. Unlike them however, Hailee is always age appropriate. This Stella McCartney has the edge of the knee length but balances it with a graceful neckline.

Kristen Stewart, really? Let's concentrate on how dreamy the Proenza Schouler guys are instead.

Stella McCartney seems to have been the designer of the night, with apologies to Lee. Kate Hudson looks positively gorgeous in this gold and crystal appliqués design.

Now, out of all the people who donned Alexander McQueen, I think Coco Rocha pulled it off best. Not only did she go with a Lee that's actually wearable in the real world, she also gave it an edge by accessorizing with the dress and not against it.

Kate Winslet was astonishing in this Stella McCartney. People in NYC you must head out to The Museum of Moving Image and see some of the Mildred Pierce costumes they're currently exhibiting. One of my biggest disappointments in coming back home was that I was unable to attend a screening of the entire miniseries at the museum. Can you imagine how awesome that would've been?

Anyway, how have all of you been doing?