Friday, February 20, 2009

My 2008 Movie Awards

Movie of the Year
I can't pick out a movie of the year that was better than all the others. I was impressed by parts of Wall-E, Frost/Nixon, Milk, Slumdog Millionaire, El Orfanato (The Orphanage), and The Dark Knight. Forcing myself to pick one film out of thin air to be number 1, I'll pick The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. They stretched a pretty uninteresting Fitzgerald novella, and mixed in the script of Forrest Gump (not a film I thought much of); then used the most startlingly surprising special effects I can remember seeing since Jurassic Park in 1993 or Gollum in the LOTR films. And somehow they drew me in, and in one particular scene towards the end left me quite breathless. Most of the other 2009 films gave me more or less what I'd expected from them, while Benjamin proved a surprise.
Most Financially Successful New Hollywood 'Idea'
Chick flicks - since the 90's ended, Hollywood chick flicks have generally been progressively stale romantic comedies. The Devil Wears Prada was a bit of an improvement a year ago, and this year we got Mamma Mia & Sex and the City. Maybe it helped that they originated from the WestEnd and the TV industry, rather than the film studios. And that the source material was written by women. Mamma Mia was directed by a female Brit, and SATC by a tv director. Even Twilight, a film which I didn't enjoy quite so much, but at least had an attractive style to it, and was a huge hit, was written and directed by women.
All three films benefited from attractive characters and actors, and plots that didn't simply revolve around two people falling in and out of love, and then in love again in time for the happy ending (I saw What Happens In Vegas this year and it proved how low the genre has fallen).
All films made big $'s. Mamma Mia wasn't particularly expensive by Hollywood standards, but went on to make US$590m worldwide.
Fun & Dumb
They weren't classics, but I had fun with Indiana Jones 4, Mamma Mia, and Sex and the City.
Tropic Thunder was sometimes fun (Robert Downey Jr, the fake previews at the start) and sometimes dumb (Tom Cruise and Matthew McConaughey).
Wall-E was FUN and not dumb in the slightest.
Biggest Miscalculation
Star Wars - Clone Wars was so plain ordinary. A not very interesting a Saturday morning cartoon serial, with no excitement or dramatic trajectory. I was grateful for the 3 Star Wars prequels, even though they didn't equal the original films. But this latest animated film was a plain waste of effort.
Biggest Piece of Crap
I avoid most 'romantic comedies' these days - because they star people like Kate Hudson and Adam Sandler, who never make good films. But I accidentally saw What Happens in Vegas, and can't believe it made over US$200m worldwide. It wasn't romantic OR funny, the characters were unlikeable wangs, and the tacked on 'romantic' ending laughably bad - so what did people see in it then? I've seen worse films in previous years (I Now Pronounce You Chuck And Larry; Date Movie; Battlefield Earth), but there was no reason for this film's existence.
10,000 BC was stupid, dull and un-fun too.
Most Annoying Remakes
Why was Hulk remade as The Incredible Hulk? They made a big fuss over the new film taking on a more action-packed feel, but the end result was the usual sequel that's just a copy of the original, but a bit less good.
I Am Legend annoyed me. The empty New York streets were great, really convincing. Will Smith alone with his dog interesting enough. But then crap CGI nasties, and a couple of pointless survivors turn up to make everything obvious and stupid. Half a good film.
Best Non-Hollywood Films
The spooky Spanish drama The Orphanage
The Brit/Indian mix of Slumdog Millionaire
Werner Herzog's intriguing doco on the people who inhabit Antartica - Encounters at the End of the World
And the highly entertaining doco on the cheap and nasty Aussie film industry in the 70's & 80's -
Not Quite Hollywood
Worst Performances (or 'miscasting' if you're being kind)
Peirce Brosnan
in Mamma Mia - such singing! So bad one risks feeling warmly towards him out of sympathy.
Cameron Diaz & Ashton Kutcher supposedly hating each other then suddenly loving each other (in time for the credits) in What Happens In Vegas. And I used to like Cameron :-(
Memorable Performances
Heath Ledger - Dark Knight
Brandon Walters - so charismatic in Australia
Penelope Cruz - Vicky Cristina Barcelona - a cliched tempestuous Spanish artist role, but she was hilarious and sexy as (as she always is in films when they're not set in the US)
Brad Pitt - Benjamin Button - half the credit goes to the special effects artists, but I can't think of anyone else being better in the role. Having been a famously pretty young man who we've all seen grow up over the past decade and a half, seeing him convincingly age backwards added an extra sense of surprise to it that it wouldn't have had with almost anyone else.
Harrison Ford - Indiana Jones - old fashioned star power still at work
Robert Downey Jr - Tropic Thunder
Wall-E - Wall-E
Best Use Of Nudity
Jason Segel - Forgetting Sarah Marshall
Cate Blanchett's 'older person' underwear scene - Benjamin Button
Gilles Marini, the neighbour who likes to shower outdoors - Sex and the City
Most Excessive Overuse of Designer Names
Sex and the City, watching girls squealing over brand names is bearable in very short doses, but not when they go shopping every 17 minutes. As much fun as when I used to find myself sitting on a chair in the lady's section at DJ's, staring at passers-by while mum had four outfits to try on in the change rooms. And while we're at it, when Mr Big knocked down the neighbour's apartment to build Carrie that ridiculously big walk in wardrobe - I was not liking them so much anymore.
Good Spookiness
The Mist - a monsters in the mist movie with extra bite
The Orphanage - stylish Spanish chills, sad and touching, like Pan's Labyrinth crossed with The Others
Best Recreated Cities
Darwin - Australia
Shanghai - Lust, Caution
Best Landscapes
China - The Painted Veil
India - Slumdog Millionaire
Better Than They Should Have Been
Harrison Ford as Indiana in his mid 60's - the film wasn't perfect, but Harrison was
Meryl Streep singing ABBA in Mamma Mia - strange to think it actually worked
Best Olds
Harrison Ford as Indiana Jones - neither hiding his age, or giving in to it
Jack Thompson & David Gulpilil in Australia - it was great seeing both guys in reasonably substantial roles
Best Dressed
Nicole Kidman - Australia
Best New Faces
Forgetting Sarah Marshall, with both the Brit Russell Brand, and Mila Kunis (the voice of Meg from Family Guy). She's gorgeous and needs to be allowed to appear in other than cartoon form more often.
And the charismatic Brandon Walters in Australia of course.
Best Sexiness
Lust, Caution - steamy
Worst CGI
Some of the CGI effects in Indiana Jones 4, Australia, and I Am Legend were clearly dodgy.
Speed Racer and 10,000 BC had some impressive effects (I'm a big fan of mammoths), but put effects ahead of story. Boring.
Best Special Effects
Benjamin Button's effects blew me away with their realism and dramatic impact.
Wall-E had some beautifully designed scenes, and The Dark Knight deserves respect for not going down the route of too much CGI.
Australia & Nicole Kidman - got lots of criticism in the Australian press because the film had faults, was a little odd or lazy in parts, and it didn't do well in the USA. But it had a lot more going for it than most films released in Australia in the last decade, and ended up being the second most successful film in Oz last year (after The Dark Knight), and made approx US$200m worldwide. Some credit is due.
Harrison Ford as Indy - he was great!
The Happening - not the scary film it was promoted as, but a quirky 60's-style paranoid b-movie (mild) chiller.
For Scenes of Emotional Impact (for arm-rest gripping and/or "no, I'm not crying, I've just got something in my eye" scenes)
The Orphanage
Sex and the City - I'll admit to finding the emotional mood of one scene dramatic and touching
Beyond Our Ken - doco on the Australian cult Kenja and it's leader Ken Dyer, with a disturbing real-life ending
Mamma Mia
Benjamin Button

Thursday, September 25, 2008

iPod Memmmmmories...

I'm committed to my iPod.  iPods.  I rushed to get one when they were first released in Australia.  Then in 2006 I upgraded to one with a larger memory - 60GB.  And a month ago I did it again, swapping that one for a glorious new 160GB iPod (before Apple discontinued them and cut back to iPods with no more than 120GB).
So I'm up to number 3, but before I passed my 2nd one on (to a deserving ebayer), I had to pause and take a little look into it's past.  Such as noting that the first song I'd uploaded onto it was Jack Johnson's Staple It Together, loaded up back on 8 April 2006.
And then there were the most listened to tracks.
For my 1st iPod, I think the most listened to song was Madonna's Hung Up (catchy track that one).
Now, here's what got played most on iPod number 2, no matter how embarrassing.  It's a pretty gay list, in both senses of the word.  I obviously like to get a bit of an aural sugar rush when listening to music on the way to work.
I was pleased to see a number of Australian & NZ artists made it on there (Crowded House, Cut Copy, The Whitlams, Maria Dallas, The Sleepy Jackson, some woman named Kylie), which is very patriotic of me.
A couple of artists got multiple songs on this list, which says something about my general fondness for them - Amy Winehouse, Nina Simone, Belle & Sebastian, and Scissor Sisters.
I'm only embarrassed by one track here, and I defend that song by saying the video clip featured Christina Applegate at a roller disco, which is enough justification for almost anything:
22 plays:  George Michael - An Easier Affair
18 plays:  Welcome to the 60's, from Hairspray
16 plays:  Keane - Crystal Ball
15 plays:  Gloria Gaynor - If You Want It Do It Yourself;  & Pet Shop Boys - Minimal
14 plays:  Amy Winehouse - Back To Black;  & Robbie Williams - Lovelight
13 plays:  Coco Freeman w. U2 - I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For;  Jessica Simpson - A Public Affair (it had Christina Applegate at a roller disco, so shut up);  The Killers - Bones;  Scissor Sisters - I Don't Feel Like Dancin'
12 plays:  Nina Simone - O-O-Oh Child (Nickodemus Remix)
11 plays:  ABBA - If It Wasn't For The Night;  Basement Jaxx - Hush Boy;  Crowded House - Even A Child;  Cut Copy - Hears On Fire;  Duffy - Stepping Stone;  Jamiroquai - Runaway;  Sugababes - Red Dress
10 plays:  Amy Winehouse - Tears Dry On Their Own;  Belle & Sebastian - The Blues Are Still Blue;  Honey Cone - One Monkey Don't Stop No Show;  Maria Dallas - Ambush;  Razorlight - America;  Scissor Sisters - Paul McCartney;  Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings - How Long Do I Have To Wait For You?
9 plays:  Amy Winehouse - Love is a Losing Game;  Bananarama - Look On The Floor/Hypnotic Tango;  Belle & Sebastian - We Are The Sleepyheads;  Belle & Sebastian - To Be Myself Completely;  Beyonce - Irreplaceable;  Diana Ross & The Supremes - You Can't Hurry Love (Readymade Re-Edit);  Electronic - Getting Away With It;  Kylie Minogue - In My Arms; Madonna - Dance 2night;  Matthew Sweet - Sick Of Myself;  Nina Simone - Ain't Got No/I Got Life (Groovefinder Remix);  Robyn - Be Mine!;  Scissor Sisters - I Don't Feel Like Dancin' (Linus Loves Vocal Edit);  Scissor Sisters - The Other Side;  The Sleepy Jackson - God Lead Your Soul;  The Whitlams - Keep The Light On

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Ultimate SoulParty playlist

Two months ago I helped with a social club function at work and got to make pizza and hook my iPod up to the soundsystem with a specially chosen 'Soul Party' playlist.  I was very happy with it, so want to keep the list for posterity:
Al Green - Gotta Be More (Take Me Higher)
Al Green - I Want To Hold Your Hand
Al Wilson - The Snake
Ann Peebles - I'm Gonna Tear Your Playhouse Down
Aretha Franklin - The House That Jack Built
Barry White - Never, Never, Gonna Give You Up
Benny Spellman - Fortune Teller
Betty Wright - Is It You Girl?
Betty Wright - Shoorah! Shoorah!
Bill Withers - Lean On Me
Black Ivory - Mainline
Bobby Humphrey - Baby Don't You Know
Bobby Womack - Across 110th Street
Bobby Womack - Across 110th Street (demo version)
Bobby Womack - Daylight
Bobby Womack -What You Gonna Do (When Your Love Is Gone)
Brown Sugar - Don't Tie Me Down
Carla Thomas - B-A-B-Y
Chairman of the Board - Give Me Just A Little More Time
Chanson - Don't Hold Back
Curtis Mayfield - Freddy's Dead
David Porter - Help
Diana Ross & The Supremes - You Can't Hurry Love (Readymade Re-Edit)
Eloise Laws - Love Factory
Etta James - In The Basement, Part One
Fontella Bass - Hold On This Time
Fontella Bass - Oh, No, Not My Baby
Fontella Bass - Rescue Me
Gladys Knight & The Pips - Since I've Lost You
Glass House - Giving Up The Ring
Gloria Gaynor - (If You Want It) Do It Yourself
Honey Cone - One Monkey Don't Stop No Show
Honey Cone - The Day I Found Myself
Honey Cone - Want Ads
The Hypnotics - Beware of the Stranger
Irma Thomas - Lady Marmalade
Isaac Hayes - Walk On By
The Jones Girls - If You Don't Start Nothing
Lee McDonald - We've Only Just Begun
Linda Clifford - Don't Give Up
Little Milton - Grits Ain't Groceries
Martha Reeves - Second Chance
Martha Reeves & The Vandellas - (Love Is Like A) Heatwave
Martha Reeves & The Vandellas - Nowhere To Run
Marvin Gaye - Keep Gettin' It On
Marvin Gaye - Let's Get It On (Paul Simpson & Miles Dalto MPG Groove Mix)
Marvin Gaye - The World Is Rated X
Maxine Nightingale - Love Hit Me
McFadden & Whitehead - Ain't No Stoppin' Us Now
Michael Jackson with the Jackson Five - I Want You Back (Z Trip Remix)
Millie Jackson - My Heart Took A Licking (But It Kept On Ticking)
Nina Simone - The Look Of Love (Madison Park vs Lenny B Remix)
Odyssey - Going Back To My Roots
Odyssey - Inside Out
The O'Jays - Back Stabbers
The O'Jays - For The Love Of Money
Otis Redding - Satisfaction
Pat Lundy - Party Music
Pat Lundy - Work Song
Randy Crawford - Street Life
Rose Royce - I'm Going Down
Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings - How Long Do I Have To Wait For You?
Solomon Burke - What'd I Say
The Soul Children - Signed, Sealed, Delivered
Speedometer - Work It Out
The Staple Singers - Let's Do It Again
Stevie Wonder - Signed, Sealed, Delivered I'm Yours (DJ Smash Essential Funk Mix)
Sylvia Striplin - Give Me Your Love
Tamiko Jones - Touch Me Baby
Teddy Pendergrass  - Get Up, Get Down, Get Funky, Get Loose
The Temptations - Ball Of Confusion
The Three Sounds - As
The Whispers - It's A Love Thing
Womack & Womack - Teardrops

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Oscar 2008

The Oscars this year were a classy show, with awards spread across 11 deserving films, some very low budget (Juno cost only a few million, and the tiny Irish film Once cost way under $1million). All four acting awards went to non-Americans - first time it's happened since 1964 (when Rex Harrison, Julie Andrews, Peter Ustinov and Lila Kedrova won). Marion Cotillard winning a Best Actress award made her the first French performer to receive one since Simone Signoret back in 1960. And Jon Stewart (whom I have a definite soft spot for) did a pretty good job as host.
Unfortunately all this class meant the show got some of the show's lowest ratings ever in the USA (possibly THE lowest ever - they're still checking). So if the producers get desperate next year and give a showfull of tacky stunts (nominated songs performed by Paris Hilton duetting with Michael Jackson, with awards announced by that gay guy off the internet who screams and cries about Britney Spears) then we'll know why.
* Channel 9 didn't start the broadcast till 8:30pm. As there was no red-carpet special at 7:30, I thought we were safe from Richard Wilkins, but sadly not so. My way of coping with him is to have the sound turned off, so you can still watch the stars (as they try to work out whether he's got anything meaningful to ask them, then try to remove themselves from his presence as quickly as possible without appearing too rude). It's also important to stay away from the pre-recorded interviews with the stylists and trainers and hairdressers to the stars, especially that Australian git Napoleon who keeps popping up unpleasantly in all kinds of places. With no sound from the tv for half an hour, I thought some film music might fill the silence. 30 minutes of the soundtrack from Xanadu was the result, and I blame the choosing of this particular cd on the sugar rush from the packet of raspberry-filled Tim Tams I'd started to consume.
* Poor Johnny Depp, nominated for the third time, and lost again. As Cade says, maybe the fact that he never wins will help him keep his 'Hollywood outsider' edge. But if taking on the Sweeney Todd role, with all that singing and that truly terrific hair didn't work for him, I'm not sure what it'd take for him to get a little gold man.
* Not that it wasn't good to see Daniel Day Lewis win. There Will Be Blood had lots of showy 'acting' scenes, and he obviously threw himself deeply into the role. So good for him.
* Having so many non-americans winning awards made for lower star-wattage, but more variety in the acceptances. Javier Bardem wanted to say something to his mum in Spanish. Tilda Swinton thanked her co-star George Clooneyand commented on his days as a caped crusader in a nippled Batman suit. And Marion Cotillard appeared quite over the moon.
* It was a treat to see a French actress win for once. I didn't think the voters would do it. Marion was great in La Vie En Rose, but unfortunately it does continue the trend of handing out Oscars to actors playing famous folks (Jamie Foxx in Ray, Reese Witherspoon in Walk The Line, Philip Seymour Hoffman in Capote, Cate Blanchett in The Aviator, Helen Mirren in The Queen). Maybe it's just a sign that complex fictional roles are hardto come by these days?
* The Coen's won the directing and Best Picture awards, but they seemed as unsurprised by it as everyone else. Still, they seem nice boys.
* Diablo Cody won a Screenplay award for her first film Juno. She looked all sparkled up for an awards night, and was said to have borrowed a pair of $1million shoes to wear walking down the red carpet. So she looked the part, and seemed to have travelled the road from being an 'exotic dancer' to 'academy award winner' with ease. But she became very emotional during her acceptance speech. She said a line that's often used - "I especially want to thank my fellow nominees because I worship you guys and I'm learning from you every day" but said it with passion and seemed to mean it 100%. She was struggling by the time she got to the end of her speech, and rushed out this - "And most of all, I want to thank my family for loving me exactly the way I am." before starting to break up and having to leave the stage in a rush. I couldn't tell from her face whether she was furious with herself or just trying not to break down in tears, but she was highly wrought up. Was the most moving moment of the night.
* Every year they have a number of montages, usually showing scenes from famous films. One of the nice moments of the night was when Jon Stewart gave some examples of what things might look like if the whole show was made up of montages - which included a short montage entitled 'Bad Dreams -The Oscars Salute!", a montage of scenes from famous films where people wake up in bed, frightened after a bad dream. Ahhh! Argh! Oh!
* The songs! A sweet, fairly simple number from Once won, but not before performances of 3 nominated songs from the Disney film Ella Enchanted, allof which might have been fine in the film but were deadly on stage. They were the kind of cheesy Disney-pastiche songs that might accompany a lunchtime parade at Disneyland, but without the fun of actually being there. Why don't they write decent songs for movies anymore?
* It felt like the oldies were a little ignored. Harrison Ford, Jack Nicholson, and Helen Mirren, were among the few older stars to get a showing on stage, while some others spent the night sitting in the audience (Julie Christie, Dennis Hopper, Faye Dunaway, Sissy Spacek, Jane Russell...). Being the 80th Oscars, I'd thought they would have made more of a thing of past winners. Till the writer's strike was sorted out a few weeks ago, there was always a chance the show wasn't going to go on, so maybe the organising of the show was a little rushed? I'll stick with that idea, because otherwise I'll have to be offended on behalf of everyone wrinkly in Hollywood!
* The Last award, the big Best Picture, was accepted by the Coen brothers, and big-time producer Scott Rudin. His final words were to "my partner, John Barlow. Without you, honey, this is just hardware". In previous years, that kind of gay abandon would only have been expected from the out-of-towners. So presumably, from now on in, following Jodie Foster's lead perhaps, LA gay folk are going to gush about their partners as much as the straighties at these things.
* Couldn't see Carrie Fisher's name amongst the show's writing credits thisyear :-( I hope it's just that she had something else on. I wouldn't want to think The Academy has dumped Princess Leia!
* Cate Blanchett beat Nicole Kidman at being the most pregnant Australian, though both tummies seem to be coming along nicely.
* Everyone looked pretty, like anyone could care less. Only bad dress I saw on stage was sitting on Jennifer Hudson. Maybe they should bring some 'reality tv' style competition into it next year by obliging all actresses to dress themselves for under $30. That would be something to see.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Matthew's 2007 Film Awards

Before the Oscars are handed out tomorrow, I need to announce some of my own awards, for the films of 2007. The Academy are said to be favouring No Country For Old Men, which I haven't seen yet. And I know there are plenty of other fine films I missed out on, but that's not a significant enough fact to stop ME giving MY opinion. Not at all. So I'll start with -
My Movie of the Year
Last year it was Pan's Labyrinth, the year before, Brokeback Mountain. This time I just can't decide. Too many good films (Zodiac, Atonement, Hairspray, Control, The Darjeeling Limited, Hot Fuzz...), but no single one that stands above all else. If I force myself to pick, I might as well go with a couple of my heroes, Tim Burton and Johnny Depp, who made me a personal treat in Sweeney Todd. Blood, songs, cannibalism (something a vegetarian always appreciates in a film), some really nice hair-dos. How could I say no! And thank you very much to my three pals (you know who you are) who saw it with me, as I would have been too terrified of all the throat-slashing to see it on my own!
Regrettable Hollywood Trend
There was a barrage of so-so sequels. The latest Harry Potter & Shrek films were less than their predecessors. Once again the cast in the Ocean's 13 film seemed to be having all the fun, instead of putting it in the movie. Pirates of the Caribbean 3 was a bore apart from some nice scenes with Johnny D. And Spider-man 3 went on and on and on.
Most Financially Successful New Hollywood 'Idea'
The pregnancy film designed to be equally appealing to males.Last time it was tried was when Arnie got up the duff in Junior. I don't think that really worked.Then someone thought of writing about a chick who gets preggers after a bit of meaningless sex; decides to go through with the pregnancy despite not really wanting it, and the fact it'll stuff up their life for a while; and doesn't make any demands on the ill-prepared father (though of course he's a sweetie who'll do the 'right thing' by the end). And then there's a secondary male character, who feels threatened by all the domesticity, voicing all the concerns of the young blokes in the audience who might be feeling a little queasy at all the baby-talk on screen. Mess it all around a little, adding gross-out jokes (Knocked Up), or a teen mom and an adoption sub-plot (Juno), and you have a hit!Hollywood has worked out that as long as the female lead doesn't really want the baby all that much, and doesn't go all 'gooey', the blokes in the audience won't run screaming. It's kind of like the previous 15 year run of romantic comedies with 'Wedding' in the title, which almost always followed the golden rule of not allowing the two leads to actually marry within the film, and which usually resulted in mega $ at the box-office.
Most Fun In The Cinema
I'm always a softy for musicals when they're good. Sweeney Todd was mesmerising. And though Hairspray was less ambitious, it was a pretty good time had by all. Hot Fuzz was also a lot of fun. And The Simpsons Movie did feature one great new character, in the 'Spider-Pig'.
Biggest Miscalculations
I can think of a couple - Across The Universe, the musical based on Beatles songs. It wasn't completely without merit, but should have been either grittier, or cuter, rather than sitting limply somewhere in-between. Sunshine was a great sci-fi thriller, till a crazed killer 'sun man' turned up and silly-fied everything. Beowulf had some awesome 3D effects (easily winning the Best Dragon Of The Year award), but hollow-eyed animated humans are CREEPY. And I was quite taken with The Golden Compass, which had some great ideas for what on the surface seems a kids film, till it ended. It was designed as Part 1 of a trilogy, but the studio hasn't guaranteed the next parts will actually be made, so leaving almost ALL the plotlines up in the air, and hardly evenhinting where the story was likely to go from here, made for a frustrating ending.
Biggest Piece of Crap
According to the Golden Raspberry Awards, the worst films of the year featured performances by Eddie Murphy (Norbit) and Lindsay Lohan (I Know Who Killed Me). I didn't see them. Hopefully you didn't either, and we can all sleep better at night for that.
Most Annoying Remake
ripped off Rear Window (which if you still aren't aware, is THE BEST FILM EVER), and left out most of the stuff that made that film great, dumbifying everything. Shia LeBouf is an appealing actor, and the whole thing was over quickly, but shame on them. Shame.
Most Inappropriate Use of Music
The young lead in Juno shows that she's not a cutesy girlie-girl by constantly discussing super cool rock bands, yet the soundtrack is full of tinkly-tankly acoustic songs, just dripping in adorable cuteness. What IS with that?
Best Non-Hollywood Films
The film La Vie En Rose, and Marion Cotillard's performance as Edith Piaf, was up there with Walk The Line, and superior to Ray, in the current spate of glossy musical biographies, even with it's messy non-linear structure. Control showed how to do the musical bio on a mini-budget, which suited Ian Curtis' rather depressing short life. The technicolour superstar life would never have suited him.
Best Blood-letting
Tim Burton did head-lopping (repeatedly) in Sleepy Hollow. Took ray guns to Hollywood's biggest stars in Mars Attacks! And this year sliced the tender vulnerable necks of men, good and evil, in Sweeney Todd. So much icky, nasty, blood. Naughty Tim! But thanks Tim.
Most Disturbing Killer
was brilliantly complex, and thankfully not overly sensationalised. And the fact that the real killer was never brought to trial, well, let's say it's not a good film to watch alone and in the dark.
Showiest Nudity
RayWinstone's buff 3D animated bod in Beowulf. Body hair and beads of sweat animated to perfection as he battles beasts in the nude, as you do.The censors were pleased that appropriately phallic-shaped objects got in the way whenever too much was about to go on display. Angelina Jolie, as Grendel's mum, also nudded it up. But then her designers decided she didn't need nipples. Odd. And very silly. But attention grabbing.
Sweetest Moments
John Travolta and Christopher Walken were a pretty neat couple in Hairspray.
And the brotherly love in The Darjeeling Limited was easy to get caught up in.
Special Award In Comedy
Goes to Knocked Up, for having the guts to actually show where babies really DO come from.
Worst Performances (or miscasting if you're being kind)
The entire cast of 300
David Morse, as an unbelievable and thoroughly incompetent serial killer in Disturbia, though it wasn't his fault that the role was so badly written.
Best Lyrics
"Spiderpig, Spiderpig,Does whatever a Spiderpig doesCan he swing, from a web?No he can't, he's a pigLookout, here comes the Spiderpig"
Memorable Performances
Daniel Day-Lewis, doing a John Huston drawl in There Will Be Blood. A great performance, even though his character became less believable as the film wore on (did I mention previously that There Will Be Blood was quite good but also won the Most Tediously Pretentious Film Of The Year award?).
Ellen Page in Juno, a bit too smart-mouthed to be a convincing teen, but charismatic all the way.
Shia LeBouf, was the only good thing in Disturbia, and brought a bit of charm to the CGI-fest that was Transformers.
Sam Riley, as Ian Curtis (lead singer of Joy Division), in Control.
Johnny Depp (singing!), and Sacha Baron Cohen for putting his hand up for a quite confronting and most definitely unfunny death scene (gosh, he can really bleed, can't he), both in Sweeney Todd
Worst Dialogue
Spartan army: "Ha-OOH! Ha-OOH! Ha-OOH!" (300)

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Music - Bob Dylan

Saw Bob Dylan's concert at the Entertainment Centre last wednesday night. It was a last minute thing. A friend desperately wanted to go, and didn't want to go alone. The tickets were too pricey for me, but she offered to pay for some of mine. So I couldn't say no.
He was great. I couldn't understand what he was singing half the time, but it didn't matter much. The guy looks OLD, and frail as. But like I said, he and his band sounded good. Many of the songs were unfamiliar to me. Out of the few I knew, the only famous 60's song he sang was Blowin' In The Wind, which he sang in a gently rocking style - sounded beautiful.
The whole band (bar one) wore hats. Bob's was a little amish looking - like Harrison Ford's in Witness.