Sunday, January 25, 2009

The Reason Why...

... I watch the SAG Awards. Moments like this make it bearable when something like Slumdog Millionaire wins the Best Ensemble Cast over the likes of Doubt, Milk, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, or even Frost/Nixon. Sigh, I still don't get how it could have been nominated for Best Ensemble over Happy-Go-Lucky, Synecdoche, New York, Rachel Getting Married, or The Dark Knight.

(Also I think Meryl Streep's speech was amazing. Totally worth it.)



Monday, January 19, 2009

It's a Funny, Funny Feeling Down in Your Heart

This of course relates to my last post on Junebug. It just makes me happy when I hear it and it never fails to remind me of this wonderful film. Hopefully you enjoy it too! (The song and the film.)


I Was Born in Japan

(I love this movie so much, I just had to pick more than one quote from it.)

"I wonder what she looks like. I bet she's skinny. She probably is. She's skinnier'n me and prettier too. Now I'll hate her. Oh, I can't wait!"

"All I really want is for Johnny to love me like he did in high school."


Let the Sunshine In

"We went to Tijuana, Mexico, you know? And we thought it would be fun, you know, to go to a show. Everybody says you gotta check out one of these shows. And... it's a woman fuckin' a horse. We get there and we think it's gonna be awesome and... it is not as cool as it sounds like it's gonna be. It's kinda gross."


Sunday, January 18, 2009

Why All the Hate?

I think by now, any reader of this blog will know that I am a huge fan of Nicole Kidman. Whatever she chooses to do, whatever projects she blesses with her presence, I will be there.

What I am having some trouble understanding is all of the hate and negativity directed toward this woman. What has she done to deserve any of it? Some label her as box-office poison, and others just like to call her a terrible actress on completely unfounded and unsupported grounds. Look at the hoopla surrounding Nicole's latest interview with 2day FM. A few select quotes were taken out of context and blasted around the internet, painting a pretty awful picture. Why all the hate?

I'm just going to say it right now. Nicole can act. Don't believe me? The Academy, BAFTAs, and the Golden Globes have all presented their trophies to her so she may place them on her mantle. Can she really be that terrible, and have somehow magically convinced all of these people that she is worthy of honoring? Maybe you're not convinced and think that I am just hiding behind these groups because I don't have a real example of Nicole Kidman doing some fantastic work. Well go put your copy of Moulin Rouge! back into your DVD player and go to the scene where Nicole is looking at the birdcage, or when she ascends from the heavens on a swing, or perhaps when she desperately calls for forgiveness from center stage. I am telling you Nicole can act. For those of you who don't own the DVD (for shame!) I am going to provide the scenes I am talking about after the jump.

I was just thinking about comparing Nicole to another one of my favourite actresses (who is having a banner year this year) - Kate Winslet. As far as I know, Kate Winslet is universally beloved by everyone in the whole world, and rightfully so. However, Kate has had her share of box office and critical bombs. Now I mean no disrespect, I love Kate with all my soul, but why haven't I heard websites going on and on about her box-office bombs, and critics smearing her with hatred. Now I will admit that Kate Winslet generally gives out performances that are always outstanding, whereas Nicole's performances can be a little shakey at times, but all the same, how come I find all the hate directed at Nicole? I hear people going on and on about how Australia was a huge bomb and whatnot, but I checked out Box Office Mojo, and I discovered that Australia has made a profit of $21 Million and counting. It may not sound like much, but I wouldn't consider it a bomb! Heading over to Rotten Tomatoes, Australia seems to be sitting at a luke-warm 54%, but Winslet's latest offering, The Reader, isn't doing that much better with a 60% approval rating.

How about we look at the box office receipts of The Golden Compass, Bewitched, The Interpreter, Birth, The Stepford Wives, and Dogville? All of these films, despite what critical reception they might have recieved, have all managed to turn a profit at the box office. Compared to the likes of Romance and Cigarettes, Little Children, All the King's Men, and Hideous Kinky, I think Nicole looks like a pretty good bet. Just to to
p off my point, Revolutionary Road and The Reader have yet to recoup their budgets (not to suggest that I don't want them too... I wish Kate all the success she can handle!) and if they don't receive any Academy Award nominations, I doubt the films will be able to recoup at the box office.

So why all the hate? Where has all the love gone? Both of these woman are fantastic actresses who have made fantastic films, and hopefully go on to make many more. So why does one side seem to bathe in praise, while the other is scorned and shamed by the public?! Can someone explain this to me?! Is it her personality? Her background? Her face? Can someone tell me why the whole world doesn't love Nicole Kidman? Because I do, and I think I will until the day I die.

Unfortunately I could not find the video for this, just the song, so I guess you will just have to hear the pain in her voice rather than see it.

Try to ignore the... Spanish?

Nicole is so lovely.



Perhaps We Can Obtain Another?

"Has your mind become as decrepit as your face Empusa? You speak as if such things are freely available."


Saturday, January 17, 2009

The Hollywood Reporter Roundtable

I just ran into these videos on Youtube thanks to Guy Lodge over at In Contention. I found the video so intriguing, that I checked it out a little further and found the channel for The Hollywood Reporter. Now here's the thing, this channel has been around for just under a year, yet they only have 152 subscribers (as of today) and their videos have not been viewed by very many people. I mean some of the older stuff in their video library is not that great, but I thought these round tables with writers, directors, and actors were pretty awesome. To have Amy Adams and Michelle Williams sitting and discussing their roles with Emma Thomson and Sally Hawkins... it just made me happy. I think the videos are fantastic, not long enough, and I still can't get enough. The video of which I speak is below, and if you want to see more, there are many more videos after the jump, or at The Hollywood Reporter Channel on YouTube.


[Source In Contention]


Friday, January 16, 2009

I'll Have the Chateau Cheval Blanc

"Uh, I don't know, I don't know. Um, it's a hard grape to grow, as you know. Right? It's uh, it's thin-skinned, temperamental, ripens early. It's, you know, it's not a survivor like Cabernet, which can just grow anywhere and uh, thrive even when it's neglected. No, Pinot needs constant care and attention. You know? And in fact it can only grow in these really specific, little, tucked away corners of the world. And, and only the most patient and nurturing of growers can do it, really. Only somebody who really takes the time to understand Pinot's potential can then coax it into its fullest expression. Then, I mean, oh its flavors, they're just the most haunting and brilliant and thrilling and subtle and... ancient on the planet."


Thursday, January 15, 2009

Top Shots of 2008

Kristopher Tapley of In Contention has written an excellent article about his top ten favourite shots of the year. What is unique about this particular article, is that Tapley has actually gotten the cinematographers themselves to provide blurbs about each shot in question. He has some fantastic little snippets of information from a nice mix of cinematographers, some of which include Roger Deakins, Wally Pfister, and Claudio Miranda.

Tapley then goes on to include some of his own opinions and why he chose a particular shot. Many of the shots he has chosen are beautiful and well captured, but I think that the meaning behind each and every one of them grows exponentially when it is described by the cinematographer that shot it.

So without further ado, here is Part One and Part Two of "The Top 10 Shots of 2008". If you've read the article, and want some more cinematography goodness, check out Part One and Part Two of "The Top 10 Shots of 2007".

Sidenote: As you can see, I've filled this post with some of my favourite shots of the year (that aren't included on Tapley's list) and so now I'm wondering... what were your favourite shots of 2008?


[Source In Contention]


Lovely Trailer Music

I am an avid watcher of movie trailers. I love them. In fact, the only reason why I make it to the movie theatre on time is so that I don't miss the trailers. 2 minutes of condensed romance, action, comedy, horror, etc. set to catchy music and with spitfire editing. I dig it. In fact, these days a lot of my love for trailers is attributed to the music selection. The other day I watched the trailer for the remake of Wes Craven's "The Last House on the Left". I loved Bergman's "The Virgin Spring" and so was itching to see Wes Craven's 1972 version of the ol' Swedish ballad, but have yet to find it anywhere. When I heard that it was to be remade I became wary. Not because I have any sort of loyalty to the original, as I've yet to see it, but because these horror remakes generally pale in comparison to the originals, and even when not being compared side-by-side, tend to be severely lacking in terms of quality film-making. After watching the trailer for the remake, however, I found myself itching to see it. Those clever little trailer editing folk used a lovely cover of Sweet Child o' Mind by Guns N' Roses by Swedish pop/folk singer Taken by Trees. What a beautiful, beautiful choice! It's certainly not an original idea to have the carnage and brutality of these horrific events heightened by having them juxtaposed next to a sweet, innocent, classic song (in fact, I'm under the impression that Wes Craven's film featured light and fun songs), but this particular song couldn't have been better selected in my opinion. I won't say much more, but post the video and a couple of other trailers where I was taken in by the music.



Wednesday, January 14, 2009

What's So Funny 'Bout Peace, Love and Understanding?

"Can you keep a secret? I'm trying to organize a prison break. I'm looking for, like, an accomplice. We have to first get out of this bar, then the hotel, then the city, and then the country. Are you in or you out?"


Lots of Reasons to Go to the Theatre in 2009

I've come across a lot of blogs that are now posting "Top 10 Most Anticipated Films of 2009" lists, and I thought I would do something similar too. This post is going to be dedicated to the films that I am looking forward to seeing in 2009. I also think it will be fun to look back at this list come 2010 and see what was great and what was terrible. However, this post does come with a warning because I think it is going to be a very long one (edit: I have decided it is probably a better idea to do this in a series of smaller posts), so only trudge ahead if you are committed. (And I also want to hear what films I've left off of this list that you are looking forward to!)

First up, we have one of my most anticipated films of the year, Ponyo on the Cliff. This film is directed by animated-film legend Hayao Miyazaki and animated by his studio, Studio Ghibli. Do I really have to add anymore? This is the guy who brought My Neighbor Totoro, Spirited Away, and NausicaƤ of the Valley of the Wind into existence (and many, many more classics... too many to list them all here). Miyazaki has also been considering retiring from directing and animating since 1997, so any more films that we get from him should be considered blessings.

And even though I generally HATE English dubs of foreign films, I must say that Walt Disney (who is in charge of releasing Studio Ghibli films in North America) usually does a fantastic job with dubbing Studio Ghibli films, and has assembled an amazing cast of actors to lend their voices to the film. The assembled cast includes (but is not limited to) Cate Blanchett, Liam Neeson, Matt Damon, Tina Fey, Lily Tomlin, Betty White, and Cloris Leachman. If that is not enough to get you go to see this film in theatres, there is no hope left for you... Okay let's pretend you are living in a fantasy world where you are still not convinced to go see this film, here is my final argument to convince you. The exceptionally talented composer Joe Hisaishi is back to compose the score of Ponyo, and you can watch a clip of him conducting a piece of the score below.


Duplicity (opening on March 20, 2009) is a film that reunites the stars of 2004's Closer, Julia Roberts and Clive Owen. The film is written and directed by Tony Gilroy whose last directorial and writing effort resulted in the excellent film Michael Clayton. The film's supporting men include Paul Giamatti and Tom Wilkinson (who got an Academy Award nomination for his last collaboration with Gilroy). The film is about two spies (Roberts and Owen) who infiltrate two rival corperations in order to pull off a huge con job on their respective bosses (Giamatti and Wilinson). I think it has been too long since we've seen Julia Roberts on screen as a lead actress. Don't get me wrong, I think she is a great team player and a wonderful supporting actress to a large cast, but I think she really shines when she is in the lead role. I hope these two actors still have the same amount of chemistry together that was pretty evident in Closer.

The link to the High Definition trailer is here.

The Youtube trailer is below.



Thursday, January 8, 2009

Being Annette

"I've lived in the theatre since I was a kid, what I don't know about acting isn't worth knowing. Now, you may be 20 years old and just beginning, but I think you're a genius. You've got magnetism, but no idea how to use it. You have to grab the audience by the throat and say "Now, you buggers, you pay attention to me!" and remember this, when you're on the stage acting, theatre is the only reality, everything else, the world outside, what civilians call the real world, is nothing but fantasy and I bloody well won't let you forget it."


Sunday, January 4, 2009

Rinko Kikuchi in The Brothers Bloom

A little side-note before we begin. The film The Brothers Bloom was originally supposed to be released on October 3rd, 2008, but Summit Entertainment in their infinite wisdom, decided to push back the release date to December 19, 2008. It was then delayed again from December to May 15, 2009 (limited) and May 29, 2008 (wide). I was fortunate enough to catch this gem at the Toronto International Film Festival, and so I hope all of you readers can bear with me while I gush about a supporting actress that no one else has likely seen. One of the reasons I chose Rinko (other than her being the most memorable supporting actress I've seen in 2008), is because I hope that this post will convince at least one reader to go out and see this film (and wonderful performance) when it does eventually come out in theatres. I will try to keep this post as spoiler free as possible.

Rinko Kikuchi plays Bang Bang, superb con artist and accomplice to the Brothers Bloom. The job that is given to her by director Rian Johnson is not an easy one. She has to share the screen with the likes of Rachel Weisz, Adrien Brody, and Mark Ruffulo, not to mention that her character is almost completely silent throughout the film. However, above all of this she still manages to steal the show right out from under them.

As I said before the character is almost completely silent throughout the film (territory I'm sure Ms. Kikuchi is familiar with), and Rinko must completely rely on glances, facial expressions, and gestures to express anything and everything she is feeling. Of course Rinko goes far beyond physical mannerisms and nuances, she creates a being that seems to be operating on a level higher than any of the con men in their troupe, and perhaps the audience as well. I am almost certain that Bang Bang is in absolute control of almost every situation that she is put in, and is generally able to maintain her composure at all times. This could have been a problem with a less talented actress because playing a character that always maintains composure and sees and knows everything, could have turned out quite dull. Lucky for us Rinko knows how to maximize her opportunities.

Although Bang Bang seems to be completely capable to do anything and everything, Rinko plays her with a certain sense of improvisation and openness. Any task that looks as though it required much planning and construction seems to be done on a complete whim by Bang Bang. This leaves a sense of playfulness when we see her onscreen that keeps the audience wondering what she will do next. When we see her working alongside the other actors, she adds touches of humor to every scene through her actions and reactions, which elevates and adds dimensions to the scenes she is in. She gives off energy that the other actors are clearly aware of and react to, which is generally the job of a supporting actress, no?

There is also the fact that Bang Bang is so damn cool. Just take a look at her wardrobe. She is easily the most awesome looking con man alive. This part could have been played in a way that made the character completely cold and inorganic, but Rinko plays her in such a way that even if the audience isn't playing at the same level as Bang Bang, we still end up wanting to know her or be friends with her. Or be her.

I know I left the movie theatre after the screening of The Brothers Bloom thanking whoever it was who had the great idea of casting Rinko Kikuchi in this part. I'm sure when you see her performance, you will be thinking the same thing.

- Cigarettes

[This post is part of the Supporting Actress Class of 2008 blog-a-thon happening over at StinkyLulu. You should head on over there if you haven't already and check out more of the entries from all the other bloggers. I know that's where I'll be.]


Saturday, January 3, 2009

Not a Bad way to Start Off the New Year

"Sit here and behave yourself."


Friday, January 2, 2009

A Year in 4 Minutes

Above is a video made by Matt Shapiro (aka oyguvaltshappy) which pieces together some great moments from films that came out in 2008 (if you like the video above, you can also find his video chronicling 2007 here). I'm posting this video for a few reasons. First of all, I am a sap for this kind of thing so I thought I would share it with you all. Secondly it is also an easy way to inform you guys that a huge post about what I am looking forward to in 2009, is on its way shortly.

Lastly, this post is also here to remind any of you readers out there who might be interested that I will be participating in StinkyLulu's Supporting Actress blog-a-thon in a mere two days! So make sure you stick around long enough to see that. All of the details about the blog-a-thon can be found in my previous post or at the StinkyLulu's blog here.

P.S. If you have a blog too, you should also think about participating. It doesn't matter what the focus of your blog is, as long as you can dedicate one of your posts to a supporting actress in 2008. Think about it.