Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Listen. To. Me.

You guys should be excited to go see this movie. I, personally, cannot wait.

"Un Prophete (A Prophet)"

I referenced this briefly pre-Oscars. And while "El Secreto de Sus Ojos" won for Best Foreign Language Film (btw...WTF? b/c everyone thought The White Ribbon was a lock) I have no real interest in seeing it. But this movie...

But before you watch the trailer (which is MANDATORY), a word on Foreign Language Films.

You say the words "Foreign Language" in conjunction with "movie," and reverse snobbery happens quicker than you can say Abracadabra. I don't know what it is, but if you even tell people you want go see a movie with subtitles, they automatically assume you are a snob. And that the movie is boring. And that it will just tax their brain cells too much to read 5 words or less at a time in massive print.

This is obviously a sensitive subject for me, but I credit Foreign Films with carrying my love of movies into adulthood. I loved kids/teen/musical movies when I was little, but I had no interest in cinema beyond the level of "cotton-candy" entertainment. Until I was 12. And my mom (and why she thought this would be a good idea, I'll never know) took me with her to see "La Vita E Bella" (Life is Beautiful).

It LEVELLED me. It was interesting, and funny, and heartwrenching, and hopeful. I cried and laughed and cried. And I left the theater wondering why the hell I had ever wasted so much time on the Disney Channel. Since that day, I have been a cine-phile. I would beg my mom until she took me with her to the movies I was technically "too young" for....Elizabeth, Good Will Hunting, Shine...

So, no. "Foreign" Films (at least the one's that 'make' it to America) aren't for film critics who have forgotten how to be one of the masses. They aren't boring or inaccessible. They are really fucking great movies that just happen to be in a language you don't speak. So get off your high horse. And go see "A Prophet." Because it's not what you think.

In other, more superficial news...

The Oscar Curse Striketh Again.

It was....what? One day.... two days after she delivered her cute as a button speech and won her gold statue? For all the doubters...(ahem, David)...the Oscar Curse is For Realz.

A lot of you have gotten the wrong impression that I don't like Sandra Bullock. I totally love her. I mean, have you seen Ms. Congeniality 2: Armed and Fabulous? Plus, she's sweet. She's smart. She's funny. What's not to like?
Do I think she deserved an Oscar? No. But I don't think she thought she did either. I mean, it says something when a woman actually shows up in person to accept her Razzie Award for Worst Performance By An Actress (in the film "All About Steve") the very night before she wins the Oscar for Best Actress. She knows.

And her acceptance speech really was adorable.

As far as Jesse James is concerned...well, you all know how I feel about cheaters. They're Ass Wipes. But, it's not like they're uncommon. Or criminal. What really annoys the fuck out of me about Jesse James is that he embarrassed her beyond the levels of normal "my husband cheated on me with a total loser" embarrassment.

See, Michelle Bombshell-ed gave an interview a few weeks ago to some tattoo mag. saying that she was about to "blow up real soon." So, James knew this bitch was gearing up to talk. I mean, the math's not hard. If your screwing someone famous's husband, you want maximum exposure. Thus, if Sandy wins (which she was overwhelmingly predicted to do), Michelle talks.

Which means that fucker (James) knew it was coming; he knew the story would come out soon. And yet, he threw Sandy to the wolves. He let her go on and on and on in COUNTLESS interviews about how happy they were, what a great husband he was, how he always had her back, how she was so happy that she has basically adopted his daughter from his previous marriage to a drug addicted porn star. He let her make herself look like a fool. And, in all honesty, I do consider that criminal.

And speaking of philanderers....a few of you have asked me for my feelings re: Tiger Wood's first set of interviews since issuing his public apology.

Look. This one is NOT hard to call. The Masters are in a few weeks. Augusta National is a tight course. Barely any room separates the spectators from the players, and all the holes are crammed together. Which means, Tiger will be getting the fuck heckled out of him.

Problem is...he needs this. No really, I mean he NEEDS to do well at Augusta. He needs his sponsors to believe that his personal life won't affect his play aka. their product lines. He needs to show detractors that he is "putting the past" behind him and returning to global golf domination. Which means, he needs to be ON. He doesn't have room to get all jumpy when people yell during his backswing and interviewers beg for his life details over and over at the end of the day.

So, he's preemptive striking. He's doing the "tail tuck between legs" as many times as he can between now and the 13th so that he won't have to do it there. And so that, hopefully, Joe and Jane Smith will let it go and not fuck up his tournament. Because, let's face it (and you all need to listen carefully to what I'm about to say)....Tiger's ONE and ONLY concern in his life is TIGER. I don't buy his apologies at all, but I'm also over caring about him in any way, shape, or form. He's got that corner covered.

Monday, March 15, 2010

LOTS to post on today!

Apologies, but Spring Break spent in Florida with my wonderful Aunt was bookended by wedding planning and left no time to do the less important stuff like gossip and blog.

So here's the programming schedule in case you want to pick and choose:

Oscar Fashion Stitch and Bitch (You don't want to skip this one)
New Movies You Should See
New Movies You Shouldn't See
The Oscar Curse

First Up:

As usual, the Oscars were long and masturbatory. I mean, really? Must we montage everything? Why is it necessary to recap every movie, every performance, every dead man's work with a 120 second clip compilation. I'm sorry, but the movie/actor/director montage is like an ego hand job. Montages flick through images in increasingly rapid succession while actors purr over their collective "amazingness" until the thing finally climaxes and shoots its wad all over the audience who moan in unison "We really are awesome aren't we?"

As for the fashion...well. It was okay. Better than last year, but still not up to snuff.

But I guess I must also warn you: By this point in the evening, I was well into my fifth or six glass of champagne, and so my powers of snark and observation were a little curbed. Add to that the fact that I left the next morning for SBK2010... and my fashion review is a little brief.

For a full, comprehensive (but definitely NOT objective fashion wrap-up) head on over to Lainey.

And due to my sub-par snark...I am relying heavily on the keen observations of my guest bloggers who were hilarious and dead on (thanks Paddy and Sleight!)

What follows is an almost literal transcript of some of the best comments of the night. Again, snark is largely Sleights and Paddy's. I was too busy being shit faced and trying to type.

Tina Fey

Apparently, her mom took her in the back and put her in a dress and some makeup.

Jennifer Lopez

She stole Amanda Seyfreid's towel and re-wrapped it to accentuate her ass. Also...personal note to J-Lo...Tell your husband that this is not the Grammys and he needs to take his sunglasses off.

Best part of the Oscar red carpet:
The repeat showings of the horrifying new cervical cancer commercial.

Worst part of the Oscar red carpet:
ALL These Pouffy Up-dos! Really. The hair=Prom Queen with an unlimited budget. I mean, this should be a drinking game. So many offenders.

However, I must interject that the one good thing we can all agree on is that my girlfriend looks amazing.

(Editor's Note After the Fact: Don't fucking tell me it looks like what Eliza Doolittle wears to the horse race in My Fair Lady. I was drunk and I will cut you.)

Okay...back to the non-inebriated, reflective present.

Movies to see:

Alice in Wonderland

Well, at least according to box office totals. I haven't seen it yet, so don't take my word for it (or against it). I LOVE Lewis Carroll and I love the mythos that is Alice in Wonderland. And usually Tim Burton makes somewhere between a 'passable' and an 'awesome' movie, so I'm sure it's fine. I'm not really sure what I'm holding out for. I'm just not compelled to rush to the theater and sit through it. Maybe it's because I've told myself I need to be in a chemically altered state in order to fully enjoy it. Or maybe it's because I'm not sure I want to be. (It has the potential to be terrifying under the influence of any substance besides Diet Coke). I dunno. Convince me. Convince me I should just go and see it.

Movies not to see:

Clash of the Titans

You should NOT see this movie. I repeat. This is the kind of film that will make you dumber. You will be less enlightened and, in all honesty, less deserving of respect if you go see this.

Which is why.... I can not figure out why...
I want to see this so bad. Like, I cannot wait.

I mean, the self-embarrassment is overwhelming. But, like a moth drawn to the flame, I must go. I must watch Sam Worthington's muscles ripple in 3D. I must hear Liam Neeson's powerful tenor reverberate the words "RELEASE THE KRAKEN!" I must suffer through the utter cheese that is sure to be this travesty of a movie. I can't explain it other than to say, maybe sometimes we just want what we know is bad for us.

Which brings us to the last item for the day.

The Oscar Curse.

For those of you who don't know about it, please skim this article showing what the Oscar curse is (most interestingly...high powered Oscar wins for women have resulted in the year or less dissolution of their marriages).

And how sad is it that its latest victim is no other than Princess Kate? I mean, it's not like I can say that I'm shocked necessarily. But I'm definitely surprised. And sad. Because I really was rooting for them. See, in her early twenties, Kate got married too young to a man she knew too little about. So, she got divorced. But then she met director Sam Mendes. And it seemed right. Because she had already had the starter marriage seemingly based on excitement which fizzled and then died. But with Sam, it was different. In an interview with a couple years back, she said:
"I woke up in the middle of the night after we'd met and I had this feeling in my stomach. I just knew what it was. I didn't want to stop being with him. I know categorically I'm married to the right man. I feel understood by him, completely known. And I get the enormity of what I'm saying, which is why I'm so grateful." (ELLE UK, 2009)
Mature. Substantive. Peaceful. That's how it looked on the outside. But apparently, that wasn't what started bubbling beneath the surface. So now the speculation begins.

Was Revolutionary Road, a story about a dysfunctional marriage starring Winslet and directed by Mendes, an effort by a wife/husband team to re-examine and re-coup a real life marriage? If so, what went wrong?
And more titillating, was anyone else to blame?

The Leo (Leonardo DiCaprio) rumors have been there for years. But time after time, they insist that they are just friends. Best friends, but friends nonetheless. However, there is the issue of "the ring." See, Winslet is famous for constantly wearing two rings. One was her marriage band, the other is a ring given to her post-Titanic by Leo with an inscription on the inside that no one but he and she have ever read. And then you have the Golden Globes acceptance speech. She cried, composed herself, and then lost it again while thanking Leo. Do you remember? And where did her husband fall in the speech? Interesting.

And all of this is on the heels of countless interviews where Winslet talked openly about how horrifying it was for her to film Revolutionary Road because she had to have a love scene with Leo while her husband watched and directed. Apparently, both men assured her they were not bothered by the situation, but Winslet openly admits that she was freaking the hell out.

I know, I know. It's unlikely. In all honesty, I'm sure it's just a simple, sad case of a marriage that slowly, even calmly, fell apart. But, in a way, it would be less depressing if that wasn't true. Sometimes, it's harder to see things just die than watch something new grow up in its place. Either way, I'm sad for Sam and Kate and their kids and I wish them all well. And I wish the Oscar Curse would go away.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

The Oscars approach-eth.

And yes, I'm well aware that they are, for lack of a better term, a sack of horse shit. They are not an accurate measure of a film's worth or the strength of a performance.

But despite my high-brow, crusty exterior, I have a heart for shallow spectacle. I mean, the glitz alone is enough. Couple that with the LARGE quantities of Champagne that I will be consuming with Sleight and Paddy Sunday night and well...is there anything better?

So, here's the deal. Sunday, while under the influence of alcohol and with the help of my two guest snark-ers, I will pre-write the Oscar fashion blog.

But for now...it's prediction time. I have been printing and filling out Oscar ballots for years. Since late middle school at least. And I have to warn you: I have never lost in an Oscar pool. Ever. So, if you want to challenge me, go for it. But don't bet more than you are willing to lose. Because I will beat you.

Leanne's Oscar Ballot:

Here are the rules I place on myself for my Oscar Ballot predictions. First, I fill out a ballot ON MY OWN. I do NOT look at any outside sources. Then, after I have made my choices, I look at a few other "prediction ballots." However, I don't study them. I simply look to see where there is the most "contention." And DO PLEASE NOTE that this is one of the first times in a long time where things are not cut and dry. There are several categories that are so "tight" that not even the critics/specialists are sure who will win. A * will denote such categories.

So, in summary, these are largely my picks with only some outside influence:

Best Actor-Jeff Bridges/Crazy Heart

Best Supporting Actor- Christopher Waltz/Inglourious Basterds

Best Actress-Sandra Bullock/The Blind Side

Best Supporting Actress-Mo'Nique/Precious

Sound Editing-Avatar
Sound Mixing-Avatar

Visual Effects-Avatar
Film Editing*-The Hurt Locker
Cinematography*-Avatar (P.S. This is THE closest one besides Best Picture. NO ONE knows who will win this).

Costume Design*-The Young Victoria
Makeup*-Star Trek
Art Direction-Avatar

Original Score- UP
Original Song-The Weary Kind (Theme from 'Crazy Heart')

Screenplay Original*- Inglourious Basterds
Screenplay Adapted- Up in the Air

Documentary Feature- The Cove
Documentary Short-China's Unnatural Disaster

Animated Feature- UP
Animated Short-A Matter of Loaf and Death

Best Foreign Language Film-The White Ribbon (Although...I would like to interject that Un Prophete looks soooooo good and I can NOT wait to see it).

Best Short Film- Kavi

Directing-Kathryn Bigelow/The Hurt Locker

Best Picture*-

This last one requires a lengthy explanation. Because this year, Best Picture is a tricky little bitch. See, The Academy increased the number of Best Picture nominees this year from 5 to 10. Now, on the surface, this looks like a good decision. You effectively open the category up to contention from other "genres" of films. So instead of picking the 5 "Most Dramatic" movies and putting them on a ballot (which is how it has always been), now....a comedy, a sci-fi/action flick, or even animation could have the potential to win (this years examples: "District 9," "UP," "Avatar" are all nominated for BP).

But if you think it through, things start to fall apart. I mean, what's always the complaint when some third party/Libertarian/Ron Paul candidate funds a run for the Presidency? "He'll split the independent vote!" And, in the same way, that's what you have happening here. Because while there are 10 Nominees, there are only really two that stand a chance to win. And now, renegade voters have more distractions. If they just can't pick between Avatar and The Hurt Locker, they decide to throw a bone to Inglourious Basterds. Or they're mad that these two are getting more recognition than the film they really loved which was Up in the Air. And so on and so forth.

Tricky, right? For weeks now, Avatar and The Hurt Locker have been battling back and forth. And no one knows for sure how the voting will settle out. So, it really is anyone's game. I won't be surprised if Avatar wins. Really, I won't. But with the race this close, this may be the year to take a risk.

Which requires another explanation. If the Oscars had been a month ago, Avatar would have won. No doubt. I mean, it won best picture at the Golden Globes which is usually a pretty strong predictor for the Oscars.

But since the GG's and my Avatar post three weeks ago, there have been the BAFTA's, CAS's, WGA's, ACE's and Art Director's Guild Awards. That's a lot of really prestigious awards. And the Hurt Locker has won them all.

But here's the final problem. The Hurt Locker also just stepped in it. No really. They fucked up. They got bitch slapped by the Academy because one of their producer's started an online/internet "smear" campaign getting people to vote for "The Hurt Locker" and bashing "Avatar." And while you can certainly campaign in more secretive, subversive and nefarious ways, the Academy forbids outright solicitation. And Hollywood is a town of consequences. If you piss the wrong people off, they will let you know. Which begs the question: how will this affect the strong feelings everyone was beginning to develop for The Hurt Locker? Will they punish the film by now going back and supporting Avatar? Will they put the little film that could back in the corner for presuming it had the right to openly challenge via. internet campaign James Cameron? They have already banned the producer from even attending the awards.

The Hurt Locker is the underdog. I repeat, it is the underdog. Avatar will surely win. Because people are stupid. Really, really stupid. But sometimes, a girl HAS to dream. So here's to hoping.

Best Picture-The Hurt Locker