Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Meh......


By now you've probably seen the trailer for "Sex and the City 2". I'm a huge fan of the series. But this sequel is just unnecessary. What more can they tell? This story is over and done with. I have to say though, I'll be there opening week watching. Just because I've loved these characters for years. And that's why they are making this movie. To get 12 bucks from me and others like me!!!!

At least EW has a funny few lines about the trailer.

Monday, December 14, 2009

2009 Movies So far


Is 2009 a good year for movies? Well it sure ain't 1999. But with 2 weeks to go there are several movies that I liked. Here goes:

The Hurt Locker. What an amazing jolting experience. Probably the best war movie ever.
(500 Days of Summer). Everyone who's ever had their heart broken will get and love this movie.
District 9. It was different and exciting.
An Education. A slight story but very well told and those performances. Everyone was right on from Mulligan's star turn to Thompson's bit part.
Julie and Julia. So very charming. Meryl as usual was astounding and had great chemistry with Tucci. And unlike most everybody I didn't mind the Amy Adams parts.
Precious. Powerful and haunting.
Up in the Air. Very topical. Clooney and Farmiga are the year's screen couple.

Still looking forward to Avatar, Nine, The Lovely Bones and It's Complicated. Have not yet caught Invictus, The Road, The Messenger or The Fantastic Mr Fox.

The movies that disappointed were Bright Star, Where the Wild Things are and A Single Man.

One last thought. While a lot of these movies were bleak, there was also a lot of charm and good times. Even the harrowing story of Precious had a hopeful streak throughout.

In Praise of the Front Runners

A few critics organizations announced their year end awards the last couple of days. New York, LA, San Francisco, Boston and others. And some consensus has emerged in many of the main categories.

I was happy to see that Mo'Nique won Best Supporting Actress from almost all these organizations. She was powerful and captivating in that role and deserves all the accolades. Other work in that category pales besides this performance.

Sometimes a supporting performance dominates a film so much leading to awards galore for the actor. It happened with Jennifer Hudson in "Dreamgirls" and Javier Bardem in "No Country for Old Men". It will happen this year for Mo'Nique. And it could happen to Christoph Waltz from "Inglorious Basterds". He had the most memorable character in a movie full f memorable characters. And he took full advantage of that and turned in a dazzling performance that stays with you long after the movie has ended.

I was also happy to see "The Hurt Locker" win so many Best Film and Best Director for Kathryn Bigelow citations. It is in my opinion the best movie of the year. And up there as one of the best war movies if not the best ever. It is why I love movies. Tells a story that resonates and tells it very well.

Here's to these front runners. Congratulations.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

A beautiful dull single man


I was really excited to see "A Single Man". The trailer was great, probably the best trailer of the year. So excited, because of the trailer, I blogged about this movie three times. Also I felt an obligation as a gay man. It was made by a contemporary gay icon, based on a book by a literary gay icon and full of beautiful men. I had to be there opening night. So I rallied the troops, gathered friends together and off to the Chelsea Clearview we went.

I settled in to be amazed. I was ready for it. 10 minutes in, still waiting. 20 minutes in, still waiting. 30 minutes in, one of my friends says" this is just terrible, isn't it?". I was not ready to give up yet. So I defended the movie and said "it looks gorgeous", which it did. It ended and I still was not ready to give up. The four of us went to dinner. 2 clearly hated it, one liked it very much but mainly because he thinks Colin Firth is "the ideal man". I was on the fence. This was supposed to be great. The new great gay movie. Off we discussed through dinner. I was defending at the beginning. But I could not go on, the points made against it were right. The best I could muster was "look we are still talking about it, 2 hours later". Yeah right.

Then I had to face the facts. This movie was just not good. It was boring, unlikeable, could not build empathy with its lead character. It was a magazine photo spread come to dull life. But everything and everyone look so beautiful. A little too beautiful. Every end table, every painting, every dress, every necktie....gorgeous but no life. Really Tom Ford, hustlers who lurk about outside liquor stores look like fashion models?

Clearly Ford was influenced by Wong Kar Wei and Alomodovar. Two of my favourite directors. You could see that in many frames of the movie. But this script he wrote and these characters, were just bad. And no abundance of beautiful images could save this movie.

Firth was OK. He had one great scene. His Oscar clip obviously. When he receives news on the phone that his lover dies and his face completely crumbles before our eyes. But I did not find myself empathizing with him or with his his loss. He just seemed smug and the relationship with the dead lover, told in flashback, was very Mills and Boone. All pseudo intellectual banter by the fireplace and no real passion.

And why is Julianne Moore getting all this awards buzz? She was hardly in the movie. Okay she does a credible English accent. But the character is despicable. Even misogynist. A has been party girl still pinning for her gay friend. Pinning so much he insults him and his relationship? Just didn't get her.

Sorry Tom Ford. I was ready and willing to love your movie and then shout it from the rooftops. But no you had to go and make this beautiful boring piece of crap, despite your talent. Maybe next time? To paraphrase another Isherwood character, Sally Bowles. "It's gotta happen, happen sometime". Try again.

Monday, December 7, 2009

"Desire" in Brooklyn


A Streetcar Named Desire is a boring play, isn't it? I can see why actors love it. All those long speeches and fiery dramatic gestures. No wonder Blanche is to actresses what Hamlet is to actors, the holy grail of roles.

So why did I go see it? One reason and one reason only. Cate Blanchett. Only the best actress living today. No best actress ever. Hyperbole? No, just my own personal opinion.

So how was it? The play was pretty boring and long. But the acting was fantastic. Cate as Blanche took my breath away. She built up the character. At the beginning I was like: is this it? It was too subtle for Blanche. But as the play went on so did the performance building up into a crescendo of emotion. Amazing. Her scenes at the end with Stanley were so rieviting. I could not take my eyes off of Cate. Nor did I want to. I was afraid I'd miss anything.

And she had excellent support. Joe Edergton as Stanley was carnal and explosive while Robin McLeavy brought a much needed earthiness to Stella. It contrasted well with Blanche's flightiness. And Edergton and McLeavy were dynamite together; you got why they could not take their hands off of each other. The weak link was Tim Richards as Mitch, his accent didn't work and he was outmatched in his scenes with Blanchett.

Liv Ullman's direction was subtle. But she made this Blanche's story. Maybe because Blanchett so dominates.

On a personal note. We had the worst seats in the house and my companion actually left during intermission because of the uncomfortable "bar stools" that masqueraded as seats at the Harvey Theatre. But I was enthralled because of Blanchett. Not the play, just Blanchett. Please do another play in NYC soon. Something modern and funny next time.

5 Random Thoughts about "Up in the Air".


"Up in the Air' is a major player in the year end Awards game. And deservedly so. A movie that is completely of this year and this time. But is also a complex character study of three fascinating fictional people. And it is full of smaller characters that make it just a little bit better.


1. Everyone is saying that George Clooney is the quintessential movie star here. Affable, charming, sexy and irresistible. They are right. But more than that he makes this despicable character very very likable. Even the scenes that would be awkward with another actor are easy on the audience with George.

2. Why isn't Vera Farmiga a major movie star yet? She should be and I think after this she will be. Here she is warm, witty and oh so very sexy. But more than that, she holds the screen, I couldn't take my eyes off of her. She made every scene she was in more alive. She played off Clooney fantastically well, they should work together again. Very soon.

3. Anna Kendrick is deservedly getting accolades for her performance. She was no Vera to me, but held her own. She got to deliver a lot of very emotional scenes and was great. Wound a little too much though.

4. The scene between Vera and Anna where they play two sides of the same person: the young mid 20s who's full of dreams and the mature mid 30s who has seen it all and is ready to compromise. What a fantastically well written and acted scene. Worth the price of admission on its own.

5. The ending. Not a fan. Also the montages with real people, kinda hit and miss. I didn't like the underlying message I got: if you don't have a nuclear family you're basically fucked.


All in all a great movie. Definitely check it out.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

The Great Unsettler


"The Hurt Locker" is intense, thrilling, unsettling and probably the best movie of the year. Why did I wait so long to watch it? Not a fan of war movies in general but this is fantastic.

It is a real portrayal of a few men at war. Living at the edge between life and death and how they get through that. Jeremy Renner is a revelation as Sgt. James the leader of the bomb squad. James is full of bravado and dangerous according to his squad-mates. But he has to be to survive this situation : going in to defuse a dozen bombs every day. The movie takes you inside his mind, you get to see where he gets his courage but also how unhinged he can become. Frighteningly real portrait. Anthony Mackie and Brian Geraghty are equally good as the two other squad members. The former a cautious by the book man who is hoping to get through the last 38 days of his mission. The latter a scared young man who knows all too well that he can die at any second.

This movie is awesome. Actually merits using that ubiquitous and awful word. Kathryn Bigelow has made the best movie about the war in Iraq. Although its themes are not particular to that war but universal. It does not comment on the politics of this war but rather tells the story of the everyday minutiae of surviving any war.

I left the theatre exhilarated, moved and thoughtful. This is a very smart movie. See it now.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

The Wrestler 2: It’s a Country Song!

All I can say is seriously. Seriously? This is the Best Actor Oscar winning performance for 2009? At least that is what most of the Oscar pundits are saying. I can see why. Mickey Rourke was nominated last year and Robert Duvall won many years ago for basically the same story. Granted, what do I know and I have only seen the trailer. But this is just boring and predictable. It looks like it follows the plot of The Wrestler and countless other movies, to a tee. A n’er do well middle aged man on his journey to redemption. And it contains one of my pet peeve plots: a beautiful young woman falling in love with an older loser. Totally misogynist and a male writer/director's ultimate fantasy.

Look I like Jeff Bridges. I’ve liked him for years and enjoyed his performances in many films. From “Against All Odds” to “The Fabulous Baker Boys” to “The Big Lewboski”, he has always been compelling to watch. I saw “Starman” 3 times and cried my heart out every time (granted I was a little kid then, but still). I just don’t think this mediocre looking movie should be what wins Best actor this year. Particularly following “Capote”, “There Will Be Blood” and “Milk”; all superlative filmmaking achievements.

Well it’s only the trailer; maybe the movie would be better. Doubt it, though. And I’ll have to see this drivel if I want to make an informed decision on who’s going to win.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Getting excited about "Nine"


Earlier this year Nine was my most eagerly awaited movie. I love and follow the Oscars religiously and the stars of this movie have 20 nominations and 7 Oscars among them. They are actors I loved and admired and rooted for : Daniel Day Lewis, Nicole Kidman, Sophia Loren, Penelope Cruz, and Marion Cotillard. There is also Fergie and the queen of bad rom-coms and movie star spawn Kate Hudson. No to mention I love musicals. Particularly modern ones. I've enjoyed the movie versions of "Dreamgirls", "Hairspray", "Chicago" and even the uneven "Rent". However my enthusiasm cooled off. Maybe because the movie was postponed to December making the wait even longer. Maybe I just could not see Day Lewis as a song and dance man. Maybe "A Single Man" and "The Lovely Bones" trailers just looked better. Maybe I don't think it will surpass "Precious" and "An Education", 2 movies that had superlative performances that could quench my thirst for "Oscar" bait.

Then this rehearsal footage was released. Check it out below. I am getting excited again.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Remembering a fleeting moment

It is very funny sometimes what moments in our lives we remember and hold dearly. Is it true that happiness is remembered rather than lived?

Every time I hear the song "Chasing Cars" I remember a moment of true bliss. Early in the morning on a Sunday waking up next to the one I love. And this is what he said:
If I lay here
If I just lay here
Would you lie with me
And just forget the world?

The song was a favourite of ours. But at that moment it became of serenity and happiness. Did I realize at that moment that I was happy? I don't think so. Now I know I was. Does the fact that the relationship ended add to my nostalgia. Absolutely.

Another moment was years ago with my sister. We were by the river, under a bridge In London, laughing. We were both at a crossroads in our lives. But the moment was all about the promise we both had for the future. Looking back I see that I was truly happy. I just wish I knew it then.

Happiness, a funny thing, eh?

Monday, November 9, 2009

Looking Back : Best of 2000


Both the Times of London and Daily Telegraph have come up with lists about the best films of 00’s. Several blogs started compiling lists too and I thought I’d join in the fray. This entry started as a comment on awardsdaily.com.

My take is a little different. I am writing about the movies that both touched me the most at the time and stayed with me throughout the years.

You Can Count on Me is the movie I return to time and again from 2000. A finely calibrated drama between brother and sister, it touches and breaks my heart every time I see it.
At the time Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon was the most amazing thing I've seen on the silver screen. I whopped with joy at the fantastical sword fighting scenes, but the story and the performances got me too. It was the movie that made me realize Ang Lee was one of the best directors working in contemporary cinema.

Billy Elliot was the best movie for 2000 for me at the time. What a beautifully told story about the things that matter to all of us: family, identity and wanting to take charge of our lives. I must have it at least 5 times in the theatre. I was so moved by how it handled the sexual identity of Billy's friend Michael. So subtle and moving. As I was coming out to my family that year it resonated the most with me.

And then there is In the Mood for Love. I lived in North Carolina at the time and I don’t think it played in theatres there. But I read so much about it that I bought the DVD when it came out. Wow. Lovely, heartbreaking and such a moody unique piece of cinema. In its non-linear and unconventional way, it must be one of the best loves stories on film.

I will update year by year.
Looking back at 2000, what are some of your favorite movies? As a reminder here is a partial list, noted the 5 best picture Oscar nominees:

Almost Famous
Amores Perros
Before Night Falls
Billy Elliott
Best in Show
Chocolat (Oscar Nominee)
Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon (Oscar Nominee)
Croupier
Dancer in the Dark
Erin Brockovich (Oscar Nominee)
Gladiator (Oscar Winner)
High Fidelity
Memento
Quills
Requiem for a Dream
Sunshine
Traffic (Oscar Nominee)
Wonder Boys
You Can Count on Me

Sunday, November 8, 2009

The most gorgeous trailer of the year


I've written about Tom Ford's "A Single Man" before. A new version of the trailer was released this weekend. Still gorgeous, still really interesting. Based on this I just can't wait to see the movie even though it doesn't really tell me what it's about. It reflects a mood and world I want to be in.

I've always thought Colin Firth is kind of boring. Hopefully Tom Ford has drawn out of him something new. Julianne Moore is always interesting to watch. There are a also a few up and comers in the cast : Ginnifer Goodwin from "Big Love", Matthew Goode and the little kid from "About A Boy" all grown up, Nicholas Hoult. Hoult was just recognized by no less than the grey lady herself as a breakout star for this Holiday season.

This is now at the top of my must see list.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

A Few Thoughts on "Precious"


Caution : Contains minor spoilers.

"Precious" is totally worth the hype. It is also sobering yet hopeful, a heavy drama that kicks you straight in the guts but still you leave feeling better for it.

It is not a very easy movie to watch. There is a lot of dark drama going on : abuse, incest, poverty. However there are also laughs, love and poignant moments. Most importantly there is hope throughout this story, you are pulling for Precious to make it through. Yes the changes to her life are not that significant by the end but you believe she's stronger and that there will be joy in her life.

And those performances. Mo'Nique is simply astonishing. She is so powerful and strong in building this character that she looms over the whole movie. I felt her presence even in the scenes where she was absent. Gabourey Sidibe is equally good although her performance has a definitive arc similar to Precious'. It goes from subdued to still subtle but strong as Precious goes from meek to willful. And who would've thought the star of Glitter had this in her. Mariah Carey is very effective in her few scenes. Paula Patton does the best with what I thought was a difficult part. I guess with all the grimness the teacher had to angelically perfect.

A lot has been said about the fantasy sequence and the sometimes jarring editing. However I found that both enhanced the story and moved it forward. Who doesn't escape to a fantasy where things are better when they are feeling down? And Precious needs to go there a lot more than most of us to escape her reality.

I also love that this movie and story stayed true to its heroine's circumstances. There was no knight in shinning armor and more importantly no white savior. We did not have a "white" guide through the movie as the case is almost always with movies with African and Black themes.

This is a very powerful piece of film making. I saw it a week ago and it is still very vivid in my mind.

And a movie that has this line "My favorite color is fluorescent beige" can't be all bad.

The most awful movie of the year?


I know that I should not give that label to a film I have not seen yet. But I think "The Blind Side" deserves it. Check out the trailer. It looks terrible. Saccharine, sappy, slow and you get the whole story from the trailer. No need to watch the movie. And do we really need another movie where an underprivileged black person gets a white savior? So 4 decades ago. I know it is kind of a true story but just because Sandra Bullock wants to win an Oscar we should not be subjected to this.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Precious based on the novel Push by Sapphire


What a title. And what a movie. The buzz is deafening. It has been going on for months, since the movie wowed audiences and won prizes at the Sundance Film Festival back in January. I am very excited to see it tonight but also overwhelmed by the media coverage. If you are like me i.e. read a half dozen movie blogs, in addition to EW, NYTimes and New York Magazine. Then you’ve been constantly reading about this movie. Here are some of the stories I read :
- shoo-in for best picture at the Oscars, this year’s Slumdog Millionaire
- Mo’Nique will win an Oscar
- Mo'Nique is being difficult and has lost the Oscar (the one she has not been nominated for yet).
- Lee Daniels (the director) is a genius.
- Lee Daniels is arrogant and is alienating everyone
- The movie is racist.
- The movie is uplifting.
- The movie is worse than Norbit!!!!! (Thank you for this gem Armond White).
- Critics love the movie.
- Critics hate the movie and what does this mean for its Oscar chances?
- Mariah Carey might get an Oscar nomination (and I have a chance to win the Nobel).
- Mariah Carey “uglified” herself for this movie.
- Mariah Carey’s rep denies that her moustache in the movie is “real”.

All of this does not matter if Precious is as good as it looks like in the trailer. So I rallied the troops and Union Square here we come. Tonight at 730 all will be revealed.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

My Favorite Movie of the Year : (500) Days of Summer


I’ve been meaning to write about this for a couple of months now. I'm happy to finally get around to it. I’ve seen it twice so far and can’t wait for the DVD release. And believe it or not it was better the second time around.

(500) Days of Summer is a fantastic movie. Without doubt the best romantic comedy to come along in a long time. What makes it so good is that it is devoid of clichés in a genre known for clichés. Sure boy meets girl cute, boy falls in love with girl. But that is it. All that comes after that is fresh, new and most importantly feels a lot like what happens in real life. Things don’t go from cute to happily ever after. Sometimes they do not. What the movie says is that love is an accident; it may or may not happen.

Smart and sharply written dialogue. Very distinct in shaping out these characters. The first time I saw it I was totally on Tom’s (Joseph Gordon Levitt) side. The second time I understood Summer (Zooey Deschanel) better. I went from what’s wrong with her, can’t she see he’s the best thing that will ever happen to her to, you know what sometimes the heart wants what it wants. Exactly what happens in real life.

And these performances. Watching Gordon-Levitt come alive in this movie is witnessing a star being born. I know he’s been around for a while, but this is a new side of him. He emerges a funny and charming leading man. Deschanel has the more difficult role. The movie is told from Tom’s point of view. But she holds her own, you understand why Tom would fall for her and more importantly get why she does not fall for him. (These are not spoilers, you know how their story unfolds within the first few minutes).

Watch out for day 489. Devastating. If your heart has ever been broken, you’ll feel the pain. Right in your gut. Everyone who has ever asked themselves “why not me, you idiot?”, will know exactly what I’m talking about.

Did I bring you down? Don’t be sad. Here is the most joyful scene in the movie. Click away, your smile will back in no time.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Modern Family - An Appreciation


Modern Family must be the funniest new show on TV. Laugh out loud funny. Yet it is so relate able while being very smart.

Just watch the latest episode. You'll laugh but also you'll recognize these characters as true and honest. The dynamics in the relationships, mother to daughter, sister to brother, husband to wife, across generations are so true and honest.

Look at the one short scene in this episode between Julie Bowen and Jesse Tyler Ferguson as the adult siblings. For less than 2 minutes they chat about their parents. And in that short period you learn the complete history of this family. It is funny, brilliant and tells so much in such an economical fashion. Wow.

And what a cast. From the stars to the secondary characters to the guests, this is an ensemble that works like a charm. Lovely!

Watch it now and have a super super time.

Monday, September 21, 2009

5 Random Thoughts about "Bright Star".


So I saw Jane Campion's Bright Star this weekend. I was really looking forward to it, however I was totally disappointed despite the rave reviews I read.


1. Abbie Cornish is fantastic in it. Carried the movie on her shoulders, she is immensely watchable. She is particularly excellent in a devastatingly emotional scene at the end of the movie.


2. This movie looks gorgeous. It is like it was made by a painter. Every scene is a beautiful canvass. The lighting, the setting, the vistas...all beautiful. Check out the scene where Cornish sits on a bed by an open window while the wind blows a curtain towards her. I have not seen a more lyrically beautiful scene this year.


3. Ben Whishaw underwhelms. I think he looks the part, all small and handsomely sickly. But he did not deliver. I did not believe for a moment that he was passionate about anything, not Cornish, not poetry.


4. There were a few other good performances. Both Kerry Fox and Paul Schneider were good. And Edie Martin who played the young sister Toots, was a charming presence.


5. But that screenplay. This movie was long, dull and boring. Yes beautiful to look at with a couple of emotional moments, but it took forever and a day. I was never more bored at the movies this year. Dull, dull, dull.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Tom Ford made a movie!


Uber-celebrity designer and former Gucci honcho Tom Ford, presented his directorial debut at the Venice film festival a few days ago. It is called "A Single Man" and stars Colin Firth as a gay college professor in L.A. contemplating suicide after the death of his partner. Julianne Moore stars as his friend who still carries a torch for him.

You can see from the trailer that the movie looks exquisitely beautiful and that Ford is in love with the male form. That's so surprise, however the buzz from Venice is that it's a good movie too. It's a major contender for the grand prize, the Golden Lion and reviews have been good to excellent. I love what the Times of London, said "....It looks like a Wallpaper magazine photo shoot styled by Douglas Sirk". High praise indeed. It also apparently gives Firth the best role of his career and Moore her best role in years.

Could Ford be the next big gay auteur? Watch out Gus Van Sant.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

The Song of the Fall


So I was hoping that Whitney will rule the fall and have the biggest comeback. Unfortunately her album is not diva enough, it's just mediocre. There are a couple of OK mid-tempo songs (Alicia Keyes' penned Million Dollar Bill & For the Lovers). But the rest, save for a cover of Donny Hathaway's Your Song, are not memorable.


So who is going to rule the fall? I'm betting on Leona Lewis. Her new song Happy is bombastic and totally diva and has all the right moves. I've heard it more than 10 times in the last few days. On facebook and twitter it is being mentioned like crazy.
Even Perez Hilton endorsed it. And while I hate to follow a trend started by him, I have to say I think he is right this time.
This song delivers. Expect to hear it everywhere, well into 2010.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Let the Hype Begin!


There is a new Susan Boyle in the house. Let's hear it for Danyl. The new IT boy. Why? Because of fantastic, brilliant audition on the X-Factor in England.

The audition is all over youtube, on twitter and the buzz is building. Come Monday TV will definitely pick up on him. In a couple of days time, he'll be what everyone is talking about.

What we know so far: he's 27, a music and drama teacher from Reading and bi-sexual. He has lots of talent, is very charismatic and likes to jump around the stage a lot while he sings.

I've watched the audition more than 5 times now. Go Danyl, the new God of the pop culture universe.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Madonna is 51!


Can you believe it? In a tribute to this game changer here are my top 5 Madonna songs:

5. Ray of Light - because it was a new direction and probably her most accomplished song musically.
4. True Blue - just love it. Don't know why.
3. Like A Virgin - my introduction to her music. And because it was daring to brazenly sing about sex in the early 80's.
2. Like A Prayer - because I always find myself humming it.
1. Vogue - because of that iconic video.

Here's a good article from a blog I follow.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Very Cool


The first image from Jim Cameron's Avatar has been released. This has just shot up my most anticipated fall movies list!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Sexy Diane


I saw Diane von Furstenberg give a talk last week in a corporate setting. It was fascinating. She was witty, funny and immensely watchable.

What I found surprising was that her speech was full of sex. Usually businesswomen, particularly in a corporate setting, totally ignore sex. They are all sexless beings. They have to be to combat sexism and protect the merit of their accomplishments. Not Diane.

She told us about her boss, who "had a crush" on her and helped her. About how she tried to "seduce" bankers to back her business. And throughout she mentioned how beautiful she looked, whenever she showed a picture of her. And there were lots of pictures of her, looking glamorous. She did not shy away from describing how the dresses she makes are supposed to accentuate a woman's body; make her sexy.

It was a refreshing point of view. Totally in tune with her industry and personality. It just was new in that setting for me; a sometimes corporate drone.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

NYC's Hanging Gardens


Is it the hanging gardens of the west side? No, it's just the High Line. But it's still amazing. And gorgeous. And different.

Yes it's not really a park, though it has benches (some even move a little bit) and some greenery. But it's a beautiful space that gives you a new view of the city. Panoramic vistas of streets that you are used to walking in and seeing, just not from this angle. Go at night to appreciate the lights on the buildings around it. Go when the sun is shinning to get a new look at the west side and its architecture.

Another reason to love living in Chelsea. Go today!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Katie Holmes' Comeback?


The trailer for the Sundance sensation "An Education" is out. It stars British newcomer Carey Mulligan, left, who is getting serious Oscar buzz. However all I could think of while watching this clip is how much she looks like Katie Holmes. It's uncanny! Mulligan has been compared to Audrey Hepburn, but I say Katie all the way.

As for the movie I have to say this clip is disappointing. I don't get what the fuss is all about. But I'll keep the faith until I hear otherwise since the buzz is deafening.

Joy Joy Joy


We now know what Cate is doing next. Yay. She will star as Lady Edwina Mountbatten in Joe Wright's next project "Indian Summer."It is based on a true story and could be a great showcase for my beloved Cate. It's another period piece and while she has been in many of those, they fit her. So it should be interesting.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

RIP MJ

Here my favourite video of Michael's. And it's about Naomi's legs. Aren't they to die for? Gorgeous.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Trailer Bonanza


A few trailers came out this week. I thought I'd give them all short reviews:


Shutter Island : the new Scorsese/DiCaprio collaboration. Looks moody, creepy and totally fun. Love that Scorsese is back to making genre movies. DiCaprio should be good as a put-upon grown-up a la Departed & Rev Road. Mark Ruffalo doesn't appear much in the trailer but I hope this a good showcase for this under-rated actor. Ben Kingsley is heavily featured in this: hope it is not another hammy performance for this way over-rated actor.


The Time Traveller's Wife : this could be very poignant and romantic or pure schmaltz. Rachel McAdams and Eric Bana look delicious but for some reason I'm not buying that they are in love. I miss the Mean Girl Rachel! I think it will be totally schmaltzy and a big miss.


Creation : Or THIS IS A VERY IMPORTANT MOVIE ABOUT IMPORTANT THINGS. Just looks totally awful. Don't think I need to say more.



500 Days of Summer : I've posted about this movie before. Can't wait. It looks so charming. I just want hug it, if i can. I still think this will be loved by many people. This new international trailer gives more context to the story and characters. Who would've thought that the kid from 3 Rocks from the Sun would grow up to be a romantic lead. Mark your calendars July 17th, we have a cute date.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Catching up with Summer Movies

For a movie blogger I've been very bad this summer. Hardly saw any of the summer movies. But finally catching up. Saw Hangover last week. Review coming soon. This weekend I'll get to Star Trek (finally!) and Away We Go. More and more it looks like Terminator:Salvation & Wolverine will have to wait for DVD. And I will never see Pelham 1,2, 3 or the Eddie Murphy kiddie flick, whatever it's called.

Looks like a very blah summer season.

What are you going to see this weekend?

Monday, June 8, 2009

NPH closes the Tony fabulously!


Did you catch the Tonys last night? If you haven't you didn't miss much. Billy Elliot won almost everything, including best actor in a musical for its 3 young stars who were charming and awkward in their acceptance speech; they are 14 & 15 after all. God of Carnage was best play while its star Marcia Gay Harden won best actress in a play and gave a gracious speech correcting the show's director who mixed up her competition; the stars of Mary Stuart.

The musical numbers mostly underwhelmed plus there were major mic problems. The opening number was huge and included participation from almost every musical currently on Broadway. Besides Bret Michaels maybe breaking his nose, the highlight was the number from Hair. It was riotous, loud and glee inducing. The cast came back later in the show and brought the house down. Everybody on that show has hair, including the producer!

But the best thing about the show was Neil Patrick Harris' closing number. I kinda was wondering why they chose him to host when he wasn't really used that much during the show. Besides a few jokes here and there, the best thing about him was his shiny suit. Then he closed the show with a parody of the show set to the tune of Tonight from West Side Story. Everything was up for a joke, from Elton and Liza to the Golden Globes. Watch it and laugh.

Review : Star Trek


We have our first ever guest reviewer : Jean Tsai of Mindful Eats.

Since Murtada hasn't seen Star Trek yet, he has given me the honor of reviewing it.

Star Trek is fun! It is usually torture for me to be inside when the weather is nice, and it was a PERFECT spring evening when I saw the movie. But it was so fun, I let go of my anger - I was so involved with the movie I was sad when it ended. Star Trek isn't a classic - but it's great, nonstop action with likable acting and an engaging storyline. You definitely want to see it on the big screen for the full special effects. I liked the original TV series, but it doesn't really matter if you did or not. Zoe Suldana does a knock out job as Uhura, and all the other actors are solid and adorable. Having Leonard Nimoy back is enjoyable too, even if it's not his best performance. Some people might complain that it's derivative of Star Wars, but I think it's just allegorical. There are definitely nods to the Jedi classics, but I see them as homages rather than rip-offs. The plot has a certain cleverness to it. SPOILER ALERT AHEAD: The time travel element is rather tiresome, so don't get in a twist about it and just overlook the trite annoyingness so you can enjoy. The one good thing about the time travel is that cleverly invalidates all the TV series (including the originals) and the movies before it as an alternate reality. So now we can look forward to the sequels! Live long and prosper everyone.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

New Julie and Julia poster


It's cool. Not as inventive as the first poster but highlights the stars i.e the main attraction.


Thanks Bill for sending.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Warms My Heart


Apparently Maya Rudolph is the best thing about "Away We go". She's getting rave reviews. I've always liked her and thought she was the most natural and inventive actor of the SNLers.

Hope this is the start of a brilliant cinematic career.

Monday, June 1, 2009

June Movies



Looking forward to The Hangover and Away We Go this month. Besides the buzz and the reviews, I'll tell you why.

The Hangover just looks like dumb fun, every summer has one of those: There's Something About Mary, The 40 Year Old Virgin, Wedding Crashers. I never saw Old School, because i don't like Will Ferrell's juvenile humour but I'm willing to give director Todd Phillips another chance. The trailer of course looks very funny. And happy to see Bradley Cooper get a lead role.

Sam Mendes is the number one reason I'm looking forward to Away We Go. True American Beauty has not stood the test of time. But Jarhead was underrated and The Road to Perdition a moody unique piece of cinema. And Revolutionary Road is a fantastic truthful film that contains the best acting of both Winslet's and DiCaprio's careers. All this plus Maya Rudolph in her first major film role and a script by Dave Eggers makes this a must-see.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Precious


Did you catch the trailer for Precious? It's been getting a lot of buzz since Sundance and was a smash at Cannes. The net is buzzing with its Oscar chances. First it was all about Monique for best supporting actress, now more buzz for best film, director and leading actress. Even Mariah Carey's supporting role is getting good notices. If the star of Glitter can be redeemed this must be a masterpiece.

Judging from the trailer, it looks gritty, uncomfortable and provocative. Which translates into good cinema for me. The actors uniformly look good, the buzz seems earned. The movie is not shying away from taboo subjects: incest, abuse, the state of social services. Not exactly happy sunny subjects but they could have the makings of a good story that is new and fresh. I'll be there opening weekend.

Short Review : Up


So I have never been a fan of animated movies in general and Pixar in particular. Never saw Finding Nemo or Ratatouille, thought Toy Story was meh and took the Wall-E dvd out after 10 minutes. The only one I really enjoyed was The Incredibles.

So a friend kinda dragged me to see Up last night. I was game on account of the good reviews and because I wanted to find out if I was missing something in skipping this genre. This movie opened Cannes, for goodness sake.

And again it was just meh. I have to admit the beginning was fantastic. How they set up the story and the characters is really cool. And there was this no-words few minutes that told the story of a marriage that was well made and had an economy of detail while being rich in emotion. After that though it was business as usual. Yes we have not seen someone travel by putting their house on balloons but the other elements of the story were familiar. Two characters, one a curmudgeon, the other sincere and annoying, are forced to join forces and in the process become friends and learn some life lessons. There is a villain and a few charming supporting characters. Been there, done that a thousand times.

Haaz Sleiman alert!


Haaz Sleiman is one of the main characters in the new Showtime series Nurse Jackie. And if that was not enough to make me watch, he apparently plays a gay guy who is Muslim and of Middle Eastern origins.

Hmm I am defiantly watching. Could there be someone on TV who has a lot of my own experiences? Never thought I'd see the day. Granted I'm only half Arab but it's close enough!

As for the show itself. It's OK. Edie Falco is as intense as ever and has a few good moments. The premise, a no-nonsense nurse in a big hospital, has some promise. And there are a few familiar and acclaimed actors, Eve Best, Dominic Fumusa, Anna Deavere Smith and Peter Facinelli in the cast.

But back to Haaz, on whom I had a crush since The Visitor. He only has a couple of scenes in the pilot. Including a sweet tender one with Falco on which he reminisces about cutting off his cheating boyfriend's torso. Watch the pilot here.

Monday, May 18, 2009

No Posts in a while

So much to post about. Trailers for Precious, The Road and Nine. Very exciting all. The news from Cannes. Can you believe what Lars Von Trier is saying.

Sorry I've been incommunicado. Updating soon.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Cate's 40 today.

Happy birthday to my favourite actress, Cate Blanchett. She turns 40 today.
I have liked her since Elizabeth. I wait expectantly for each new movie she's in. She never disappoints. Always exciting to watch on screen.

Elizabeth has to be my favourite role of hers. You watch a vital, full of energy and spark, star being born right in front of you on screen. I love her line reading "Do your worst Mr. Hughes" from The Aviator. And Her Meredith Logue in The Talented Mr. Ripley, never has casual snobbery been as fascinating . And how about Notes on a Scandal and I'm Not There. Even in less than stellar movies Like Charlotte Gray, Bandits and Heaven she shines.


Who else has the range to play Elizabeth the first and Bob Dylan in the same year? Here's to you, Cate the Great.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Funny Mother's Day!


Justin Timberlake was on SNL last night. As usual he was charismatic, engaging and fun to watch. The best thing though was the sequel to "dick in a Box", I think called "Motherlover". Collaborating again with Andy Samberg with cameos from Susan Sarandon & Patricia Clarkson, this was HILARIOUS!

Check it out here.

Why hasn't this charisma and comic timing translated into a movie career? Discuss.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Big Summer Movies


Not at all interested in "Woverine" or "Star Trek". Zzzzzzzzzz ...boring.

Terminator:Salvation is another story. The trailers look badass! And it's the kind of dark moody action movie that matches my sensibilities. Christian Bale is always interesting, although maybe not so much anymore.

And Sam Worthington starts his breakout year with this movie. He's also in Avatar this year and I'd like to be there just in case he's the new Action Hero!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Delightful!


Anytime there's a Meryl Streep movie out, is a time for joy. A few weeks ago the poster came out. It looks very different than anything I've seen recently. And it's catchy, eye pleasing and simple.

And more joy with the trailer. Just delightful. Not only Meryl, but the charming Amy Adams too. I've had a crush on her since Enchanted. And Stanley Tucci and Chris Messina. It just goes on. Hope the movie's as good.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

In an Apatow world

Full disclosure : I don't like Judd Apatow movies. I find them smug and unrealistic and the humour juvenile . I particularly did not like Knocked Up. I think an attractive, upwardly mobile woman like the Katherine Heigl character would simply get an abortion if she found herself in that situation. But probably would not because she would use protection or not sleep with the Seth Rogan character.

Anyway the reason for this rant is this very funny video. Apatow's world is an alternate reality, indeed!

Saturday, April 25, 2009

500 Days of Summer


So I'm really looking forward to this movie. It looks great. Something about a love story where the guy is the romantic pinning after a woman who's skeptical is a nice change from recent movies that have portrayed women as desperate and needy. Yes He's s Just Not That Into You, I mean you.

Plus the two leads, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Zooey Deschanel, are so likable. This is my bet to be this summer's sleeper, the movie that comes out of nowhere and ends up being talked about by everyone.

Check the trailer here.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Leaving NYC?

I never enjoy travelling outside of NYC. I've become one of those Manhattan snobs who never want to leave the island.

But I have to say I'm quite enjoying my trip to Seattle. I'm just sitting in a Tully's downtown scribbling on my laptop. It's nice to feel the energy of a different city for a little bit. Variety is good and makes one appreciate what they have.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Every Little Step


Wow is all I can say. Every Little Step is fantastic. It is a documentary of the audition process of the 2006 Broadway revival of A Chorus Line, interwoven with old and new interviews with the original cast and creators telling the story of how the show came about. And boy is there a better show to showcase the audition process than A Chorus Line!

While the historical context is interesting the part that makes the film great is the stories of the dancers and actors auditioning. Just like the actual show. From Broadway veterans to novices we get to know these people and what drives them. The movie captures the process, its joy and its agony, particularly for those who came so close but were ultimately not chosen. It's a hard life. We are always auditioning, not just for a job, for friends, for lovers, for life itself.

Is Kristin Scott Thomas the new Maggie Smith?


Easy Virtue looks really boring. The kind of stiff upper lip English comedy of manners that we've seen and been bored by a million times.

All that I could think of watching the trailer is when did Kristin Scott Thomas become Maggie Smith. How did this actress with a vital and sexy presence in such movies as Four Weddings, The English Patient and recently in French films like I've Loved You So Long and Tell No One, end up playing the shrewish marm. You know the character who's a staple of these kind of movies. Always sticking to rules and decorum, mining comedy out of being laughed at by the other characters. It is the role that Smith has perfected for years.

I guess KST is in that age group now. So it's her time to play second fiddle to Jessica Biel!!!! Say it isn't so.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Funny or not?


I can't decide whether 30 Rock is really funny or just very clever. I certainly watch every week (on Hulu since I'm addicted to Grey's Anatomy and don't have TIVO). However I never laugh out loud. I get the jokes, they are smart - Indigo Girls lyrics as a metaphor for the good life - the actors are uniformly good and appealing, the pace is snappy and gets my attention. But again I never laugh out loud.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Heaven, I'm in Heaven.........


And my heart beats so that I can hardly speak,
And I seem to find the happiness I seek,
When we're out together dancing, cheek to cheek.



Love the New Yorker! But what does this say about me when this news makes me feel the giddiest I have in a long time.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Is the fuss deserved?

As my friend JP says "this is so 4 days ago". But I wanted to chime in with my take on the latest youtube sensation Susan Boyle.

11 million hits since the weekend. Wow. But is this fame deserved? Yes she has a lovely voice and sang beautifully. But did our love for underdogs propel Susan to these massive heights of fame. It's a good story and that's why she became a sensation.

All I can say is, she's no Whitney.

Chect it out here if you haven't already.