Friday, January 28, 2011

The Trivial Pursuit: January 28th Edition

Sometimes there are weeks where I really wish I hadn't assigned this homework onto myself.  This is one of them.  I mean, come on!  I'm in the midst of a posting bonanza on Love & Squalor

Rumor has it Lady Gaga may be secretly engaged to boyfriend Luc Carl.  MTV UK reported this week that mystery sources are suggesting she may be making an announcement coinciding with he release of her next single "Born This Way" on February 13.  Following this rumor, however, it was reported that Gaga and Luc Carl got into a huge argument at a bowling alley about the engagement rumors.  So, who knows what's actually going on?  Only Gaga...  [source]

In additional Lady Gaga news, she's supposedly getting into the fragrance game, and wants her perfume to smell like "blood and semen."  Uh huh.  [source]

Jimmy Buffet fell off a stage during a performance and was hospitalized.  He's now stable.  [via TMZ]

Penelope Cruz gave birth to her first child with husband Javier Bardem.  It's a boy, and all that jazz.  [source]

Back in the day, Betty White used to model...nude.  Amazingly, she manages to make nude pin-ups look charming and quite innocent, like something every normal girl next door might go and do. [via Jezebel]

Charlie Sheen is doing all that idiotic stuff he's prone to do again.  This time it reportedly involved a "briefcase full of cocaine" delivered straight to his door, a 36-hour bender, a couple porn stars, and culminated in the actor's hospitalization following an early AM 911 call.  Things that are not surprising?  All of that.  [via TMZ]

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

UK's Trash = Still Classier than MTV's Teen Moms

The UK's Channel 4 recently introduced a program called My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding, a rare glimpse into the secretive lives of Britain's demonized traveling minority.  For those not in the know, gypsies (gypos, pikeys, etc) are literally just that: descendants of Romani and Irish traveling groups who maintain their heritage via the propagation of large families and bohemian, communal living (frequently in caravans).  From what I can gather, in Britain, they're maligned in much the manner of American "trailer trash."  The series offers up a really phenomenally fascinating social study of the group, focusing on their shockingly staunch moral codes and the expectations forced upon their teenage girls.

Amazingly, the series premiere has been posted on YouTube in full and it's well worth a watch.  These girls are brought up to be maritally minded, barred from dating without a chaperone (contrary to the reputation fostered by their stereotypically skimpy mode of dress), and groomed to marry by the time their 17.  It's thoroughly bizarre, like staring into some alternate puritanical reality in which the women have exchanged bonnets for crop tops and farm work for babysitting and dreaming of layer upon layer of cloud pink netting.  In short: gypsies are just like Paris Hilton's small town visits on The Simple Life, but more of a sociological case study.  There's an infuriating lack of feminism here.  As the girls aren't allowed to mingle solo with the boys, there's a courtship ritual called 'grabbing', in which they literally have to try to ferry the girl away from the group, corner her, and sometimes physically restrain her to try to steal a kiss or get a phone number.  It's totally insane, completely unacceptable, and yet, these girls are accustomed to it being just another part of the way things are.  I mean, I don't know about you, but in elementary school there was this kid named Ted who used to run around trying to kiss all the girls.  He used methods like that, and even at 5 the girls knew to give him a shove (sometimes worse).  

Watch this before it disappears.  You have to.  It's like PBS doing Teen Mom, only it's actually entertaining.

Also?  Gypsy wedding would make a pretty good party theme...

Oscar Nominations Announced

The nominees were announced for the 83rd Annual Academy Awards, that Super Bowl of non-athletics that sends the world scrambling to pay theater prices for movies they might otherwise ignore.  As usual, there were the sure things and the upsets, yet nothing quite as severe as The Tourist acknowledgments that discredited this year's Golden Globes.  127 Hours snuck into the Best Picture category, True Grit cleaned up following Golden Globes' oversight, Mark Wahlberg didn't receive the expected nod for his performance in The Fighter.  The telecast airs Sunday, February 27, and you can anticipate a second go at last year's live blogging rundown by yours truly at

Best Picture
Black Swan
The Fighter
The Kids Are All Right
The King's Speech
127 Hours          <-----(do not approve)
The Social Network
Toy Story 3
True Grit
Winter's Bone

Best Director
Darren Aronofsky / Black Swan
David O'Russell / The Fighter
Tom Hooper / The King's Speech
David Fincher / The Social Network
Joel and Ethan Coen / True Grit

Best Actor
Javier Bardem / Biutiful
Jeff Bridges / True Grit
Jesse Eisenberg / The Social Network
Colin Firth / The King's Speech
James Franco / 127 Hours

Best Actress
Annette Bening / The Kids Are All Right
Nicole Kidman / Rabbit Hole
Jennifer Lawrence / Winter's Bone
Natalie Portman / Black Swan
Michelle Williams / Blue Valentine

Best Supporting Actor
Christian Bale / The Fighter
John Hawkes / Winter's Bone
Jeremy Renner / The Town
Mark Ruffalo / The Kids Are All Right
Geoffrey Rush / The King's Speech

Best Supporting Actress
Amy Adams / The Fighter
Helena Bonham Carter / The King's Speech
Melissa Leo / The Fighter
Hailee Steinfeld / True Grit
Jacki Weaver / Animal Kingdom

Hit the jump for the full list of nominees..

(Read More)

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Trailer: Rubber

Killer turkeys are so over, this year is all about inanimate objects of death.  Namely: Robert the killer tire.  Yes, you read that correctly.  Quentin Dupieux's Rubber is a film about an abandoned car tire who comes to life for no apparent reason only to discover that it has telepathic powers of destruction.  Yes, this means the tire has a brain.  No, it doesn't talk.  Come on, a talking tire?  That would be ridiculous...

Rubber circulated a bit at festivals in 2010, and while I haven't seen it, I really want to.  Rumor has it Dupieux's flick is a smart, funny, unexpected take on horror absurdity, and the trailer certainly seems to back that up.

I Don't Like It: Oh, Anne Hathaway.

By now, you've heard the news.  On Wednesday, a partial casting for Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight Rises revealed that Anne Hathaway had been cast as Selina Kyle (Catwoman) and Inception's Tom Hardy would be assuming the role of Bane.  Since hearing this, I've been collecting my thoughts.

I'm alright with Hardy.  I'm alright with the story avoiding following the Joker with the Riddler or going in a direction that cold potentially feel too absurd for Nolan's true crime aesthetic (the Penguin, Mr. Freeze).  I suspect Bane is easy enough to transform into a real-life mad man, a cunning strong arm who will make a clever foe for Bale's Bruce Wayne.  I would also imagine that as Hathaway is listed as Selina Kyle, Catwoman may not be making a full-on appearance in the way we know her best.  Love interest?  Sure.  Rival?  Sure.  As for which incarnation we'll see, I couldn't guess.  Will she begin as a jewel thief, a prostitute, a dominatrix, a secretary, a madame, or just a bored socialite?  I'd cross out the first one (too basic for Nolan), and can really see this version running with the sex worker option, but Catwoman is fairly open ended.   All I know is, unless we see her as a sex worker, if this is the last installment in Nolan's trilogy, I'd doubt we'll be seeing Hathaway in any sort of Michelle Pfeiffer latex get-up. 

Well, really, I don't want to see Hathaway in that role at all.  Hathaway is a good enough actress, sure.  She was great in Rachel Getting Married and decent enough at playing opposite Meryl Streep in Devil Wears Prada.  The thing about Hathaway, though, maybe isn't that she can't deliver Selina Kyle, it's that maybe she shouldn't.  Barring the fact that physically there's very little about Hathaway's features that could be described as "cat like"  (it starts with the eyes, one glance at her conjures up a deer or a puppy), which is here nor there, my biggest personal grievance about her casting is that she's "one of those actresses."  What I mean by this, I guess, is that she's one of a handful of young actresses in her age bracket that the production companies seem to force into films they might otherwise not belong in simply because they're popular, cute, and they need a name with some street cred to put on a poster.  From the outside, pushing Anne Hathaway into the film is like pushing Katie Holmes into Batman Begins (at that time) or making space for Scarlett Johansson in Iron Man 2 (she wasn't bad, but was she necessary?), it's....annoying.  Before I say this, I should clarify, this isn't something exclusive to only female actors, there are plenty of men who fall into this category as well.  You know, "those actors."  The Bradley Coopers and James Francos and such.  See, the biggest problem with Anne Hathaway is that she's too Anne Hathaway.  She's become obnoxious for no apparent reason.  At this juncture in her career, the only way you can divorce her from her own public image, from looking at the screen and just seeing Anne Hathaway, is to give her a ludicrous accent and a drug problem.  As Anne Hathaway, part of her persona always feels like she's itching to make a silly comedic mistake, burst into song, or flirt with the camera.  Anne Hathaway is bubbly.  She's always flirting with the camera.  When Anne Hathaway does sexy, she's pushes it towards camp.  When Anne Hathaway does sexy and she's supposed to be on drugs, she looks like she's pleading, like she's at the last stop on her downward spiral.  When Anne Hathaway does sexy action, it's Get Smart and can only be stabilized in short bursts.  All of these, to me, are the exact wrong kind of sexy for this incarnation of Catwoman. 

Christopher Nolan has proved, several times over, that he's not too great with female casting.  Carrie-Anne Moss is perhaps the exception to what appears to be a Nolan general rule involving throwing unassuming, physically slight, mildly awkward (but smart) ladies amongst seasoned method men and old pros.  Selina Kyle is an unbelievably complicated character, and her screen adaptations have been botched several times over.  Catwoman isn't a straight-up villain, but she's not a hero.  She's sometimes a vigilante, sometimes incredibly selfish.  She's obviously got sex appeal, but it's a tough one, a rigid one.  In my opinion, Selina Kyle shouldn't be too pretty.  She should be the type of woman who's thought of as gorgeous in part because she just exudes an untouchable confidence, because she can switch on something in her voice and eyes that belies a power beyond her features.  I've never seen that in Anne Hathaway.  While I believe she'll  likely fare better than Halle Berry based on script alone, I just don't see Catwoman in her.  You can dress her up and she'll wear the clothes well, but at the end of the day "badass" doesn't register in her eyes.  It's in Angelina Jolie's face (though I absolutely think her time for this has come and gone).  It's in Keira Knightley's face.  It's in Helena Bonham Carter's face.  I've seen it in Gemma Arterton or Emily Blunt or, well, my favorite offbeat choice: Tilda Swinton (who would obliterate all past references the way Ledger did).  Most of all, though, I'll repeat: I have no idea why this wasn't thrown in the direction of Eva Green.  Between  In all seriousness, this can't be just me, right?  Who would you cast as Selina Kyle?  Can Anne Hathaway pull it off?

Eva Green in Franklyn:

I'm sure I'll be surprised, but right now I'm just really sick of her omnipresence.  Earlier news mentioned Nolan needing to fill two female roles.  We could go through all of this again in the weeks and months ahead.

This was only supposed to be a short paragraph...

Once More, with Feeling...

Janet Gaynor and Frederic March.  Judy Garland and James Mason.  Barbra Streisand and Kris Kristofferson.  Now?  Beyonce Knowles and Mystery Leading Man #1.  Hollywood is remaking A Star is Born for the fourth time.  I can't really object to this because, honestly, while I've only seen the 1954 Garland musical (the most celebrated, obviously), I've always thought there was quite a bit of room for improvement.  The amazing thing about this version isn't Beyonce, it's that somehow Clint Eastwood has been roped into producing and directing the film himself.  Obviously, this ain't Eastwood's first rodeo, and in spite of casting a major mainstream pop star (guys, Dreamgirls wasn't really so great), there's a pretty significant chance that he could transform the most played-out rise and fall tale into serious gold.  

Either that or it'll be Paint Your Wagon.   

Berlin-era Gaga?

Lady Gaga's newest song is a dark, remixed Germanic Club Kid anthem produced for the Thierry Mugler menswear show (as one of her principal stylists, Nicola Formichetti recently took up the reigns at the fashion house).  The track is called "schei├če" which translates to 'shit' if you verstehen kein Deutsche, and what's best about it is that (though it's a remix) the sound finally comes close to matching the aesthetic.  It's still dance pop, but it's accessed a little bit of darkness, just a touch of nihlism.  Honestly, this is the direction I'm hoping her next album, Born This Way, will head when it's released May 23rd.

Friday, January 21, 2011

The Trivial Pursuit: January 21st Edition

[Image credit: Sarah McNeil. I likes it.]

It's the dead dead dead of winter and I don't know what that obese squirrel is doing trudging across my yard instead of holed up somewhere safe.  Chicago is currently running at a temperature of 6 degrees.  Single digits of great unpleasantness which mean that I'm wearing two pairs of gloves, two pairs of pants, and my big ugly fleece beneath my coat.  For those in warmer climates who may not have experienced this torment, know that when it's 6 degrees out the world is like a reverse desert.  I have seriously been drinking glass after glass of water, tea, Propel, Vitamin Water, etc, etc, and every time I swallow I feel like my throat is Death Valley.  Quelle nightmare.  Moving on...

Sandra Bullock's scummy ex-husband Jesse James announced yesterday that he is engaged to be married to LA Ink's Kat Von D. Alright, seriously, what did she ever see in this guy?  Also, this won't end well. [source]

Regis Philbin, 79, has announced his retirement from “Live with Regis and Kelly”, citing his expected departure as taking place sometime around the end of summer.  Philbin has hosted the morning show for the past 25-years. [source]

After randomly remarking that she’d like to play Chris Colfer’s lesbian aunt on Glee, the show’s creator, Ryan Murphy decided that might be a good idea.  Murphy confirmed that in the wake of a rendez-vous at the Golden Globes, Anne Hathaway will indeed be playing her invented role. [via Access Hollywood]

Variety is reporting that Will Smith is looking into producing a modern remake of the musical Annie, with daughter Willow in the title role.  I really hope those kids understand that this is not how things work for the rest of the world. [via Variety]

UK Skins actress Kaya Scodelario, who played Effy Stonem for four seasons of the original, threw her opinion on the American remake into the ring this week via Twitter: “Hi every1. Still on holiday with the girls in beautiful jamaica! We watched the American skins... Na mate!  Brits did it better...”   She’s absolutely right.  [via Twitter]

After a recent visit to Africa, George Clooney, 49, revealed that he is currently battling malaria.  Let’s hope he recovers quickly. [via Daily Mail]

Roger Ebert unveiled the new prosthetic chin he’ll be wearing for his appearances on his latest TV show.  In true Ebert style, you can read all about it on his blog.

Following gossipy assumption that she’s dating pop-star Justin Bieber, 16, The National Enquirer ran a hilarious story claiming that Disney girl Selena Gomez, 18, has removed her purity ring, causing her parents to flip their shit. [source]

IMDB botched things pretty severely this week it was discovered that they’d swapped one Asian actor for another on their listing for The Green Hornet.  The film stars Taiwanese pop idol Jay Chou as Kato, but IMDB had replaced him with Harold and Kumar’s John Cho.  Yikes.  [via /Film]

Unlike Hilary Duff, Clueless actress Alicia Silverstone is actually pregnant.  [via People]

Quotable Ke$ha to the London Times: "I knew everything about sex before I was even seven," she said.  “My mom left me at home when I was 14 with a credit card, and a box of condoms and the keys to the car and said, 'Don't get pregnant and don't drink and drive.' I had to be responsible for myself."  [source]

Kanye West’s sense of humor got him in trouble again this week, when he sarcastically tweeted: "Yo Britney, I'm really happy for you and I'mma let you be #1, but me and Jay-Z's single is one of the best songs of all time! LOL."  Only to have the media fire up tales that Mr. West is attempting to incite a rivalry between himself and Britney Spears.  Really, media?  Really? [via MTV]

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Review: Somewhere

I'm in a bad place with Sofia Coppola's spectacularly tedious, is it poetry or is it navel gazing Somewhere. I just don't know what to do. I'm a Coppola fan, no doubt, I've spent too much time rallying to get folks to appreciate the elaborate tableaux of Marie Antoinette and jumped fully onto the Lost in Translation bandwagon...but Somewhere? Honestly, while I was watching it I actually brought out my little notebook and began making a list of all the things I needed to get finished later in the day. Which is to say: Somewhere? I guess I'd rather have been elsewhere. Yet, I can see its positive bits as well. The unflinching devotion to creating a study in populated loneliness. The commitment to making the protagonist's tedium our tedium. The photography. All that jazz....

For nearly the entire run time of Rabbit Hole, the woman sitting three seats away from me in the theater cried.  I was already annoyed with her because she was one of those people who had chosen a seat too close to mine when there were at least 150 open spaces to choose from.  Not only did she do that, but she also frittered away time during the trailers arranging the tub of concession stand soda, a bottled water, and her coffee about her.  I didn't understand how one person could possibly need all of those fluids (none of which I actually witnessed her drinking) to survive a 90-minute movie, but if I had to guess now I'd say she may have been preparing for the complete evacuation of all of her bodily fluids via her unceasing stifled tears.  The thing is, Rabbit Hole is only depressing in theory...

Monday, January 17, 2011

Golden Globe Winners

Eschewing controversial conspiracy theories and claims of payola schemes for nominations cited by a former Hollywood Foreign Press publicist, the celebrity love-in that is the Golden Globes went off with nary a hitch last night.  In spite of questionable nominations for films such as The Tourist, the rank Alice in Wonderland, and Burlesque, the awards generally found their way to the most deserving parties.  The Social Network and The Kids are All Right took home the top prizes for film, and that makes perfect sense to me.  My one "really?" moment?  Glee winning Best Television Series- Comedy or Musical in a category chock full of significantly more well-rounded, well-produced programs.  When will it die already?  

Check out the full list of nominees and winners after the break.

Friday, January 14, 2011

The Trivial Pursuit: January 14 Edition

The news out of Hollywood, etc. this week has felt a little repetitious.  Namely, everyone is pregnant.  Not wanting to be outdone by Natalie Portman, Hollywood slipped into a baby boom with almost no pre-speculation about "baby bumps." 

Oscar winner Marion Cotillard, 35, is expecting her first child with boyfriend Guillaume Canet. [source]

Owen Wilson's, 42,  girlfriend Jade Duell is expecting his first child.  He's supposedly really happy about this, which is good, because it was sort of upsetting when he was sad.  [source]

Owen Wilson's former girlfriend, Kate Hudson, 31, who seems to have dated everyone in Hollywood, is also pregnant with boyfriend (and Muse frontman) Matthew Bellamy's, 32, child.  Hudson already has a 7-year old son from a previous marriage.  [source]

The big and tall and newly flame-haired member of the clan, Khloe Kardashian, 26, is supposedly also pregnant.  Kim says this isn't true.  We don't know.  Maybe they're just waiting to announce it on reality TV.  Everyone is more interested in her hair. She looks better, I think. [source]

Victoria, 35,  and David Beckham are expecting their fourth child together.  [source]

Actress Selma Blair and husband Jason Bleick are expecting their first child. [source]

In non-pregnancy related news, it was announced that musician Dan Deacon will be scoring Francis Ford Coppola's film Twixt Now and Sunrise.  That's pretty neat. [via Pitchfork]

In what should be no surprise to the pessimists amongst us, Golden Voiced homeless man Ted Williams, who made waves last week after his video went viral, is already packed up and on his way into rehab.  Appearing on Dr. Phil, Williams confessed he was not as sober as he'd declared on that roadside, and that his new found fame was taking a toll.  His 29-year old daughter Janey claims her father has been drinking at least a full bottle of Grey Goose each evening. Sorry optimists.  In other news, this will make a great movie of the week! [via New York Daily News]

Michael Douglas told PEOPLE Magazine he is cancer free. The 66-year old actor said, "The tumor is gone. But, you know, I have to check out on a monthly basis now to maintain."   This is good.  [via People]

In further good news, Beastie Boy Adam Yauch is continuing treatment for cancer, he appears to be well on the road to recovery.  [via HuffPo]

Backstreet Boy AJ McLean has entered rehab for the third time.  He's reportedly "out of control." [via TMZ]

The first picture of Andrew Garfield in the new Spider-Man suit has been released.  Fanpeople, control yourselves.

The zodiac has apparently changed.  The Earth's position in relation to the sun is now different, according to astronomer Parke Kunkle, which means that star chart you just got suckered in to ordering is now out of date.  Here's the list of the new line-up:  Capricorn: Jan. 20-Feb. 16,
Aquarius: Feb. 16-March 11,  Pisces: March 11-April 18,  Aries: April 18-May 13,  Taurus: May 13-June 21,  Gemini: June 21-July 20,  Cancer: July 20-Aug. 10,  Leo: Aug. 10-Sept. 16,  Virgo: Sept. 16-Oct. 30, Libra: Oct. 30-Nov. 23,  Scorpio: Nov. 23-Nov. 29,  Ophiuchus: Nov. 29-Dec. 17, Sagittarius: Dec. 17-Jan. 20.   Has your sign changed?  [source]

RIP: Trish Keenan

Sad news this morning, I'm afraid. Trish Keenan, lead vocalist for indie band The Broadcast passed away just this morning from complications with pneumonia.  Stereogum and Pitchfork are reporting that Keenan had been battling the illness for two weeks in intensive care after supposedly contracting H1N1 while on tour in Australia.  Keenan was a remarkable talent with a gorgeous voice, and her death is both unexpected and far too soon. 

30 Movies to Look Forward to in 2011: Pt. II

16. Restless (?) - Mia Wasikowska and Henry Hopper do the star-crossed teenage lovers thing for Gus Van Sant.

17. Shame (?) - Michael Fassbender reunites with Hunger director Steve McQueen for provocative familial drama Shame.  Fassbender plays a 30-something New Yorker with a screwed up sex life whose life is shaken up when his sister (Carey Mulligan) moves into his apartment.

18. Young Adult (?) - Juno director Jason Reitman directs Charlize Theron as a writer who returns to her Midwest hometown and reconnects with the folks she once knew.  I find that indie comedies about writers work more often than not.  Sold.  Also?  It's written by Diablo Cody. 

19. We Bought a Zoo (12/11) - Cameron Crowe hasn't made a movie since the muddled piece of tripe that was Elizabethtown, but he's gearing back up for a very Crowe-y adaptation with Matt Damon, ScarJo, and Elle Fanning about a family who owns a zoo in the English countryside.  Won't that be nice?

20. Moneyball (9/11)Moneyball is a sports movie. Somehow, however, it's making my list.  Adapted from the book by Michael M. Lewis, it's essentially a story about nothing but structure, following the general manager of the Oakland A's as he attempts to scrape together a team using apparently atypical methods.  Honestly, that sounds insanely dull to me.  But, the film version stars Phillip Seymour Hoffman as that general manager, and slides Brad Pitt and Jonah Hill in as backup.  That makes it a different story altogether.   That I want to see.

21. Crazy, Stupid, Love (7/11) - Early buzz on Crazy, Stupid, Love claims it's one of those rare romantic comedies that's deft and smart enough to be worth watching.  The film stars the almost always likeable Steve Carell as a father in marital crisis.  The whole 'dad' angle is nothing new for Carell, but what is intriguing is that this film has Ryan Gosling cast as Carell's wingman.  That's an odd couple that could work, and the rest of the cast isn't too shabby either:  Julianne Moore, Emma Stone, Marisa Tomei, and Kevin Bacon all find places here.

22. Contagion (9/11) - This is another year of two Steven Soderbergh films.  The smaller of the two is Haywire, the bigger is Contagion.  This time around, Soderbergh is bringing us a star-studded outbreak action thriller.  Soderbergh regular Matt Damon is back again, this time with Oscar darlings Kate Winslet, Marion Cotillard, and Gwyneth Paltrow in tow, as well as Jude Law, Laurence Fishburne, and Breaking Bad's Bryan Cranston.

23. Bridesmaids (5/11) - The most important thing to note here is that Bridesmaids isn't some sequel to 27 Dresses.  It's an Apatow produced female ensemble comedy co-written by (and starring) SNL funny lady Kristen Wiig and directed by Freaks and Geeks creator Paul Feig.  The hope is that it's a female driven comedy centered around weddings that manages to not be catty or insipidly full of petty cliche jealousy, which may be tough, as the film follows two friends as they compete to plan their best friend's wedding.

24. Beginners (6/11) - Thumbsucker's director Mike Mills may be in the summer running for 2011's sleeper hit indie with Beginners.  Starring Ewan McGregor and Christopher Plummer, the film is said to be a bittersweet tale about a 38-year old son (McGregor) dealing with the death of his mother and the recently announced homosexuality of his father (Plummer). 

25. Jane Eyre (3/11) - Charlotte Bronte's classic novel gets another cinematic adaptation.  It's time for some  rollicking English intrigue on the moors.

26. The Skin That I Inhabit (9/11) - It's always a big deal for film nerds when Spanish auteur Pedro Almodovar decides to make another movie.  Like a vibrant Douglas Sirk, Almodovar takes soap opera scandal and transforms it into palatable art.  With his next film, he reunites with Antonio Banderas to bring us the story of a plastic surgeon out for revenge on the men who raped his daughter.

27. The Descendants (?) - This movie has George Clooney in it.  That's probably all you really need to know.  This time, George Clooney plays a dad dealing with issues (because that's what a lot of movies are about), figuring out whether to sell his Hawaiian plot of land, and delivering what will likely be fairly neurotic dialogue written by Alexander Payne (Sideways).  You'll probably see it, he'll probably get nominated for something.
28. 30 Minutes or Less (8/11) - It's an action comedy starring Jesse Eisenberg!  It's an action comedy directed by Zombieland's Ruben Fleischer!  It's an action comedy also starring Aziz Ansari!  He's cute like a lemur!
29. The Grandmasters (?) - Because I geek out every time a Wong Kar-wai movie comes around, even when the last couple have been relative disappointments (My Blueberry Nights, anyone?), I'm pretty excited to see the Hong Kong director's take on the biopic.  He's not the first person to take on bringing the life of IP Man (the martial arts master who trained Bruce Lee) to the screen, but he'll undoubtedly do it with the most style.

30. Paul (3/11) - There are certainly plenty of things to worry about with Paul.  The sci-fi comedy's early trailers featured an overabundance of juvenile bathroom humor and absurd hijinks, but it's got enough legitimate comedy clout for me to keep the faith.  Starring Simon Pegg and Nick Frost (Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz, Spaced), the British pair who have yet to fail, as two UK comic book geeks on a road trip stateside who come across a real live alien (voiced by Seth Rogen).  It's actually got an R rating, so let's hope it's not dumbed down into gimmicky kid's stuff.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

30 Movies to Look Forward to in 2011: Pt. I

We're already 13 days into 2011, and I'm woefully behind on all sorts of posts.  The new year, new job, new responsibilities, and that whole nasty business of the Love and Squalor domain name change (, anyone?) have been throwing me off my game.  Excuses, excuses.  Anyhow, while I've been deliberately holding off on my list of the best films of 2010 (to coincide with the Oscar nominations, yes, so I can rant and rave about what the Academy managed to overlook this year),  it's time to cut to the chase and list the 30 movies I'm anticipating the most in 2011.  Nope, I'm not excited about Green Lantern or Thor.

1. The Muppets (11/11) - Hands down, without a doubt, the #1 movie I'm sort of dying to see is Jason Segel's vintage reboot The Muppets.  Regular readers of Pop Candy Arcade know by now that I've got a serious soft spot for Jim Henson's puppet stars, and it's been a long while since their feature length film credits were on par with the wit and humor of the original films and television show.  Forgetting Sarah Marshall's Segel is a die-hard Muppet fan, and he has expressed (numerous times) his desire to restore the old glory of Kermit and company.  As writer and star, we can hope he does just that. 

2. The Tree of Life (5/11) - Terrence Malick's long awaited, metaphysical sci-fi family drama already looks like a beauty.  Starring Brad Pitt and Sean Penn (as father and son, believe it or not), the expectations for this film are running at an all time high.  Will it be the cerebral, almost literary meditation on innocence and experience film aficionados are hoping for?  Or, will it be Benjamin Button part II?

3. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows pt. 2 (7/11) - Self-explanatory.  The end of an era which just happens to feature the Hogwarts showdown the world is dying to see. 

4. Melancholia (?)- It's no secret that Antichrist transformed me into one of those absolutely pretentious film snob assholes who are totally transfixed by the efforts of Lars Von Trier.  What do we know about his next film Melancholia?  Well, not much.  It stars Charlotte Gainsbourg (who was phenomenal in Antichrist), Kirsten Dunst, Kiefer Sutherland, Stellan Skarsgard, Charlotte Rampling, John Hurt, Alexander Skarsgard, and Udo Kier....which is already a hell of a start.  It also bears Von Trier's promise of "no more happy endings"  and is supposedly Von Trier's take on the sci-fi disaster movie.  Two sisters and a planet.  With the Danish director at the helm, expect the unexpected. 

5. Hugo Cabret (12/11) - Marty Scorsese is tackling children's literature, guys.  Yes.  He's making a 3D kids movie.  Is there any doubt he'll do it well?  Not really. The book, if you've not read it, is a much celebrated graphic novel mystery about a young Parisian boy in the 1930's and a mysterious automaton toy.  The film's supporting cast is something to talk about, boasting 'it' child Chloe Moretz, Jude Law, Sacha Baron Cohen, Ben Kingsley, and Christopher Lee. 

6. We Need to Talk About Kevin (?) - Before you see this movie, you really should read the book it's based on.  Lionel Shriver's tightly spun tale of the mother of a school shooting gunman is a remarkable piece of literature.  I know it sounds like some sort of pettily dramatic Oprah book, but seriously, it was shockingly potent stuff, as scathingly entertaining and darkly comic as it was disturbingly, wrenchingly emotional.  I loved the book, and I'm thrilled the film is in two sets of capable hands.  Director Lynne Ramsay, who did wonders with Morvern Callar and Ratcatcher, is at the helm while Tilda Swinton plays Eva, our burdened protagonist.  Read the book then tell me this isn't perfect casting...

7. The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo (12/11) - Book=bad.  Swedish movie = good.  David Fincher movie = ?  Do we need an American remake of the first installment of Stieg Larsson's wildly popular Millenium trilogy?  I don't know, but we're getting one, and if Fincher is in charge, I will be there.  The source material is pitch perfect for Fincher, dark, stark, ominous, and chock full of a certain kind of psychopath.  Daniel Craig picks up the role as fallen journalist Mikael Blomkvist, while The Social Network's Rooney Mara is bound for instant success as pint-sized bad ass Lisbeth Salander.  We've just gotten a sneak peek at our American Salander (gauged ears and Die Antwoord haircut) on the cover of W, can Mara top Noomi Rapace?

8. A Dangerous Method (?) - David Cronenberg + Viggo Mortensen (again) + Keira Knightley +Michael Fassbender (Inglourious Basterds, Fish Tank) + Vincent Cassel + the story of the relationship between Carl Jung and Sigmund Freud = you seriously should not have any questions about this.

9. Hanna (4/11) - Director Joe Wright, who brought us the really rather lovely adaptations of Atonement and Pride and Prejudice, is switching gears to bring us the cold blooded tale of a 14-year old little girl killing machine.  Saoirse Ronan stars as the titular character, a girl assassin on a mission, stealthily evading agents (led by Cate Blanchett) out to bring her in.  Yessssssssss.

10. Sucker Punch (3/11)- In all likelihood, Sucker Punch will be absurd.  In spite of this, I still really want to see it.  I'm a big fan of Zack Snyder's aesthetic, and merging wild visuals with bad ass heroines, imaginary realms, and an anime brand of logic sounds like fun to me.  Bring it on.

11. The Hangover part II (5/11) - It's not wise to bank on a comedy sequel.  We all know this.  There's a possibility that attempting to recreate the surprising critical/monetary success of the first Hangover will result in literal recreation: guys get together, go on a trip, do something dumb, have to retrace their wild adventures.  It's already ludicrous.  What's the likelihood of something like that happening twice?  But...this time they're in Bangkok.  The original cast is all there.  We can hope. 

12. Damsels in Distress (?) - No, it's not what it sounds like.  No princess nonsense here.  Damsels in Distress is the first film from writer/director Whit Stillman since Last Days of Disco in 1998  (its alternate title has been noted as Diorissimo).  As such, what you can expect is a talky, dialogue-driven story about social classes, affluence, and posturing.  This one in particular is centered on a group of college girls bonded by their obsession with the elegance of the past. Prepare for some WASPy chatter with Greta Gerwig and Adam Brody.

13. Super 8 (6/11) - What is Super 8?  Shrouded in mystery, that's what.  It's a JJ Abrams movie, it's a big deal, it's a secret, but maybe it's something about Area 51?  Don't ask, you're going to see it anyway.

14. Source Code (4/11)- Duncan Jones (fresh off of Moon) makes a Groundhog Day style action thriller starring Jake Gyllenhaal. Only, he'll probably make it more interesting than that.

15. Submarine (?)- Submarine made the festival rounds in 2010 and received so much positive buzz that I've been anxious to check it out since late summer.  I've got to keep waiting, though.  The British indie, co-starring Happy-Go-Lucky's Sally Hawkins, is supposedly a stunner of a coming of age dramedy, and, well, I love a good coming of age dramedy. 

Friday, January 7, 2011

The Trivial Pursuit: January 6th Edition

Because everyone but me seems to care about where the abs of Ryan Reynolds spent NYE, I will tell you.  The abs of Ryan Reynolds partied with the niceness of his Proposal co-star Sandra Bullock, prompting everyone's mother to get all twitterpated about the possibility of those two sweet little rom com kids getting together.  [via Radar]

Unfortunately for Anna Wintour, WWD reported that the Audit Bureau of Circulations has done the math and listed the Lady Gaga and Rihanna as the best selling magazine cover girls of the year.  Gaga posted high marks for her appearances on everything from Rolling Stone to Cosmopolitan.  Meanwhile, Wintour's girl du jour, Blake Lively apparently just doesn't spark much interest from the masses.  Lively was at the bottom of the heap, beaten out only by supposed American sweetheart Taylor Swift, whose appearances on Elle, Marie Claire, and Glamour were the lowest of the low.  It's like I've said before, ladymag editors, your adult audience doesn't really want to read about the success of a girl most beloved by preteens (unless there's scandal involved). [via WWD]

David Arquette checked into rehab.  He's reportedly seeking treatment for problems with alcohol and "other issues."  [via TMZ]

Patrick Wolf revealed via Twitter that he's engaged to be married to boyfriend William Charles Pollock.  [via Twitter]

Apparently PEOPLE magazine just now got around to discovering that Jason Schwartzman's wife, Brady Cunningham, gave birth to their child in early December.   It's a girl, they named her Marlowe, this really screws up my future plans, blah blah blah.  [via PEOPLE]

Rockabilly singer Patricia Day, lead singer of the HorrorPops is suing toy company Mattel for swiping her look for their "Hard Rock Barbie" collection.  She's mad, see, because Barbie has a decorated bass fiddle and Day believes that Barbie runs totally opposite to her belief system.  Day believes that she's "redefining women's roles in the rock 'n roll scene" and her vision runs "contrary and antithetical" to everything about Barbie.  The HorrorPops are alright, but 1. there's nothing very unique about Day's rockabilly look.  2. that look is itself swiped from a pin-up aesthetic.  3. pin-up style is cool, but I mean, let's get real here...when you base your personal look off of images of models designed as masturbatory fodder for male eyes, I'm not so sure you have much room to talk about Barbie is a dangerous negative.  4. I have this feeling little girls raised on Guitar Hero and "Hard Rock Barbie" will redefine the scene on their own. [via Reuters, image via ONTD]

Rapper Gucci Mane appeared in court on Monday to file a "Special Plea of Mental Incompetency" after being accused of violating his probation.  He was promptly institutionalized.  Fun times at the mental hospital! [via TMZ]

Someone dug up this KMart commercial in which True Grit's Hailee Steinfeld is all about Blingitude.  Man, if Rooster had seen that she never would have gotten to go on that revenge quest.

Perhaps you recall when Lady Gaga became a Creative Director at Polaroid?  Well, the fruits of that collaboration were unveiled at the Consumer Electronics Show yesterday, and soon you too may be rocking Gaga and Polaroid's "Grey Label" goods...including your own camera sunglasses with built-in outward facing monitors. [Source]

Former Girls Next Door bunny Holly Madison has finally offered her first documented comment on the engagement of Hugh Hefner and Crystal Harris saying ""I'm very surprised ... I have a lot of different feelings on it."  You don't say...and this is news?  Pfft.  Obviously, you'll have to wait for the reality show air date to hear her real thoughts. [via E! of course]


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