Sunday, February 24, 2008

Oscar Fever Ramble

Yes the above picture does have something to do w/ today's post. Plus it makes me grin like a big 'ol doof to look @ it. Before I forget to tell you, the reason the pic is relevant is that when they weren't busy making Ocean's Thirteen, George & Brad found time to make a couple of little gems entitled Michael Clayton and The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford. Have you heard of them? If not check your Oscar nominee list.

Today should be a national holiday as far as I'm concerned. It is Oscar day and preparing for tonight's telecast has been a labor of love for movies. Below is the list of nominated films I have seen in anticipation of the festivities that are Oscar:

3:10 to Yuma
American Gangster
Charlie Wilson's War
Gone Baby Gone
La Vie En Rose
3/4 of Michael Clayton
No Country for Old Men
Sweeney Todd
There Will be Blood

I wish I had seen The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, The Savages, Into the Wild, I'm Not There, Lars & the Real Girl, Bourne Ultimatum and In the Valley of Elah. To the best of my knowledge Jesse never came to Bozeman or Livingston and even though it has been released on DVD, it is not at Movie Gallery & is a "long wait" at the top of my queue. I don't understand this predicament as it is a western and this is Montana? Blockbuster sent me Elah, but it was the blu-ray version and it won't play in a regular DVD player, so I learned something new, but didn't see the movie!

I watched a smattering of Ratatouille w/ my beloved nephews Sullivan and Maxwell at Christmas, but really as a cat person, should a rat be ANYWHERE near a kitchen? I had given the film to brother Ira so he could remember the first movie he took Sullivan to the theater to see. I figure after they've watched it 100 times or so he won't forget hehe.

After watching the Independent Spirit Awards yesterday on IFC, there was a glaring omission to films that should have been nominated. I haven't seen Before the Devil Knows You're Dead (although I did try, but I got too hungry), but from the clips I've seen and what I've read how could it not have found a place on the same ballot that found a slot for Norbit. If you don't believe me about Norbit get your own ballot at

So you are probably dying to know what I would be tickled my favorite shade of pink to see win tonight:

Original Song: Falling Slowly from the little gem Once;
Original Score: The Atonement score by Dario Marianelli for inventive use of a typewriter as an instrument;
Makeup: La Vie En Rose's makeup because those Edith Piaf eyebrows kept me mesmerized throughout Marianne Cotillard's entire performance. I could NOT stop looking at them;
Cinematography: No Country for Old Men's bleak modern west photography, although I sure wish I'd seen the old west landscape of Assassination of Jesse James to compare. [Film geek note: Roger Deakins was the cinematographer on both movies as well as In the Valley of Elah, so he really deserves to win];
Adapted Screenplay: No Country for Old Men as I have heard the original book by Oprah darling Cormac McCarthy was as cheerful as watching baby seals being clubbed!;
Supporting Actress: Saoirse Ronan since she was by far the most interesting person in all of Atonement;
Supporting Actor: Philip Seymour Hoffman for Charlie Wilson's War. Javier Bardem was excellent in No Country, but Phil single-handedly stole the movie from always overrated Tom Hanks, was a sheer joy to watch in the talkety-talk, political movie, and was probably robbed of nominations for his performances in The Savages and Before the Devil Knows You're Dead;
Actor: George Clooney for Michael Clayton because he rocked as the off-his-game corporate fixer and will lose to histrionic Daniel Day-Lewis;
Director: The Coen Bros for their much deserved turn as directors of No Country for Old Men. I watched Fargo the other night since No Country isn't on video to watch again yet. They have been preparing for No Country since their first film Blood Simple, honed their craft in Miller's Crossing and darn near got it right in Fargo. Note to the brothers: The only lame movie you were ever accused of making had Tom Hanks in it;
Picture: Hands down for me the film of the year was No Country for Old Men. If it doesn't win it will be for the same reason one of my favorites Pulp Fiction lost 14 years ago to CGI filled overhyped Forrest Gump - violence. If it can't win my preferred order is: 1. No Country, 2. Juno, 3. Michael Clayton, 4. Atonement (at least it was pretty) & 5. There Will Be Blood (so "great" Mom and I had the whole theater to ourselves last Sunday).

I'm off for now for a pre-event nap, bath & accessory pick. We are scheduled to have potstickers & frozen pizza for our Oscar party at Chez Sháron (aka Mom's house). I'll check back very soon w/ a pic of my Oscar ensemble and reaction to the actual award winners.

With all that said, let the pre-awards show fashion trashin' begin.

Monday, February 18, 2008

G'Day Heath

Maybe I should call this the three day weekend blog, since I don't seem to be able to update it unless I have an extra day off. As a result today's topic is a bit belated, but very important to me nonetheless.

You may remember last time I mentioned that I have a weakness for high school movies and television. Because of this predilection, I was in severe shock the whole week surrounding Heath Ledger's untimely, tragic and supposedly accidental death. It took me until Saturday to watch my favorite film of his again. Yes, he packed a brief wallop in Monster's Ball, was brave and brilliant in Brokeback Mountain and much anticipated in The Dark Knight. But, my favorite movie of Heath's was his first real American movie. . . . 10 Things I Hate About You.

As a matter of fact 10 Things is on my list of top 3 high school films, along with She's All That and Drives Me Crazy. I literally could watch those three movies nonstop once a week or so.

Thanks to the website I can remember Heath as he was above with screenshots of his 10 Things movie scenes. In the press that came out about his career after his passing, toward the end of his life, Heath had pretty much dismissed this movie as the first film someone would cast him in. Knight's Tale notwithstanding, he actively shunned the teen dream image in favor of more serious, artsy fare. However, 10 Things undoubtedly put him on the map and was a great start of a career cut too short.

Watching the film on Saturday, it has stood the test of time in that I still get a kick out of the Shakespeare's Taming of the Shrew reworking. Heath was fresh, cute as heck and even sings in the film. Since initially seeing the film I have kept an eye on him as well as several other cast members: Julia Stiles, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Susan May Pratt, David Krumholtz, Gabrielle Union and even Allison Janney. Joseph has also turned into an incredible indy actor with Brick and The Lookout to his impressive credit. Susan was in two out of the three hs movies mentioned above, since she also played a not-so-true friend in Drive Me Crazy. Julia has been in the Bourne trilogy, the first of which made me begin to re-evaluate Matt Damon. Allison was superb in The West Wing and the new recent classic Juno. David is doing Numb3rs on tv, but I remember him more for the memorable bit part he had on ER back in the Dr. Carter days. And finally, Gabrielle was also in She's All That.

So, my point is that 10 Things was a great starting point for several actors, with the brightest star being Heath. He will be missed by me and I'll always wonder what kind of work he would have treated us to in the future. I saw The Dark Knight preview yesterday in the theater and I will be seeing the movie this summer because of Heath. It looks like a creepy end to a career that started with a little big high school movie. I bet its THE blockbuster of the summer.

R.I.P. Patrick Verona