Friday, May 29, 2009

Not a Good Idea

The Internet is abuzz about a rumored remake of Alien that Mr. Tom Rothman wants to put us through. While I do not, as a rule, object to remakes, I always wonder about things like this. Can't we remake a movie with good ideas and terrible execution instead of fucking Alien, a great movie with great ideas and great execution?

This news did give the world this paragraph, as written by Cinematical's Scott Weinberg:

Then again, there IS the old Shakespeare argument, the one that says "Hey, the Bard's plays have been remade over and over for centuries, and surely you wouldn't call Casablanca superior to King Lear, would you?" To which I would respond, "Good point. And no, Casablanca is definitely not superior to King Lear. But A L I E N certainly is."

I know what Orson Welles would say:

Mwah-haaaaaa, the Weinster!

Casting Coup: Jesus Christ Superstar

Sorry for the delay. It's been a busy couple of weeks.

Picture it: Easter Sunday, 2009. Friends are gathered at mi casa to celebrate, but not too many. In fact, it's just two, plus me and my roommate. That's the whole group. Anyway, friends are gathered to celebrate, but no one really has a huge relationship with Jesus, what with none of us going to church and most of us either agnostic or not following in an already-identified-for-us faith. So what could we do?

Interestingly enough, we turned to what I consider to be the greatest telling of the life of Jesus: the 1972 classic Jesus Christ Superstar.

It is, perhaps, the greatest musical ever made. It is the only film, I think, to really understand both the human and the divine of Jesus. The importance of Palm Sunday has never been so much clearer than in the "Hosanna" number. Yvonne Elliman's Mary Magdalene is the most layered portrayal of the famous lady. And, of course, location, location, location: all filming was actually done in the desert, in Israel ("Herod's Song" is even performed at the Dead Sea).

While watching the movie, I was soon reminded of two things: one, the TV version PBS did, which re-imagined the setting as a sort of police state in the near future. Or something. Two, a third version is apparently in the works, according to a 2008 interview with Marc Platt, producer of Legally Blonde and Wanted.

The challenge, of course, is getting everyone to see it. There are people who remain "shy" towards musicals (I don't believe anyone hates musicals, since that would render mix tapes and playlists nonexistent). And how does one get the masses to see an all-singing, all-dancing, all-Jesus spectacular?

May I make some suggestions, casting-wise?

PETER
Who is He: The second famousest of the apostles, Peter was always ready to kick ass for the Lord. But he was also human, meaning he had doubts, and when the chips were down, Peter choked. And by choked, I mean denied. That is, knowing Jesus.



My Choice:

Kevin Richardson of The Backstreet Boys
Kevin, the best Backstreet Boy, has proven his talents onstage in both West End and Broadway productions of Chicago, where he played Billy Flynn. He's a face people can recognize, and he wants to prove himself as an actor. And could there be a more challenging role than Peter? I mean, other than Jesus and Judas and Mary and Pilate?


SIMON ZEALOTES
Who is He: Awesome. A follower of Christ who wants a revolution.



My Choice:

Justin Timberlake (Black Snake Moan, Southland Tales)
Timberlake is a guaranteed draw. He's a marvelous crowdpleaser, a pretty fine actor, and -- most importantly -- he's just an amazing talent. He sings, he dances, he emotes while doing both. What more could I ask for?


ANNAS
Who is He: A high priest, possible acting president of the Sanhedrin (the judges appointed over every city in Israel), who conspires with Caiaphas to end Jesus' influence.



My Choice:

Roger Bart (The Stepford Wives, Hercules)
And this is how we draw in the Broadway crowd. There is a little cult of people that are willing to see anything Roger Bart is in, especially if partnered with the man I have as Caiaphas.


CAIAPHAS
Who is He: The High Priest who does not care for this Jesus chap.



My Choice:

Michael Cerveris (Rock 'n' Roll High School Forever, the upcoming Cirque du Freak)
God, does anyone else here think he could act/sing the HELL out of this role? Cerveris is another Broadway talent, so the pairing with Bart would be cool. Broadway babes as high priests? Luv it!


PONTIUS PILATE
Who is He: The Roman governor who tried Jesus and eventually ordered his crucifixion, albeit reluctantly.



My Choice: Academy Award Nominee for Best Original Song (The Emperor's New Groove, Kate & Leopold, Cold Mountain)

Sting (The Bride, The Adventures of Baron Munchausen)
By now you should realize that my idea here is to get known, established music stars and put them in a rock opera. Obviously, their own involvement with the rock genre (I know, boy bands are pop, but shut up). Sting here is one of the undisputed rock gods, like Bruce Springsteen or Alice Cooper or Louis Armstrong. He is also an experienced actor, having worked with Guy Richie, David Lynch, and Captain Planet.


KING HEROD
Who is He: The scene-stealer. Herod is the King of the Jews, known primarily for hard-partying. His number is The Big One, the Showstopper (besides "Superstar" of course), and so they always get someone big to play it. Victor Spinetti did it in the 20th Anniversary edition, while Broadway gave us Alice Cooper's take. So who could possibly measure up?



My Choice:

Ozzy Osbourne (Austin Powers in Goldmember, Trick or Treat)
So maybe the number is a little "lively" for what we're used to, but the lyrics themselves would be delivered fantastically by Ozzy. Picture it. You know I'm right.


MARY MAGDALENE
Who is She: The former prostitute who follows Jesus, she doesn't know how to love him. As a man? As a Messiah? Let her sing about it.



My Choice:

Christina Aguilera
Now, true, she hasn't done a movie. But something about her...I don't know. I feel that she has a face and a presence made for the screen. Add to that the impact her "dirrty" incarnation had on her image, and here we have someone more or less built to play Mary Magdalene. In this movie, at least. Besides, this is an all-singing film, and godDAMN this woman has a marvelous voice.


JUDAS ISCARIOT
Who is He: The betrayer. Judas sells Jesus to the Sanhedrin and Roman centurions for 30 pieces of silver. Later hangs himself. Spoiler alert! Interestingly, he is the protagonist of the tale, as the musical takes his uncertain point of view towards Christ.



My Choice:

Andre Benjamin (Four Brothers, Semi-Pro)
Good actor. I don't know what it is about rappers and acting, but the two tend to mix well, like ice cream and chocolate syrup. Good singer, too, who could probably sing the role of Judas just as well as he could play it. I mean, have you seen Idlewild? Great musical.


JESUS
Who is He: Well, that's just it. Is he the Messiah? Is he a prophet? Is he just a man? The debate continues today, but apparently the only thing we know for sure is that he had a damn good set of pipes on him.



My Choice:

Adam Pascal (The School of Rock, Rent)
He was one of the better actors in Rent. He looks good with long hair. He can sing the role. He's a big draw for Broadway devotees. And he's not so mainstream as to be distracting.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

This Must Be What Heaven Feels Like



Well. My money is definitely set aside for the three times I'll be seeing this in theaters. Could it be this year's Wicker Man (I mean, The Informers didn't have Nic Cage, after all)? It certainly looks promising. If that promise is to melt your brain and assault your senses. Herzog FTW.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Terminator: Salvation

You can have fantastic actors acting fantastically.

You can have the director of Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle actually impress me.

You can have a really kick-ass action sequence involving Jane Alexander and a 7-11.

But if you have a terrible script, constant screaming, and a plot that hinges on a conflict that's already been resolved BEFORE THE MOVIE HAS STARTED, then nothing can save it.

So, despite the best efforts of Christian Bale, Sam Worthington, Anton Yelchin, and McG, Terminator: Salvation is destined to be forgotten, as distant a memory as Rise of the Machines.

Can we all just pretend it ended with Judgment Day now?

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Trailing on Trailers

My God, I know this is coming so late in the game, but I can't believe I haven't talked about this yet. So, you may have already seen it, but:



This looks pretty hilarious, although a lot of Woody Allen trailers tend to give away most of the plot points. I remember the Melinda and Melinda trailer giving away one of the more hilarious confrontation scenes between Will Ferrell and Amanda Peet. I mean, it wasn't the end-all be-all of comedy, but still, I would have liked to have been surprised. Anyway, that's how I feel about the religious nuts on the doorstep line.

Still, Patty Clarkson looks H-O-T-T HOTT!

King for a Film

It hath been decreed: Spielberg has acquired the rights to produce a film depicting the life of Martin Luther King, Jr., Variety reports. Spielberg will co-produce alongside Suzanne de Passe and Madison Jones. No word yet on whether or not he'll direct as well (I mean, shouldn't he be working on Lincoln?). And, of course, no word on casting yet, but I can think of someone who'd do a great job.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Speaking of Trailers....

This morning, my attention was directed to this lovely bit o' crumpet:



Holy holy holy! That's Fergie singing throughout, by the way. And sexy, sexy Penelope Cruz is sexy. And sexy, sexy Judi Dench is...well, anyway, it looks amazing! I see Rob Marshall is once again going for an actual "stage" for his musical numbers. But I guess it works, as most of the numbers in Nine are either soliloquies or fantasies.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Thanks, Oprah!

Ahhhh the trailer for Precious: Based on a Novel by Sapphire looks so good!

Ahhhh the trailer for Precious: Based on a Novel by Sapphire looks so good!


Ahhhh I cannot wait for this movie!

Why God?!

Nicole Kidman.

Dropped out.

Of the Woody Allen flick.

AAAAAAGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHKKKKKKKK!!!!!!



No! You can't sexy yourself out of this one, Nicole! This is unacceptable! This is...this is...



Ah...Great...Great director...auteur....should work with him...good roles...Bad...bad girl...naughty....



I...Ennh...Ah...

Forgiven.

Next case.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Is Anybody There?

Because I love Michael Caine, because I had a free movie ticket, because there's nothing better to do on a Summer's eve in Tally, I went with some friends to see Is Anybody There? last night at my local art house cineplex. I'd been hearing good things, and I was delighted at the ensemble of veteran actors assembled, so off to the theater did I trip and go.



Meh.

Is Anybody There? struck me as a first-timer. Clearly, it was the work of a first-time director working with a first-time screenwriter, cut together by a first-time editor. Which doesn't mean it's bad. It's actually quite a good film, about a boy (Bill Milner) living in a rest home run by his parents befriends one of the residents, a retired magician (Michael Caine). So, it was quite winning and touching and humorous at times, but generally seemed like everyone involved was just a little inexperienced.

And then I learned that director John Crowley, writer Peter Harness, and editor Trevor Waite are not only experienced, but two of them are actually sort of admired. Crowley and Waite, I mean. Doubly surprising was the revelation that I have actually seen and enjoyed other films Waite edited -- surprising because, besides Joby Talbot's intrusive and inappropriate score, the editing is the weakest part of the film, cutting away when it should linger, lingering when there is little need to, rendering confusing the simplest of scenes. As we left the theater, my roommate made sure to stay for the credits, and upon seeing Waite's name, proclaimed, "I'm never working with him." Harsh, perhaps, especially now that I know he did Prime Suspect: The Final Act. But still, there it is, the editing was jarring and the score intrusive.

OK, that's the bad. The good, fortunately, comes from Michael Caine's brilliant performance as Clarence, struggling to keep his wits while slowly slipping into dementia. In fact, that's where the great comes from. I've never seen a Caine performance like this, one in which he gets to be crotchety, fun-loving, and so nakedly vulnerable. I read where someone called this his best since The Quiet American, but I would go a step further and say this is his best since Hannah and Her Sisters. Call me crazy, but there it is. Within his performance is all the bitterness that some people experience when facing their own mortality; the regret of past mistakes; the hope that there may be an afterlife. It's a beautiful and touching performance.

Bill Milner does quite well as the boy he befriends. And old folks -- featuring Peter Vaughan, Leslie Phillips, and the late Elizabeth Spriggs -- do quite well with comic relief, but are not developed enough. Only Rosemary Harris (Aunt May in the Spider-Man films) gets a wonderful role as a former dancer who now has a plastic leg. She pulls a Hermione Baddeley, making a fully-realized person out of a sketchily-written role. Anne-Marie Duff, as Milner's struggling and strong mother, is also great, but that may also be because she is hot and a mom.

The script could have stood with some rewriting. Some polishing on the Caine-Milner relationship. Some development of the old people. Less concern with the parents, to be honest, would have suited me. But overall, some good stuff is going on here.

Bottom line: A sweet little movie whose actors are better than what they're working with. Especially Michael Caine.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Happy Mother's Day



Saturday Night Live apparently only caters to me now, seeing as how these are both the two MILFs I would most like to...well, you know.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Star Trek

I don't know what to write about Star Trek exactly. I know it wasn't the perfectest film ever made ever (I know that because it's not Nashville). But I also don't have any nitpickings. But I don't want to just go overboard with hyperbole.



Suffice to say, it is first-rate as far as popcorn movies go. I mean, I was on the edge of my seat, gripping the armrests, half-rising as I scooted forward, as though that would enable me to get a better look (I did this with Speed Racer as well, and I think we all remember how much I loved that film). I mean, I actually stopped eating my Milk Duds so that I would have enough for the whole film. It was just that exciting.

Michael Giacchino once again delivers on all fronts. Much like his beautiful work with Speed Racer last year, he effortlessly integrates the original theme into his own score, creating a score that sent goosebumps down my arms. Oh, SilverScreeners, I wish I could say I was exaggerating, but there is just no exaggeration necessary when discussing the work of Michael Giacchino. He is amazing!

The plot, by the way, revolves around the "origin story" of the crew of the Enterprise from the original series, with the villain being a renegade Romulan named Captain Nero (an unrecognizable Eric Bana). That's all I'll say. I went in with a blank slate, so why shouldn't you? I will say this -- the way they explain away the differences between traditional continuity and this new one is, I think, pretty ingenious. Kudos, then, to screenwriters Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci.

The actors are clearly having serious fun, by which I mean they touch on camp while remaining sincere, much like the performances in Speed Racer. Chris Pine is a Captain Kirk I could get behind (not that way, though he definitely is a virile one). Zoe Saldana is a smoldering Uhura, the type of gal I'm most attracted to: well-proportioned, bad-ass, and the smartest one in the room. Dare I mention the applause my row gave every time Karl Urban appeared as Dr. McCoy? They would have been thunderous were it not for the rest of the people in the theater. Simon Pegg rocked, of course, as Scotty. And yes, Hollmann Award Winner Bruce Greenwood did cause us to high-five, if only because he is just so paternal and in control.

Zachary Quinto is the real shining jewel here. The Spock in this film is torn between his two sides: human and Vulcan. And Quinto sells this turmoil, this struggle to keep his emotions in check with regards to logic, even as Kirk disregards the latter and encourages the former. I never watched much Star Trek as a kid (or as a teen, for that matter), but Spock was always my favorite. With Quinto, I feel even more justified. His performance is truly remarkable.

So, yeah, I have to say Mother's Day weekend is probably the best weekend for movies thus far. Speed Racer last year, Star Trek this year. What will Giacchino give us in 2010?

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Casting Coup: Clue

With the success of Transformers and the anticipation for G.I. Joe rising (...right?), Hasbro apparently thought, "Hey, if it works for toys, why not with board games???" To that end, Hasbro has partnered with a number of high-up film people to produce cinematic version of Monopoly, Candy Land (which I actually think sounds awesome), Ouija (...) and -- get this -- Clue.

"But wait!" you're probably saying (and even if you're not, I've already typed it out). "Wasn't Clue already a movie? A fantastically awesome movie starring Madeline Khan's sexy, sexy self as Mrs. White? Did I dream that?" And you would be right; Clue was a comedy in 1984 with all-star cast and three alternate endings. It is an awesome movie.

Here's where Hasbro got clever. Instead of giving us a remake of that movie, they want Gore Verbinski and the geniuses at Universal (yay!!!) to make an original dramatic murder-mystery with twists and turns and DRAMA. An interesting step to take, I think, as even the play-along video and book series took none of it seriously. As of now, it is still in the development stages, so I thought I would propose an approach that may seem complicated, but is actually quite...well, okay, it's complicated.

Over the years, a number of different Clues have surfaced. There's Original, Master Detective, Clue FX, Clue Mysteries, and variations on these. All these different versions mean that several characters, not just the six we all know and love, have been added to Clue Canon. Alongside these new characters are new storylines, new motives, and a new corpse. Pretty cool, eh?

That's not all. If we include dead bodies and a butler character that narrates Clue FX, we have thirteen characters in all. Three of these characters have been used as "non-suspects"; that is, they are playable characters who are not considered to be among those who might have done it. Two separate plotlines include the murders of both Mr. Boddy and his lawyer, Mr. Meadow-Brook. Two characters at separate times have had the surname of Grey, and I use both -- quite cleverly, if I say so myself. And, to top it all off, I've added a character of my own creation, one who premiered when I wrote stage adaptation of Clue back in middle school.

Most of the character info is, indeed, canon.

THE VICTIMS

DR. DAVID BLACK/MR. JOHN BODDY
Who is He: A retired general practicioner, Dr. Black is known and reviled by many. Owner of Tudor Mansion. He holds a masked ball for his birthday, attended by a number of guests. It is here that he happens to mention a possible changing of his will. At first nicknamed "Mr. Boddy" when his headless corpse is found on the front lawn, he is later identified by a mole on his wrist. The head is never found, and it apparent that he was not killed on his lawn, leaving it up to the police to discover who killed him, where, and with what.

My Choice: Academy Award Nominee for Best Actor (Lawrence of Arabia, The Lion in Winter, Becket, Goodbye, Mr. Chips, The Ruling Class, The Stunt Man, My Favorite Year, Venus), BAFTA Award Winner for Best British Actor (Lawrence of Arabia), Golden Globe Winner for Best Actor in a Drama (The Lion in Winter, Becket), Best Actor in a Musical/Comedy (Goodbye, Mr. Chips) and Most Promising Newcomer – Male, SAG Award Nominee for Best Actor (Venus), Hollmann Award Nominee for Best Supporting Actor (Ratatouille)

Peter O'Toole (Man of La Mancha, Stardust)
I like the idea of Black/Boddy as an elderly man, as it enables all sorts of interesting subplots involving heirs, spouses, and relations. And I love Peter O'Toole, so I would leap at the chance of working with him.


MILES MEADOW-BROOK
Who is He: Dr. Black's lawyer. It is he who holds the secret of how Dr. Black left his fortune. Chartreuse and Gray are on their way to question him when he, too, is found dead in his office. Are the murders connected?

My Choice: Academy Award Winner for Best Supporting Actor (Million Dollar Baby), Golden Globe Winner for Best Actor in a Musical/Comedy (Driving Miss Daisy), SAG Award Winner for Best Supporting Actor (Million Dollar Baby)

Morgan Freeman (Bruce Almighty, Glory)
Um, again, this is partly for the sake of having a Big Star play a corpse. It's fun, believe me. Freeman also has the sort of breeding that I would associate with a lawyer catering to the hoity-toity. I mean, he sounds like it, at least.

THE POLICE

INSPECTOR WILLIAM HENRY YORICK CHARTREUSE
Who is He: An original creation of mine, first created for my unproduced stage adaptation of Clue before resurfacing on the middle school morning announcements in his own mystery program. Chartreuse possesses a deadpan sense of humor. A sucker for a pretty face, Chartreuse finds himself falling for Mrs. Henrietta Peacock.

My Choice: Academy Award Nominee for Best Supporting Actor (Fargo), Golden Globe Nominee for Best Supporting Actor (Seabiscuit), SAG Award Nominee for Best Supporting Actor (Fargo) and Best Ensemble (Boogie Nights, Magnolia, Seabiscuit, Bobby)

William H. Macy (The Deal, Inland Empire)
Macy is more or less who I had always written the part of Chartreuse for. I just didn't know it at the time. Macy would have the opportunity to play the leading man this time around, not only solving the mystery, but romancing a lady as well! Since he's one of my favorite actors ever, I'd say he deserves it.


SERGEANT EARL GRAY
Who is He: Chartreuse's partner int he investigation. Unbeknownst to Chartreuse, Gray actually dropped in on the Masquerade the night of the murder. Unbeknownst to Gray, he is actually the illegitimate son of Mrs. White and Dr. Black, and was then adopted by Black's old friend, Lord Gray.

My Choice: Academy Award Nominee for Best Supporting Actor (Places in the Heart, In the Line of Fire), BAFTA Award Nominee for Best Supporting Actor (In the Line of Fire), Golden Globe Nominee for Best Supporting Actor (In the Line of Fire), SAG Award Nominee for Best Ensemble (Being John Malkovich), Hollmann Award Nominee for Best Supporting Actor (Burn After Reading)

John Malkovich (Colour Me Kubrick, Dangerous Liaisons)
There is a creepiness to Malkovich that all who look upon him immediately recognize. It is this creepiness that would benefit the character of Sgt. Gray, as it enables him to be a more believable suspect. Also, I first thought of him for Dr. Black before I went with these plot threads and chose O'Toole, so having him play Black's son was the next logical step.

INTERESTED PARTIES

ASHE
Who is He: The butler of Tudor Manor, he happened to have the evening off the night of the murder. He fills Chartreuse in on much of the family gossip.

My Choice: SAG Award Nominee for Best Ensemble (Nixon)

David Hyde Pierce (Down with Love, TV's Frasier)
It was between Pierce and Daniel Davis (TV's The Nanny), and while I've seen Davis as the butler, I've yet to see Pierce in that role. He has the voice for it though, and he could do the mannerisms. Maybe give him some spectacles, eh? That'd look neat.


PRINCE PHILIPPE AZURE
Who is He: Despite the title, there is little evidence to support his claim to royal lineage. However, it does get him in good with the right crowd. Azure is an art dealer who is not an altogether scrupulous businessman. Having been out of town on business on the night of the murder, he is not a suspect -- but he is connected to a number of them, including business partner Brunette and old rival Mustard.

My Choice: Academy Award Nominee for Best Supporting Actor (In America, Blood Diamond), Golden Globe Nominee for Best Actor in a Drama (Amistad), SAG Award Nominee for Best Supporting Actor (Blood Diamond) and Best Ensemble (Gladiator, In America)

Djimon Hounsou (The Island, Eragon)
Azure is, most famously, the first black character in Clue canon. And so, the job is to get an actor who is both black, regal enough to pull off the prince thing, suave enough to be an art dealer, handsome enough to rival Mustard. Hounsou has perfect bone structure, and he's a marvelous actor to boot, which is probably important when casting these things.


LORD ALFRED GRAY
Who is He: A retired cartographer, Lord Gray now designs water gardens for the rich. A close friend of Dr. Black's, he adopted the illegitimate offspring of the doctor and Mrs. White. Lord Gray alone knows of the history of mental instability in the Black family, making him eager to cover up any connection between his son and the victim, fearing that it was Earl who bumped Black off. He was with Chartreuse on the night of the murder.

My Choice: SAG Award Nominee for Best Ensemble (Gosford Park)

Michael Gambon (The Omen, The Good Shepherd)
Gambon is the very picture of British sophistication to me -- Gosford Park, The Good Shepherd, Sleepy Hollow. The part of Lord Gray would have great pathos involved. Imagine being a parent, thinking your offspring may be an unhinged killer. He'd be quite fantastic in the role, I think.


LADY SU SIAN LAVENDER
Who is She: An herbalist who is a key member of the grapevine. Lady Lavender treats many, including Dr. Black, Mrs. Meadow-Brook, Miss Scarlet, and Mrs. Peacock. It is rumored that she may have murdered her husband, but in this case, she is completely innocent, having given a lecture at the university. She and Professor Plum are professional colleagues.

My Choice: BAFTA Award Nominee for Best Actress (Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon)

Michelle Yeoh (Tomorrow Never Dies, Memoirs of a Geisha)
Yeoh is a marvelous actress. She can bring a bit of the sexy, but more so, she has the sophistication of wealth that Lady Lavender would possess.

THE SUSPECTS

MONSIEUR ALPHONSE BRUNETTE
Who is He: An art dealer in league with Prince Azure. Brunette is under investigation after Dr. Black blows the whistle on a number of frauds and forgeries Brunette had been dealing. Incredibly, Black still invites Brunette to his Masquerade, giving Brunette the opportunity to silence the whistle-blower once and for all.

My Choice: Hollmann Award Nominee for Best Actor (The Diving Bell and the Butterfly)

Mathieu Amalric (A Christmas Tale, Quantum of Solace)
Marvelous French actor playing a French fraud. And he looks good in brown. His Dominic Greene was the perfect model for this character. I fancy he'd use a blunt instrument.


REVEREND THALLO GREEN
Who is He: Rev. Green does not run the local church; rather, he is a traveling evangelist who holds revival meetings on Dr. Black's lawn. When Black catches him stealing from the church funds, his reputation is at risk. Fortunately, there is the Masquerade to attend.

My Choice: Academy Award Nominee for Best Actor (The Visitor), SAG Award Nominee for Best Actor (The Visitor)

Richard Jenkins (Intolerable Cruelty, I Heart Huckabees)
Jenkins is the priestly type, the kind whose face you'd trust. Rev. Green must appear trustworthy in order to fleece the flock. Jenkins can also play madcap and cornered, something Rev. Green must feel if he is to have a motive.


JANE MEADOW-BROOK
Who is She: The widow of Miles Meadow-Brook, and the chief gossip of the village. She and Miles were not known for their harmonious marital bliss -- quite the opposite! Mrs. Meadow-Brook is lovely, of course, and this is something that did not go unnoticed by Dr. Black. Could Miles have killed Dr. Black out of jealousy, only to be murdered by his unhappy wife?

My Choice: Academy Award Winner for Best Actress (Blue Sky) and Best Supporting Actress (Tootsie), BAFTA Award Nominee for Best Actress (Tootsie), Golden Globe Winner for Best Actress in a Drama (Blue Sky), Best Supporting Actress (Tootsie) and Best Female Acting Debut (King Kong), SAG Award Nominee for Best Actress (Blue Sky)

Jessica Lange (Grey Gardens, Big Fish)
Still beautiful at the age of sixty, I can still see her playing the vamp. And she's old enough to be the biddy, as Mrs. Meadow-Brook is wont to be. And she looks good in blue and shades thereof, which Mrs. Meadow-Brook is traditionally adorned in.


COLONEL ALGERNON MUSTARD
Who is He: A military man, intensely masculine and hot-tempered. Colonel Mustard is an accomplished author, and has been working on one covering his exploits until his publisher, Dr. Black, pulls out at the last minute. Mustard is an expert shot and carries a torch for Miss Scarlet, though Miss Peach also offers him her attentions.

My Choice: Academy Award Nominee for Best Actor (The English Patient) and Best Supporting Actor (Schindler’s List), BAFTA Award Winner for Best Supporting Actor (Schindler’s List), Golden Globe Nominee for Best Actor (The English Patient) and Best Supporting Actor (Schindler’s List, The Duchess), SAG Award Nominee for Best Actor (The English Patient) and Best Ensemble (The English Patient), Hollmann Award Nominee for Best Supporting Actor (The Duchess)

Ralph Fiennes (In Bruges, The Reader)
Dashing, masculine, British, and can do an American accent if need be. A romance between him and either Scarlet or Peach would be welcome. He has been doing stick-in-the-mud types lately (In Bruges excepted), so a colonel would be no problem, I imagine.


RUSTY NAYLOR
Who is He: An old, bitter gardener, Rusty is preparing for retirement. Rumor has it, however, that Black has changed his will, and the ancient Rusty cannot bear the idea of being broke at his advanced age. His landscaping tends not to agree with the designs of Lord Gray, and so the two have a bit of a rivalry.

My Choice: Academy Award Winner for Best Actor (Tender Mercies), BAFTA Award Winner for Best Supporting Actor (Apocalypse Now), Golden Globe Winner for Best Actor (Tender Mercies) and Best Supporting Actor (Apocalypse Now), SAG Award Winner for Best Supporting Actor (A Civil Action)

Robert Duvall (Thank You for Smoking, Network)
Lookit those hands. Those hands are rough, a gardener's hands. He's also old as hell (and heaven!), so the bitterness of Rusty would come through. Plus, how much would you love to see Robert Duvall in something like this?


MISS GEORGIA PEACH
Who is She: Your typical Southern Belle, this schoolteacher is sweet as molasses and as beautiful as a magnolia blossom. As Dr. Black's niece, she's more than set up for life when he dies -- unless he's changed his will. Miss Peach is an eligible bachelorette with designs on Colonel Mustard, though Professor Plum seems to be the only one who appreciates her company.

My Choice:

Kristin Chenoweth (Bewitched, RV)
She has a Southern accent and...well, come on, do I really need to elucidate matters for ya? She's Kristin Freeking Chenoweth.


MRS. HENRIETTA PEACOCK
Who is She: Mrs. Peacock is the grande dame of Clue, a well-mannered lady of great wealth. That wealth, by the way, comes from four husbands, all of whom died mysteriously. Could Dr. Black have something concrete on the local dowager? Even he did, Chartreuse may not be looking hard enough, and Mrs. Peacock does seem to be gearing up for husband Number Five...

My Choice: Academy Award Nominee for Best Supporting Actress (Pieces of April), Golden Globe Nominee for Bets Supporting Actress (Pieces of April), SAG Award Nominee for Best Actress (The Station Agent), Best Supporting Actress (Pieces of April) and Best Ensemble (The Green Mile, The Station Agent, Good Night, and Good Luck.)

Patricia Clarkson (Miracle, the upcoming Whatever Works)
No surprise here, I'm sure. Patricia Clarkson, as you should know, is one of those actresses I can't get enough of. A beautiful older woman who has played the priss before, I feel as though Patty C is the only one who could pull off Mrs. Peacock admirably. And she is adorable in blue. She should wear that.


PROFESSOR EDGAR PLUM
Who is He: The smartest guy in the room, Prof. Plum's intelligence is masked by his social awkwardness. An expert on poisons and herbs, Plum teaches at the nearby University and frequently discusses herbology with Lady Lavender. Much of Plum's past is unclear, though it seems as though Dr. Black knew a thing or two. Plum pines for Miss Peach, but she seems not to notice him.

My Choice: Golden Globe Nominee for Best Actor in a Musical/Comedy (Stranger Than Fiction) and Best Supporting Actor (The Producers), Hollmann Award Nominee for Best Actor (Stranger Than Fiction)

Will Ferrell (Step Brothers, Night at the Roxbury)
He can do serious. I know Stranger Than Fiction was rather light, but it was unusual for Ferrell to play a role that subdued, and he nailed it. I imagine him with a mustache and glasses would be awesome. Because it would be. He could be the comic relief, and seeing him awkwardly flirt with Miss Peach would be AWWWWW.


MADAME RHODA ROSE
Who is She: Dr. Black's former secretary, this Eastern European mystic crashes the Masquerade with the revelation of a vision -- Dr. Black, DEAD! The guests laugh it off, but Madame Rose is soon proved right, though Chartreuse suspects that she may have had a hand in his demise. His suspicions become stronger when it is revealed that Rose and Black shared a father...

My Choice: BAFTA Award Winner for Most Promising Newcomer (The Lacemaker)

Isabelle Huppert (8 Women, I Heart Huckabees)
Beautiful. Mysterious. French. Huppert's otherworldliness lends credence to the mystic's mystique. She always delivers, too, no matter what the genre.


MISS VIVIENNE SCARLET
Who is She: A starlet on the rise, Miss Scarlet arrives in town under mysterious cirucmstances. Though forty years his junior, she seems to be intimately acquainted with Dr. Black. She appears to have designs on all the men in town, leaving Miss Peach bitter. She may be French, but her father married an American widow before his death, making her stepmother none other than Mrs. Peacock. This means Chartreuse must tread lightly with her, even as she constantly lies and covers up her past.

My Choice: Academy Award Winner for Best Actress (La Vie en Rose), BAFTA Award Winner for Best Actress (La Vie en Rose), Golden Globe Winner for Best Actress in a Musical/Comedy (La Vie en Rose), SAG Award Nominee for Best Actress (La Vie en Rose), Hollmann Award Winner for Best Actress (La Vie en Rose)

Marion Cotillard (A Very Long Engagement, the upcoming Public Enemies)
Oh holy crap she is so beautiful.


MRS. BLANCHE WHITE
Who is She: Dr. Black's faithful housekeeper. Having attended to his needs for fifty years, Mrs. White also happens to be the mother of Dr. Black's only son, the one adopted by Lord Gray. Mrs. White has grown tired of her job, and begins to realize that she will only be free when Dr. Black dies. When it is hinted that he is drawing up a new will in which she will not benefit, Mrs. White appears to panic. Luckily, she is the only servant at Tudor Manor when the Masquerade is held.

My Choice: Academy Award Nominee for Best Supporting Actress (Enchanted April), BAFTA Award Nominee for Best Supporting Actress (Equus) and Most Promising Newcomer (The Entertainer), Golden Globe Winner for Best Supporting Actress (Enchanted April)

Joan Plowright (Last Action Hero, Curious George)
Plowright has such sad eyes, I think, and Mrs. White is a tired, sad woman. She could bring class to any role, and I don't think I've seen her in a challenging mainstream role in ages. It's time.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Random, Perhaps, But....

Whenever I listen to Philip Glass's Einstein on the Beach, I like to imagine that it's Patricia Clarkson talking about the prematurely air-conditioned supermarket.



"I was in a prematurely air-conditioned super market and there were all these aisles, and there were all these bathing caps that you could buy which had these kind of Fourth of July plumes on them: they were red and yellow and blue; I wasn't tempted to buy one, but I was reminded of the fact that I had been avoiding the beach."

Does anyone else ever do this? I know we all listen to Philip Glass religiously, so it's a fair question, I feel.


The Something Blue Could Be Her Eyes...Her Beautiful, Beautiful Eyes

Maggie Gyllenhaal is married.



*Sigh* Looks like I have to strike another one off the list. At least Drew's still single. And likes younger guys.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Poetry

I forgot to post the Number One Greatest Line in The Informers. My b.



Cameron Goodman as Susan Sloan, to brother Graham (Jon Foster):

"You're so stoned. You're such a stoner!"

HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!! You HAVE to hear this delivery.

One Man's Trash is My Treasure. And Also, Trash.

I don't know how to sell you on <span style="font-style:italic;">The Informers</span>. I could tell you not to believe the 14% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, but I would be lying. I could tell you it's the awesomest movie I have ever seen, but that, too, would just not be right (The Wicker Man remake will always have that place). I could tell you it's just as good as it is bad; while true, it's just too vague for you to really get the idea.



Also, I have no clue what version of The Informers this poster is selling. Not the one I saw, that's for sure.

Perhaps this is just evidence of my youth, but I don't think I've seen a movie as trashy as <span style="font-style:italic;">The Informers</span>. And yet it's also too tame for it's own good. It's wild and exciting, but also subdued and dull. Winona Ryder is in a heightened comedy; Billy Bob Thornton is falling asleep; Jon Foster is in The Most Serious Drama Ever; Chris Isaak and Amber Heard are in a clever satire of the 1980s, which is probably closest to what Brett Easton Ellis (co-adapting his own source material with Nicholas Jarecki) intended. Green screen effects: awful. CG fly effects: laughable. Score: at odds with its surroundings.

And yet I loved it. I mean, I really, really loved it. It wasn't good by any means, but I could see myself buying the DVD and holding parties at my house to watch this. It is so lovably awful, you must see it to believe it.

Consider:

-A pederastic rock star punches out a girl from Nebraska...because he can.

-Everyone sleeps with Austin Nichols and his stupid hair, including some of the men.

-Amber Heard does not put on clothes until her last two scenes.

-Brad Renfro's final, terrible performance, which I am convinced is what killed him.

-Winona Ryder playing every scene like she just snorted coke, drank a pot of coffee, and shot adrenaline into her eyeballs.

-We get two (2 [TWO!!!]) music video sequences, one of which features Amber Heard dancing topless

-AIDS as a deus ex machina

-No attempt to connect or develop tenuous plot threads

-Three characters that get whole scenes to themselves in the first half are promptly dropped and never mentioned again

-Did I mention Chris Isaak as a pervy dad trying to get his son laid in Hawaii?

-Lines like, "I need someone to tell me what's good....and what's bad."

-This dialogue:
AMBER HEARD: I wanna stay.
JON FOSTER: But it's cold.
AMBER HEARD: Mm. I want to stay in the sun.
JON FOSTER: (Dramatic pause, whisper) But the sun is gone.

-------

Oh, I could go on and on. Did I mention Mickey Rourke kidnaps and sells children? Or that there's a scene where an amateur glam band gets Winona Ryder's autograph while giggling madly? Or that all the under-forties have nude scenes at the beginning? Or how everyone mentions The Big Concert, then no one goes?

It's just histrionic fun for Basinger and Renfro; bored ennui for the rest of the cast. And the director! Oh man, he must come from the "meh" school of film, because it looks like nobody was on the same page. The cinematography is all back-lighting, and a lot of scenes have that hazy look that you get when you first wake up and turn on the bathroom lights. You know what I mean.

I can't wait to buy this on DVD and have a party for it. It can last the whole weekend, and we can watch this alongside Mae West's <span style="font-style:italic;">Sextette</span>, as a sort of marathon of excessive final films. Yeah, it's kind of on that level. One complaint: They should have kept the vampire storyline with Brandon Routh. That just would have completed the outrageous-thon that was happening.

Do I give it one star? Four stars? No stars? The answer is a resounding yes!

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Things to Like About X-Men Origins: Wolverine

The opening credit sequence, in which we are given a history of Sabretooth and Wolverine via their involvement in every war from the Civil one through Vietnam. It's pretty cool, I have to admit. The music's right, the cinematography is awesome, hell yeah.


Liev Schreiber as Sabretooth/Victor Creed. Thank goodness someone can balance fun with awesome. I wish we could see more of him.

The trailers that played before the movie were good, too. I'm super-excited for Transformers: Rise of the Fallen. Looks like a big pile of awesome. I love Michael Bay. He makes what he wants and never apologizes for it.

And...yeah, that's about it. Not a good movie. Nope. Not even if you stretch your imagination a little. Oh, don't get me wrong, there's fun to be had -- some parts have just enough awesome stupidity to make you go, "Okay, what next?" Then the "next" comes, and it's thoroughly disappointing.

C? C-? Somewhere along those lines.

Shame on you, Hugh Jackman.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Theatre News



Holy crap, a stage version of Breakfast at Tiffany's in the works. Only this version will keep most of the characters from the novella -- and Holly will be a call girl. Just like in the book. Interesting.

Adapted by Samuel Adamson, the play is set to debut in London, with Anna Friel (Chuck on Pushing Daisies) in talk to take the lead.

Pretty exciting, if I do say so meself. You can read more about it here.