Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Star (2001)

Genre Short film Director Guy Ritchie Cast Madonna, Clive Owen, Michael Beattie, Troy Aguayo

In an interview with Rolling Stone, Madonna gave a lengthy dissertation of her name's inception. "Everyone I know calls me M. Madge is a press thing in England. I heard two versions where it came from. One is that Madge is an English colloquialism, like a name that would suit a housewife, which is the opposite of who I am. The other is that it's short for majesty. I like that one better."

No one, of course, was surprised when she played a bratty, petulant pop royalty in
Guy Ritchie's 10-minute short film for BMW, Star. "Coffee!" she shrieks. "I WANT MY COFFEE!"

She's in town for a red carpet engagement and she's
running late. "If you keep your eyes on the road instead of on me, we might be getting somewhere," she sneers at her driver (Clive Owen). "I'm gracing this armpit of a town for one night. If you think I'm gonna know the name of the venue in El Arm-Pitto, you're sadly mistaken. Take me wherever!" she barks.

"Let me see what I can do... sir," says her driver.

"Get me out of here!" she screams.

"Madam," he replies, looking at her in the eye. "I'm
going to give you the ride of your life."

He keeps his promise and gives her something she'll
never forget. With Blur's "Song 2" playing in the background, their car swerves, overtakes other vehicles and zooms past the speed limit.

"You just hang on tight, sir!" he shouts, as he
turns the BMW M5 near the sidewalk, sending his passenger slamming against the door. "We'll get you there safely, sir!"

Star is your typical Guy Ritchie movie: brash, funny
and immensely entertaining. It's funny how Clive keeps calling Madge "sir" while she's being thrown sideways inside the M5. The look of glee in his face tells me that he's not acting nor pretending. I don't blame him. For some reason, it's comforting to see
Madonna get mauled in the backseat of a BMW M5.

To view the film, click here.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

New Moon (2009)

There they are, running around shirtless in the woods. Don't werewolves get cold? What about pneumonia?

"One hundred eight degrees over here," says Jacob Black (Taylor Lautner), pointing to his chest.

"My hands are freezing," Bella Swan (Kristen Stewart) shivers. "Must be nice never getting cold."

"It's a wolf thing," Jacob answers.

In New Moon, last year's sequel to Twilight, the formerly lanky Jacob Black cuts his hair and beefs up.

"Hello biceps," Bella stares at Jacob.

It's been months since they last saw each other and Ms. Swan is quite taken by the gorgeous, newly rejuvenated lump of flesh she's seeing. Her "vegan" lover, the vampire Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson), dumped her on her 18th birthday. "This is the last time you'll see me," he said, then took off.

The breakup deeply affected Bella, pushing her to long bouts of emo moments. "You've disappeared like everything else," she wrote in her journal. "When you left, you took everything with you. It's like a huge hole has been punched through my chest."

That was before she saw Jacob's bulging pecs. These, of course, promptly made her change her mind. "He makes me feel better," she said, referring to her studly werewolf friend. "I mean, he makes me feel alive. The hole in my chest... well, when I'm with Jake it's like it's almost healed for a while."

When Bella's rendezvous with her motorcycle resulted in a near fatal road mishap, I started having migraine.

"Oh man, your head," Jacob says, promptly taking off his shirt to wipe her wound.

Bella blushed.

"You're sort of beautiful," she says.

Jacob smiles. "How hard did you hit your head?"

My thought exactly. How hard did Bella hit her head? I hope she didn't bump her head too hard. There are two more Twilight movies we have to watch.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Funny People (2009)

His film career started with Going Overboard (1989), a movie set in a cruise ship teeming with Panamanian mercenaries, Miss Universe contestants and arthritic, aging tourists. What followed is a long chain of ugly, undeniably horrible movies: Shakes the Clown (1991), Airheads (1994), and The Waterboy (1998).

Last year, Adam Sandler surprised everyone by doing Funny People, a movie unlike his previous works. Sandler plays
George Simmons, an obnoxious, self-serving comedienne who — despite his life-threatening illness — still finds time to offend people.

“It's too early to know who's winning the fight,” Dr. Lars declares. “The medicine or the disease.”

George frowns. “Did anybody ever tell you, you have a very scary accent?”

“You are a very funny man,” Lars smiles. “I enjoy your movies.”

“And I enjoy all of your movies,” George answers.

“Which movies?”

“The ones where you try to kill Bruce Willis.”

Sandler shines in scenes like this and sucks in weepy, three-hankie sequences. Luckily, Funny People plays to Sandlers’ strength.

Writer-director Judd Apatow allowed Sandler, Seth Rogen (Ira Wright) and Jonah Hill (Leo Koenig) to do stand-up comedy with an actual live audience. They improvised and kept the punchlines rolling till the audience fell on the floor, laughing their uterus (and kidneys) out.

“I masturbate with hand cream I forget people use it for shit other than masturbating,” Ira declares.

The audience cheers.

Funny People isn’t just about green jokes and snide one-liners (“It's not my fault your grandpa is playing backgammon with Hitler!” Leo shouts). It has quiet, tender moments too, like the supermarket scene and George’s stand-up routine in the beginning.

“George Simmons will be gone,” he reveals. “And he's not going to miss any of you. We've always had a strained relationship. You wanted too much from me, and I'm very mad at you.”

It's disturbing how the line between reason and humor gets fuzzy in Funny People.
Even though George is dead serious, the audience claps and laughs like there's no tomorrow.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Alice in Wonderland (2010)

Release Date 5 March 2010 (USA) Director Tim Burton Cast Mia Wasikowska (Alice Kingsley), Johnny Depp (The Mad Hatter), Helena Bonham Carter (The Red Queen), Anne Hathaway (The White Queen)
"Downal wyth Bluddy Behg Hid."

Loosely translated, that's "Down with the Red Queen."

In Tim Burton's
Alice in Wonderland, a ragtag group of misfits revolts against The Red Queen (Helena Bonham Carter) who — since overthrowing The White Queen (Anne Hathaway) — has been ruling with an iron fist.

Alice returns to Wonderland 10 years after her first visit, reuniting with familiar faces.

"Alice, you're terribly late," the Mad Hatter (Johnny Depp) coos. "Naughty."

CGI and motion capture technology helped Tim Burton recreate Wonderland's curious environs. Twenty-year-old Australian actress Mia Wasikowska (Alice) found herself hobnobbing with characters both tangible (The Knave of Hearts played by actor Crispin Glover) and virtual (the March Hare, entirely computer generated).

As for the Mad Hatter and The Red Queen — two of the more memorable characters in
Alice in Wonderland — Burton turns on the sympathy button, showing us the very things that make them human. The strange hue of the Mad Hatter's hair and eyes is attributed to mercury poisoning while The Red Queen's temper is said to be caused by a tumor growing in her head.

With Burton's penchance for wit and flair and the film's superb cast of supporting actors (Michael Sheen as the White Rabbit; Alan Rickman as Absolem, the Caterpillar; Christopher Lee as the Jabberwocky), Alice in Wonderland may just be this year's most promising movie.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Essential Ads: 2008

Louis Vuitton: The Climate Change Project photographed by Annie Leibovitz featuring Francis Ford Coppola, Sofia Coppola and Catherine Deneuve

Disney: Dream Portrait Series photographed by Annie Leibovitz featuring The Little Mermaid (Julianne Moore as Ariel and Michael Phelps), The Sword in the Stone (Roger Federer as King Arthur) and Sleeping Beauty (David Beckham as Prince Phillip)

Burberry photographed by Mario Testino featuring Sam Riley

Gap: Create Your Own Gap photographed by Mikael Jansson featuring Hugh Dancy and Catalina Sandino Moreno

Gap: Holidays Winter 2008 photographed by Michael Thompson featuring Jason Bateman and Jennifer Hudson

Monday, January 4, 2010

Essential Movie Posters: 2008

Gomorrah (Italy)Ballast (USA)Waltz with Bashir (Israel)Flash of Genius (USA) • The Order of Myths (USA) • Burn After Reading (USA) • La forteresse (Switzerland) • Blindness (Canada/Brazil)