Archive for November, 2010

November 18, 2010

Life and Times: Helena Bonham Carter

Helena Bonham Carter is opening two movies in two weekends! The girl is busy. First we’ve got the behemoth Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part I and then it’s Oscar porn The King’s Speech for which she’s nearly secured a Supporting Actress nomination. All of that makes her the perfect candidate for this weeks Life and Times.

Helena is a Brit through and through. She was born in Golders Green, London which just sounds British on May 26th, 1966. After a turbulent childhood involving a psychotic mother and a semi-paralyzed father, she decided to forgo college to pursue acting. She had a humble acting debut with a television film called A Pattern of Roses. Her first leading roles were all in British period pieces such as Lady Jane or A Room with a View. This gave her the title “The Corset Queen” which I quite like.

Her personal life is a two man show. It started with a five year relationship with one of the leading British male actors (“The Corset King?”), Kenneth Branagh! After dating for 5 years, their relationship ended. In 2001, she and her current beau Tim Burton met on the set of one of the most romantic films of all times – Planet of the Apes. They have been an item ever since (but not married! how quirky and unconventional). Since she and Tim are not married, but they share two children, Billy Ray and Nell, they have a unique (unconventional) living situation. They have 2 houses next door to each other in Belsize Park, London with a door connecting the two houses. ADORABLE!

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November 17, 2010

Movie Review: “Megamind” is (surprisingly) Mega Fun!

Megamind 7/10

Hot on the trails of Despicable Me, Megamind was sure to look silly and washed up in response. But the film sends a completely different message and, in my humble opinion, responds to the notion of super villains as heroes in a much better way. Will Ferrell expertly voiced our “hero” Megamind as well as a host of his secret identities – including a Godfather/Wayne Newton oddball.

The trailer sets up the film to be about the rivalry between Metro City’s beloved hero Metro Man and our cyan protagonist Megamind. But just when you think the movies going to zig, it zags. Right out of the gate, Megamind defeats Metro Man!!! I was actually shocked that they would kill off one of their main marketing tools, but they did! And the payoff was great.

The story then became about Megamind’s existential crisis without his nemesis. What is a villain without a hero? This is the main question that the movie tries to answer. It kinds of dances around the questions, but by the end, there has been enough commentary on it that we sort of emerge with an answer.

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November 17, 2010

Glee: I wish Gwyneth Would Be My “Subsitute”

So if you haven’t already found it 7,000 places on the web, last night Gwyneth Paltrow showed up on Glee to fill in for Will Schuester. The better part? The episode was fantastic. Not flawless, but a marked improvement over the last episode.

Let’s use this episode to talk about what Glee does right or wrong.

  • Will did not rap! Instead he sang something in Matthew Morrison’s broadway wheel house, “Make ‘Em Laugh” which was a pleasure to watch. (Artie still rapped, but that’s not quite as bad)
  • They took a plot line from the previous episode and continued it! Maybe not every plot line, but they did not shy away from bringing back Kurt’s trauma with resident bully Dave, and his new friendship with the Marion Cotillard obsessed Blaine.
  • They used their guest star well. This is actually Glee’s forte. All of their big name stars have been well-used and phenomenal. From Neil Patrick Harris to John Stamos to Gwyneth Paltrow, Glee knows how to showcase a special star.
  • Every character was represented… mostly. So what that Tina, Quinn, and Sam didn’t have lines until the last 3 minutes? They had lines. That’s better than most episodes. We had a return of Terri, but no Emma. So this episode almost succeeded here.
  • Sue Sylvester is back to terrorizing Will. The hair comments were in full force and she took her antics to new levels.
  • The made fun of itself. It doesn’t do this too often, but the show at its core is kind of a dark comedy. We laugh at Brittany, not with her. The show usually ignores the absurd, but this episode embraced it and turned it back on the characters. A good example? Blaine always wears his uniform even when not at school… JUST LIKE THE CHEERIOS!

And now let’s dive into the Gwyneth.

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November 16, 2010

Gold Diggers: Actress Action

Since last week The Hollywood Reporter hosted an actress roundtable that was a quite enjoyable watch, I thought I would comment on the state of the actress race. THR had 6 actresses chatting at their poorly decorate table: Amy Adams, Annette Bening, Helena Bonham Carter, Nicole Kidman, Natalie Portman, and Hilary Swank. I think they batted 5 for 6 in predicting future nominees… but let’s step into the field and take a look.

I’ll show you how I go through my process. There are 2 strategies and I try and use both. There are certain categories that you can fill and choose actresses that you think will get nominated. Or you can eliminate people by mentioning some aspect of their chances that are polarizing and will ultimately fail.


Here’s the field: Amy Adams (The Fighter), Helena Bonham Carter (The King’s Speech), Marion Cotillard (Inception), Elle Fanning (Somewhere), Barbara Hershey (Black Swan), Mila Kunis (Black Swan), Melissa Leo (The Fighter), Miranda Richardson (Made in Dagenham), Saorise Ronan (The Way Back), Sissy Spacek (Get Low), Hailee Steinfeld (True Grit), Jacki Weaver (Animal Kingdom), Dianne Wiest (Rabbit Hole)

I’ll be very surprised if someone outside of these 13 names gets a nomination. It’s a very weak field and these are definitely the people with the most buzz. Let’s start with some eliminations. Elle Fanning is probably great, but I think she is the minor with the least buzz. Jacki Weaver has a very strong following, but it’s small. I don’t think many people will see her film, nor do I think her performance is up to snuff.

Mila Kunis is a little too branded as just a pretty face to break through, and I’m not sure the Academy will respond to her being the driving force of lesbianism in an evil way. And I haven’t seen Black Swan yet, but I don’t think Barbara Hershey gets too much to do as the stage mom. Black Swan is Natalie Portman’s show… but we’ll get there later. Marion Cotillard is Inception’s best shot at an acting nomination, but I think the her chances have deteriorated since Inception’s lost steam since the summer. A DVD release might do something, but I bet more for Best Picture win chances as opposed to her nomination chances.

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November 15, 2010

TV Review: How I Met Your Mother “Glitters” and Sparkles!

Thank goodness! How I Met Your Mother has finally given us the final piece of the Robin Sparkles trilogy! And it delivered. As the episode does, let’s start with a brief history of Robin Sparkles. In arguably HIMYM’s best episode “Slap Bet” we discover Robin is afraid of malls. Barney and Marshall make a slap bet of whether she did porn or not. Marshall was the slap bet winner because Robins secret was that in middle school she moonlighted as a pop star named Robin Sparkles whose single was titled “Let’s Go to the Mall!”

The story of Robin Sparkles rise to fame continued in the Season 3 episode “Sand Castles in the Sand.” I believe in the Season 5 Episode “The Rough Patch” Lily tries to use Alan Thicke to break up Robin and Barney. It is here that we learned about Robin Sparkles having worked with Alan Thicke in the past and the show forced us to wait for the final piece. Well played Bays and Thomas…

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November 12, 2010

Movie Reviews: Veteran’s Day Double Whammy

Yesterday was Veteran’s Day, one of the more under-appreciated American holidays. But it is one that reminds us all how lucky we are to be Americans and how thankful we must be to those who fight for that to continue. God bless the troops.

But ignorant me didn’t realize it was veteran’s day until the evening. The ironic part? I had already watched the perfect Veteran’s Day movie…

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November 9, 2010

Glee: “Never Been Kissed” and Maybe Never Should Be.

I can’t believe this is the first time I’ve written about Glee. Sometime soon I’m going to gather my thoughts, have a Glee marathon, and really write something meaningful. But I’ll just focus on this last episode. I guess I should preface this by saying that I watch Glee live on television. That means something. In the modern age of internet and Hulu, that’s rare. Really rare at college. Ever since the single best pilot episode for any show ever, Glee only lets me down. Again, I watch every episode as soon as I can. I think the world of all of the actors. They are so talented. My problems are with Ryan Murphy. So Gleeks beware, this post will not be pretty: I will not praise the hilarity of Sue Sylvester, I will not laud the poppy musical numbers, and I will most certainly not give Ryan Murphy any credit for the dark comedy that has swept the nation.

“Never Been Kissed” had three main story lines. I will now list them in order of most egregious first to least, but still heinously egregious last.

Kurt’s Story

The most awful was Kurt’s. Upset from being the only out and proud person at his McKinley High, he goes to the private all boys school to “spy” on the all male a cappella group. There he meets a hunky boy, Blaine, as played by Darren Criss. After a romantic song and a peek into life without bullies, Blaine gives Kurt courage. Literally. Through a text. All it says is “Courage — Blaine.” Anyway I guess this is where I’m going to put up my SPOILER ALERT! And ask you to read on, Gleeks… if you dare.

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