Wednesday, December 23, 2009
Friday, December 18, 2009
Release Date: May 21, 2010
Website: Official Shrek website
Starring: Voices of Mike Myers, Cameron Diaz, Eddie Murphy, Antonio Banderas
My Review: Despite the fact that Shrek the Third was a pretty solid conclusion to the Shrek story, Dreamworks is offering a fourth installment, which they insist is the final chapter. Unless it’s wildly successful, in which you can expect to see Five Golden Shreks in theaters next Christmas.
In a short teaser for Shrek Forever After, it seems that all is not well in Far Far Away. Shrek is under a curse that turns his happy swamp life upside-down; Fiona is wanted by angry villagers, Donkey has no idea who Shrek is, and Puss is no longer the svelte, debonair cat he once was, instead is favoring a life of blissful (and fat) domesticity. Can Shrek save the day and return everything to how it once was?
The usual band of voice talent returns for Shrek Forever After, including Mike Myers, Cameron Diaz, Eddie Murphy, and Antonio Banderas. Even Eric Idle as Merlin and Justin Timberlake as Artie are back for more adventure. Rumpelstiltskin is the newest fairy tale character to join the cast, voiced by cartoon writer/animator, Walt Dohrn.
All snark aside, I did enjoy the first three Shrek movies (the second one being my personal favorite), so I’ll eventually see Shrek Forever After. I just wonder how necessary it was to milk four movies out of the premise. The third movie was already clearly struggling to live up to the first two, so is there enough magic left in Dreamworks’ bag of tricks to make this fourth (and final?) chapter worthwhile?
Would I Pay For It?: I’m pretty sure this will be a rental for me. Unless I get passes to a free screening like I did for Shrek the Third. Or I’m just really bored over Memorial Day Weekend.
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
The 67th annual Golden Globe nominees were announced today, which means there’s another awards show for me to blindly choose winners for since I haven’t seen most of the nominated movies (the TV nominees I’m at least somewhat familiar with). I usually take some time over the holidays to catch a few of the most buzzed about movies, but that won’t stop me from making winner guesses now.
And when I turn out to be wrong on about 80% of my picks when the Golden Globes air on January 17, I won’t particularly care due to the undoubtedly awesome hosting skills of Ricky Gervais. But don’t worry, Gervais; no pressure.
BEST MOTION PICTURE – DRAMA
THE HURT LOCKER
PRECIOUS: BASED ON THE NOVEL PUSH BY SAPPHIRE
UP IN THE AIR
I know Up in the Air is getting oodles of positive feedback, but when going up against the drama-bomb that is Precious, I wonder if it’s going to look too lightweight. I heard The Hurt Locker was also fantastic, but I don’t know if it was mainstream enough to be seriously considered. Avatar and Inglourious Basterds…no. I’d put my (metaphorical) money on Precious winning.
BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A MOTION PICTURE – DRAMA
EMILY BLUNT, THE YOUNG
SANDRA BULLOCK, THE BLIND SIDE
HELEN MIRREN, THE LAST STATION
CAREY MULLIGAN, AN EDUCATION
GABOUREY SIDIBE, PRECIOUS
I’m going to say Gabourey Sidibe all the way. Even people who were put off by every other element of Precious had nothing but raves for Sidibe’s breakout performance. Plus she is a hoot on talk shows (check out her interview on The Tonight Show), so I’d love to see her doing the post-Golden Globes chat circuit.
BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A MOTION PICTURE – DRAMA
JEFF BRIDGES, CRAZY HEART
GEORGE CLOONEY, UP IN THE AIR
COLIN FIRTH, A SINGLE MAN
MORGAN FREEMAN, INVICTUS
TOBEY MAGUIRE, BROTHERS
Probably Colin Firth, with George Clooney being a close second. Again, I think Up in the Air will be seen as too comedic when up against something like A Single
BEST MOTION PICTURE – COMEDY OR MUSICAL
(500) DAYS OF SUMMER
JULIE & JULIA
Well, The Hangover was by far the funniest of the bunch, but do the Golden Globes really want to award the funniest comedy, or the most poignant comedy? Depending on which way the wind blows, I could see (500) Days of Summer winning, but The Hangover really should.
BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A MOTION PICTURE – COMEDY OR MUSICAL
SANDRA BULLOCK, THE PROPOSAL
MARION COTILLARD, NINE
JULIA ROBERTS, DUPLICITY
MERYL STREEP, IT’S COMPLICATED
MERYL STREEP, JULIE & JULIA
So Sandra Bullock got nominated for roles in both comedy and drama…that’s…interesting, I guess. But Meryl Streep in Julie & Julia has to win this. Her Julia Child was funny, touching, and a spot-on impression without feeling like a caricature. And it was enough to make up for the soppy Amy Adams half of the movie.
BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A MOTION PICTURE – COMEDY
MATT DAMON, THE INFORMANT!
DANIEL DAY-LEWIS, NINE
ROBERT DOWNEY JR., SHERLOCK HOLMES
JOSEPH GORDON-LEVITT, (500) DAYS OF SUMMER
MICHAEL STUHLBARG, A SERIOUS MAN
It’s too bad Up in the Air isn’t considered a comedy, because Clooney could win here no problem. Everyone loves to give Daniel Day-Lewis awards (not that I’m complaining), but so far Nine has gotten mostly mediocre reviews. I’d still give him my pick, but Joseph Gordon-Levitt got a lot of positive attention for (500) Days of Summer, and this may be the only category in which the beloved indie movie has a chance of taking home a prize.
BEST ANIMATED FEATURE FILM
CLOUDY WITH A CHANCE OF MEATBALLS
FANTASTIC MR. FOX
THE PRINCESS AND THE FROG
Only an idiot bets against Pixar at this point. And Up was amazing, so no complaints here.
BEST DIRECTOR – MOTION PICTURE
KATHRYN BIGELOW, THE HURT LOCKER
JAMES CAMERON, AVATAR
CLINT EASTWOOD, INVICTUS
JASON REITMAN, UP IN THE AIR
QUENTIN TARANTINO, INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS
With all those big names up there, is it wrong that I would pick Jason Reitman to win? Well, who cares? It’s not like anyone is reading this anyway.
BEST TELEVISION SERIES – DRAMA
I’m sort of dumbfounded that Breaking Bad isn’t nominated, since that was by far and away the best drama I saw last year. So I’ll say Mad Men, also beloved and excellent, but Breaking Bad deserves a write-in vote.
BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A TELEVISION SERIES –
GLENN CLOSE, DAMAGES
JANUARY JONES, MAD MEN
JULIANNA MARGULIES, THE GOOD WIFE
ANNA PAQUIN, TRUE BLOOD
KYRA SEDGWICK, THE CLOSER
Of all these shows, I only watch Mad Men, and January Jones is about as wooden an actress as everyone else says she is. So I’ll guess Glenn Close.
BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A TELEVISION SERIES – DRAMA
SIMON BAKER, THE MENTALIST
MICHAEL C. HALL, DEXTER
HUGH LAURIE, HOUSE
BILL PAXTON, BIG LOVE
What the mother-f??? Where is Bryan Cranston? I can almost understand Breaking Bad being overlooked as a series, as some people (read: morons) are turned off by the grittiness of the show, but how is
BEST TELEVISION SERIES – COMEDY OR MUSICAL
It’ll probably be 30 Rock. I still love The Office, but it’s steadily losing steam and isn’t the great comedy it once was. Entourage hasn’t been even remotely funny for the past two years, so I don’t know what the fuck there. I enjoy Glee, but as a fun, mid-week brain break; there are way too many plot holes and sloppy production values for it to be awards material. Modern Family is really funny—probably the funniest new comedy this year—but 30 Rock is a favorite and is pretty consistent with the laughs, so I have to give it to them.
BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A TELEVISION SERIES –
COMEDY OR MUSICAL
TONI COLLETTE, UNITED STATES OF
EDIE FALCO, NURSE JACKIE
TINA FEY, 30 ROCK
LEA MICHELE, GLEE
I would say Tina Fey, but Toni Collette walked off with the Emmy for this category. Screw it, I still say Tina Fey.
BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A TELEVISION SERIES –
COMEDY OR MUSICAL
ALEC BALDWIN, 30 ROCK
STEVE CARELL, THE OFFICE
DAVID DUCHOVNY, CALIFORNICATION
THOMAS JANE, HUNG
MATTHEW MORRISON, GLEE
I wasn’t aware that anyone even watched Hung…but I digress. Alec Baldwin will mostly likely win.
So there are my 2010 Golden Globe winner picks. Hopefully within the next month I’ll see a few more of the nominated movies and be able to back up (or change) my choices. And get myself geared up for the Oscars. Oh how I love this pompous, overblown time in the entertainment world—truly the most wonderful time of the year.
Friday, December 11, 2009
Release Date: December 30, 2009 (limited)
Website: IMDB page
Starring: Bryce Dallas Howard, Chris Evans, Ann-Margret, Mamie Gummer, Jessica Collins, Ellen Burstyn
My Review: Nobody does overwrought Southern drama quite like Tennessee Williams. And despite the fact that the man has been dead for over 20 years, we’re about to get a brand-new work from him.
Williams’ screenplay for The Loss of a Teardrop Diamond was written shortly before his death in 1983 and somehow managed to disappear. Until now. Some tenacious worker bee in
The Loss of a Teardrop Diamond stars a nearly unrecognizable Bryce Dallas Howard (she’s a brunette!) as a feisty Southern belle who cares little about social conventions (the best kind of Southern belle there is). Her wild ways and shunning of conformity have made her a bit of a pariah in her affluent social circle, so she hires a handsome-but-poor boy to act as her escort to various functions. And as if that wasn’t scandalous enough, she actually falls in love with him—and isn’t shy about voicing her jealousy when his interests start to turn elsewhere.
Then there are these diamond earrings that have been in her family for generations and are worth as small fortune. When her aunt reluctantly lets her wear them to a party, and one goes missing, you can imagine how easily and quickly the accusations start to fly.
Judging by the trailer alone, it seems pretty clear why The Loss of a Teardrop Diamond took so long to resurface; this obviously isn’t going to be a classic like A Streetcar Named Desire or Cat On a Hot Tin Roof. Some might even argue that it would have been wiser to leave it buried, rather than have it mar Williams’ name by being his last known work. But when you have the extensive repertoire of Tennessee Williams, tacking a mediocre melodrama at the end of it isn’t going to do anything to sully that name.
Would I Pay For It?: No, but I’m sure I’ll eventually rent it. Sometimes a brooding Southern drama is just the thing my Yankee soul needs.
Wednesday, December 9, 2009
Location: Minskoff Theatre,
Website: Official The Lion King site
Starring: Dashaun Young, Derek Smith, Nathaniel Stampley, Danny Rutigliano, Tom Alan Robbins, Ta’Rea Campbell, Tshidi Manye, Cameron Pow
My Review: Yes, The Lion King opened on Broadway over 10 years ago, but it’s taken me this long to go see it. And the only reason I finally saw it was thanks to the good people at broadway.com who gave me a free pair of tickets through a drawing they had on Twitter. Rarely, if ever, has The Lion King offered discounted tickets, and I couldn’t justify going to see a show where orchestra seats go for around $125, especially a show I felt ambivalent about due to my ambivalence towards its source material (Disney’s animated film, The Lion King). But oh, how people loved The Lion King on Broadway. The puppets! The sets! The majesty of it all! So I know I’m sure to be vilified when I say that after finally seeing it, I feel just as underwhelmed as I thought I would.
The story is the same story we all saw back in 1994: Mufasa the lion rules over the animal kingdom in
As I said before, I wasn’t a huge fan of the movie The Lion King. I liked it in the sense that I like all of Disney’s animated features, but it wasn’t one of my favorites. But the big draw The Lion King the stage musical has is the direction and puppet design of Julie Taymor. And I’m not denying that the puppets are amazing. The opening number—“The Circle of Life”—is an incredible sight to see, as elephants, rhinos, cheetahs, antelope, and giraffes all process through the theater aisles to join the onstage celebration of Simba’s presentation to the kingdom. But once that scene was over and I was used to seeing both the puppets and the actors who manipulate them, I was left wondering, “What else does this show have to offer?” Sadly, not much.
I’ve always found the story of The Lion King to be a poorly watered-down version of Shakespeare’s Hamlet, and that’s no exception in the stage show. The acting abilities of the performers are uneven, with some being remarkable (Tshidi Manye as the wise monkey Rafiki), some being overly labored (the child actors playing young Simba and Nala), and most merely mimicking the characters from the movie (Danny Rutigliano and Tom Alan Robbins as Timon and Pumbaa). All of the original music from the movie is there, as well as some new songs (also created by Elton John and Tim Rice, who did the movie music), but none of the new additions flow well and feel like exactly what they are—filler to make the show longer than 80 minutes.
I realize that The Lion King is primarily a show meant for families—a “safe” show to see to introduce children to live theater, and for that I give it credit. It stays so faithful to the movie, so any kid who enjoyed that is bound to enjoy the stage production. But any adult who is looking for more in their theater experience than impressive sets and costumes, should really look elsewhere.
Bottom Line: After so many years of hearing how “amazing” The Lion King is, I’m glad I finally saw it. But I’m really, REALLY glad I saw it for free.
Monday, December 7, 2009
Starring: Daniel Jenkins, Robert Stanton
My Review: Love Child is a nearly impossible play to summarize and review, so I’m going to cop out and say you just have to see it for yourself.
Love Child stars only two men—Daniel Jenkins and Robert Stanton, who also wrote it—but there are at least 30 different characters. Using minimal props and their own talent they tell a hilarious tale about the production of a terrible play that leads to the uncovering of a 40-year old family secret. The action shifts from the backstage drama, to the performance itself, to the goings-on in the audience, and back again at a lightening speed, so you have to be on your toes to catch everything. The character changes happen even faster, as each actor transforms himself into someone new with the slightest gesture or a change of expression.
The story they’re telling is highly entertaining, but half the fun of Love Child is trying to keep up with production. The first few minutes go by in a blur as you try to connect the pieces, then when it all clicks into place, you’re on the edge of your seat for the next hour, watching what is essentially a theatrical tennis match as Jenkins and Stanton work like a pair of pros to keep the ball in the air. And they never once let it drop, which is obviously no easy feat as both men are sweating and gasping for air by the show’s end, but it makes for an incredible night of theater for the audience.
Bottom Line: I’ve never really thought of live theater as an athletic event, but Love Child seems to be straddling the line between art and sports. And it’s great fun for everyone involved, both on and off the stage.
Thursday, December 3, 2009
Release Date: December 18, 2009 (in limited release)
Website: Official The Young Victoria site
Starring: Emily Blunt, Rupert Friend, Paul Bettany, Miranda Richardson, Jim Broadbent, Mark Strong
My Review: I kind of dig “boring” movies. If you ever saw a trailer for a movie that featured nothing but long conversations and tortured relationships between the characters, and wondered to yourself, “Who would watch this?”, chances are I would. Add some high-concept period costumes and British actors to the mix, and I’m sold.
The Young Victoria is a historical drama that focuses on the early years of Queen
Emily Blunt, in her first really big leading-lady role, is
Would I Pay For It?: I probably wouldn’t run to see this in the theater, but I would rent it for a cozy afternoon with a “boring” movie.