Saturday, January 31, 2009

A Look Ahead to Best Animated Film.

I did this last year and the year before, always giving up towards the end. Hopefully I can keep going this time.

The nominees are:
Bolt (2008) - Chris Williams; Byron Howard
Kung Fu Panda (2008) - John Stevenson; Mark Osborne
WALL·E (2008) - Andrew Stanton

How I did: 67% (rightly predicted Kung Fu Panda and WALL·E, wrongly predicted Waltz with Bashir.)

01. WALL·E
This time last year, I was getting a bit iffy regarding Ratatouille and how it was a clear lock for the Best Animated Film award. As much as I enjoyed it (and I did), I felt it unusual that I would find a Pixar movie overrated. However, 2008’s Pixar outing, WALL·E, deserves every single ounce of praise and more. I watched it with my brother Tom when we were on holiday in the hole known as Bognor Regis, and the two times we went to the cinema (to see this and The Dark Knight) were easily the best, and only good things, about our holiday. WALL·E is a sci-fi romance for our time, where the protagonist, a lonely robot roaming the desolate and dirty streets of Earth, packing rubbish all day, one day comes across his Goddess: Eve. In being with her, he encounters the most magical emotions ever. WALL·E is mastery in cinema from head to toe, from the hand-holding, the scene with the umbrella, the ethereal score from Thomas Newman, the lush visuals, the flawless animation and the romance, which is one of the most refreshing, touching and innocent I’ve seen in film. There was something almost... Shawshankly about it. WALL·E might be the most nominated Pixar movie ever, but if it was up to me, it would have twice its six nominations, including one for Best Film. You couldn't escape the beauty if you tried.

02. Kung Fu Panda
Jack Black, Dustin Hoffman, Jackie Chan, Michael Clarke Duncan, Angelina Jolie, that bloke off Pineapple Express & Knocked Up, and Lucy Liu are just seven of the reasons why you should see Kung Fu Panda. Another is that this is easily Dreamworks’ finest film since Wayne Rooney Shrek, with brilliant fight scenes, moments of high (OK, not quite) comedy, and a lovely message that you don’t need to be particularly svelte to kick arse. Kung Fu Panda II has been scheduled to come out in 2011, and, whilst I don’t see it matching the fun and frivolity of its predecessor, I shall be keenly awaiting its arrival.

03. Bolt
A very cute film about a famous dog, Bolt, who has played a dog with superpowers on screen, and thus thinks he possesses said powers off screen too. Sweet film and utterly beautifully animated, a definite sign that Disney can still make enjoyable films without Pixar, but it was too slight to make much of an impact other than “aww” on me. And Miley Cyrus is in it, which instantly loses points.

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Who will win: WALL·E
Who should win: WALL·E

Who deserved to get nominated: Azur et Asmar

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Sexiest Film Characters of 2008.

I like boys, and they don’t like me, they look so good in their… um… *stops trying to paraphrase Gym Class Heroes and just gets on with it.*

As per usual, it’s well known that I have suspect taste in men, so… yeah. Larf away. Also, it’s not done entirely on looks per se, because in that sense, Eddie Redmayne in Savage Grace and the sex offender/murderer off Donkey Punch are perfectly fine looking, I was just rather scared off by their personalities. So it's a combination of me wanting to bung them + looks + personality + other things.

01. Dev Patel, Slumdog Millionaire
02. James McAvoy, Wanted
03. James Franco, Milk
04. Dominic Cooper, The Duchess
05. Lee Pace, Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day

And the most beautiful women, imo,
01. Penelope Cruz, Vicky Cristina Barcelona
02. Amy Adams, Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day
03. Mila Kunis, Forgetting Sarah Marshall
04. Freida Pinton, Slumdog Millionaire
05. Amanda Seyfried, Mamma Mia!

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In other news, A. R. Rahman's been invited to perform at the Oscars this year. Yay for him and his three Oscar nominations! Wouldn't it be sublime if the cast of SM got onstage and danced to Jai Ho? I'm not sure if MIA will come though, as she's heavily preggers and the Oscars take place two weeks after her baby's due, but y'know, this is MIA. Maybe she'll be there!

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Monday, January 26, 2009

Marry me, Dev Patel.

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I love his egg-shaped head, lankiness, and Jaeger Reverso Squadra Chronograph GMT watch. I really, really like the watch.

Dev Patel is complete and utter ♥ !

SAGs - Live Blogging.

Let's do this, because...
THE SCREEN ACTOR GUILD AWARDS ARE HERE!

I shall be watching the SAGs on a grainy 4-inch stream, but bitching my way through the night. There are only five film-related categories, but I'm still up for it; it shall be good fun, looking at the clothes, perving on the hot men and generally whining/agreeing about the wins.

If there's anyone else out there, do join me, this is the first time I've attempted to do anything live, so it will probably be a massive fail. Humph.

Alrighty...

12.47: the show itself is yet to start, and I have bunged my chips + chicken into the oven, and am just looking at the wardrobes tonight. Anne Hathaway looks like J-Lo around 2 years ago in her dress. She has nice hair. And how freaking thin is Evan Rachel Wood?

12.51: Regarding everyone else on the red carpet, Diego Luna looks a complete mess with greasy curly hair. Penelope looks absolutely gorge, I am loving the dinky ruby earrings. Laura Linney's been brave to wear such a bright colour, but I reckon it's paid off.

1.03: oh Lord, that was a fecking hassle. My own laptop's raping me up good and proper, suddenly refusing to show the SAGs all of a sudden so I literally ran into my friend Anna's bedroom and stole her's, with a brief explanation. But now I can watch it, yay.

1.06: Kiefer Sutherland and a woman I don't know present Best Actress in a Comedy Show, and the nominees are Christina Applegate, America Ferrera, Tina Fey, Tracy Ullman and Mary-Louise Parker. Tina Fey wins, as she did in the Golden Globes.

And fuck, my chips are still in the fucking oven! brb.

1.12: alright, forget the chips (I may as well have. They're all burnt and charred and the char has gone onto the chicken, which, incidentally, is undercooked, because, despite being a mathematician, I can't freaking synchronise my bloody oven times.) Alec Baldwin wins Best Actor in a Comedy series and the light theme tune of the show plays. In his speech, Baldwin says "it's so nice to see some old friends", and that he doesn't know he'd rather make out with, Tony Hopkins or Diane Lane. Heehe.

1.14: OK, that was the first half. Rather brief, but then I was swearing at a bottle of vinegar during Tina Fey's speech, which means I missed seeing her talk. This saddens me, because she's pretty much my definition of the perfect woman. Bah. Viola Davis, btw, looks really good in yellow, I think the dress brings out her skin tone so well.

1.19: Evan Rachel Wood comes on in a dark blue/turquoise number. I like the brooch on her shoulder. She's on to present a montage of actors. I see Jodie Foster in Taxi Driver, Haley Joel Osment in The Sixth Sense, and then, I lose count.

1.22: That was a really random montage. Claire Danes swans on in a slinky red number. She makes a fairly amusing analogy relating to the economy, and then the nominations for Best Esemble Cast, Comedy. They are: 30 Rock, Desperate Housewives, Weeds, The Office and Entourage. The clip for Desperate Housewives, featuring Edie being bitchy about Gabrielle's weight, has Teri Hatcher and Eva Longoria smiling at each other smugly. And for Entourage's clip, they've used exactly the same clip as was used in the Golden Globes, relating to Shia Labeouf in Disturbia.

1.26: It's 3 out of 3 for 30 Rock!

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A familiar looking woman with a plunging neckline that proudly displays her B-cups does the speech (oooh, I remember where I've seen her - from Ally McBeal!), and all I can remember about her speech is that she wore a red dress and another woman wore a blue one, whilst the rest of the cast were in black.

1.28: Frank Langella and Michael Sheen come on to present a clip for Frost/Nixon. They are a great double act, Langella amusingly pretending to forget his lines and Sheen finishing off his sentences for him. By the by, there was a quick scan of the audience and, random thoughts: loving the jewels on Anne Hathaway's neckline, Kate Winslet's dress is a lovely colour, and Marisa Tomei really should have worn make-up.

1.31: Kate Winslet looks absolutely gutted with the clip they've shown for Best Supporting Actress. She wins nonetheless, hugging the woman directly in front of her first, before making her way up to the podiukm. She's not looking too ecstatic, truth be told.

1.33 Another commerical break. Soooo, of my predictions, I'm currently scoring 0/1. I was pretty sure that Viola Davis would win actually, and am rather disappointed for Penelope Cruz, not least as Kate Winslet was so freaking lead! That said, when she did give her speech, it did seem to mean a lot to her, "I thank you all from the bottom of my heart."

Also, for Amy Adams' clip, without seeing the film altogether, one could be forgiven for thinking her character a whiny turd. That clip they showed "you just don't like him... you're using that to accuse him of something terrible!" reminds me of the CBBC news programme newsround, which always amused me because they always skirted over child abuse cases and said things like "the parents were accused of being mean to the children." Um, that's one way of putting it, I s'pose.

I love Amy Adams' maroon coloured lipstick. It suits her and she is looking so purdy!

My chips are absolutely minging, by the way. That's what I get for throwing 'em in the oven just before a show starts.

1.38: Christina Applegate (emerald green dress and oversized hoop earrings, I quite like) and Taye Diggs (with glasses, intellectual), come on to present the award for Male Actor in a Dramatic Series. Nominees: Michael C. Hall, John Hamm (audible whoops as his name is read out), Hugh Laurie, William Shatner (who's top button is undone and looks really fat), and James Spader (who's nowhere near as hot in Boston Legal as he was in Secretary.)

The Actor goes to Hugh Laurie.

1.43: Laurie's speech was classy and erudite, with a nice touch of that good ol' British humour (he claimed to have bet $300 on James Spader, saying, "it's just not my night"), but my favourite thing about his win was that the soundsystem blared Massive Attack's Teadrop as he walked up.

1.44: The same category, but for women, is now being presented. The nominees are Mariska Hargitay, Sally Field, Elisabeth Moss, Holly Hunter and Lyra Sedgewick. The five clips shown for each actress are all rather intense; it's a pity we get hardly any of these shows over here.

The Actor goes to Sally Field. I connotate two performances with Sally Field: as Robin Williams' ex-wife in Mrs. Doubtfire, and the inspirational Norma Rae in Norma Rae.

Her voice does grate though, as she litanizes all the cast and crew she wants to thank, though she does make a good point, "the actors work hard, but the crew works twice as hard, let's face it." A very good point; it is often easy to forget tha it's those behind the scenes that do the most work.

Also, Gary Oldman is wearing glasses. Hee.

1.47: OK, Josh Brolin doesn't do it for me, but yesplease! to both Emile Hirsch and James Franco, who accompany him onstage to present a clip for Milk. These two boys look so good in tuxedos! Emile, darling, you could do a lot better than that. Anyway, the clip selected is pretty standard. Sean Penn is growing a goatee.

1.49: from really good-looking men, we go to a sublimely beautiful woman, Emily bunging Blunt. She and Eric McCormack present Best Ensemble in a Drama series. Nominees: Boston "fat cast" Legal, The Closer, Dexter, Mad Men, and House.

The Actor goes to the cast of Mad Men.

1.57: Absolutely fucking gutted, those three minutes I spent in the kitchen? That was when Dev Patel and Freida Pinto came on to introduce the clip for Slumdog Millionaire. I am saddened by this. It's like watching a football match for the full 90 minutes and missing the winning goal because you were on the bog. I am absolutely gutted, and want to go to sleep now.

2.00: Pardon my French btw, of late, I've begun to swear like an absolute trouper and I know it's not very becoming of a girl, but eh, I can't help it. Alan Rosenberg is rambling away, absolutely lapping it up and pausing every now and then so that the audience can whoop him. Yawn.

2.02: Forest Whitaker is so moving and sincere in his tribute to James Earl Jones, whom the lifetime achievement award goes to. The camera cuts between Whitaker and Jones, and it's really nice.

2.05: Wow! I had no idea that James Earl Jones used to have a stutter. Who says you don't learn anything from TV? Also, watching the tribute to him has given me a craving to watch Dr. Strangelove.

2.18: Ernest Borgnine presents Best Actress in a TV Movie/Miniseries. The nominees are Laura Dern (She has red hair in her role?), Laura Linney in John Adams (she has an accent in her role?), Shirley McLaine in Coco Chanel (she has a cigarette and a crap make-up job in her role), Phylicia Rashad in A Raisin in the Sun and Susan Sarandon for Bernard and Doris. Susan Sarandon's dress really flashes her boobs, by the way.
Winner: Laura Lovely Linney.

2.23: Laura Linney's speech was nice but nervy, she said "um" an awful lot, but thanked all the usual people and sounded as gracious as usual.

Next, Amy Adams and Viola Davis come on to present their clip from Doubt. Amy Adams is wearing a maroon dress which is a nice colour but I'm not sure about the shape or the bow, but her earrings and lipstick suit it so well, plus I like how neatly her hair is tied up in a bow.

2.24: Marisa Tomei comes on. We see Freida Pinto sitting in the audience, smiling. Now that I've gotten over the initial shock of seeing Tomei, make-upless, I've decided that she doesn't actually look that bad. As Mickey Rourke's character in The Wrestler would say, she looks "clean". She's presenting Best Actor in a Miniseries/Made for TV movie, and Paul Giamatti's clip has him saying "country!" over and over again, but it his character keeps placing emphasis on the first bit, and sounds like another word. Heehee.

2.28: Susan "boobies" Sarandon (which reminds me, where on Earth is Timmy Shawshank? His bessie Sean Penn's here, and his partner is presenting, so he should be all suited and booted and here as well!) comes on to present the sombre in memoriam, which eulogises everyone that was taken from us last year, including Kim Chan, Majel Barrett, David Groh, Stanley Kamel, Havey Korman, Edie Adams, Paul Scofield, Sam Bottoms, Cyd Charisse, Dick Martin, Paul Benedict, Gil Stratton, Isaac Hayes, Evelyn Keyes, Earth Kitt. Paul Newman is last, and he gets (deservedly), the longest clip. This vids make me sad.

2.37: Kudos to Kristin Scott Thomas for wearing a trouser suit rather than a dress. She looks rather quaint, with her long hair down and an appropriate amount of bling. She's presenting Supporting Actor. I need to see Tropic Thunder. Philip Seymour Hoffman yells a bit. Heath Ledger scares me. Dev Patel's clip is so crap, even he knows it, as he is shown in the audience, smiling awkwardly. I'm in love though! I wanna bung him!

To nobody's surprise, Heath Ledger wins, and not to my own surprise (the shots of him in the audience, after 3 times, kinda hinted at something), it's Gary Oldman that accepts the prize for him. Everyone stands up. "I'm quite emotional", admits Oldman.

2.41: Eww, Brad Pitt's moustache borders on a lip-tache, although I do think Taraji P Henson (so that's how you pronounce her name), has a cute haircut, it's Victoria Beckhman, with a little less rigidity.

2.46: I really am revolting, but, from this angle, Winslet's boobies looking massive!

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2.47: Ralph Fiennes comes on to announce Best Actress. Aww, Anne Hathaway looks so proud and happy after they show her clip. Angelina Jolie looks straight at Brad after her's is shown. Melissa Leo (cool hair btw) looks kinda bashful after her clip is played, Meryl Streep exchanges a loving kiss with her daughter. And Kate Winslet looks a wee bit constipated.

The winner is... Meryl Streep. She looks surprised and grabs her daughter, some bloke, Amy Adams, then goes a bit crazy like her character in Mamma Mia! when she saw Colin Firth, Pierce Brosnan and Stellan Skarsgaard together. Standing ovation again.

2.51: "I didn't even buy a dress!" Streep exclaims, shocked. And it's true, she's wearing what looks like a v-necked kaftan, slightly customized, probably by her daughter. Cue shots of Amy Adams and Anne Hathway, still clapping fondly. "I'm so proud of us girls," says Streep, and the audience share a loud cheer. Even Angelina Jolie's smiling! Nice stuff, even if Streep's character was a bit of a bitch and the performance nothing out of ordinary as far as she's concerned, her gracious and smiley speech makes it impossible not to like her.

2.54: oh My, Katie Holmes really has gone into Victoria Beckham-copying overdrive. The figure hugging brown dress, the haircut... it's got Posh Spice written all over it. She comes on to announce the winner for Best Actor. The clips are all quite expected, though the sight of Brad Pitt as an old man does make me involuntarily larf a little. Mickey Rourke is slightly less trampy than he was in the Golden Globes.

Sean Penn wins, and the hall erupts into cheers. This is his first win; as he didn't win in 2003 for Mystic River. More standing ovations, and we see Michael Sheen in the audience, looking rather bungable. My God, I'm a horny bung tonight. *sips more alcohol*

2.59: He gave a good speech, and the audience loved it. The Best Actor race has become quite interesting now.

3.00: Anthony Hopkins comes on to announce the final category: Best Ensemble. The nominees, as you probably know, are Slumdog Millionaire, Frost/Nixon, Milk, Doubt and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.

The Actor goes to...

SLUMDOG FUCKING MILLIONAIRE!

zomg, even as a Slumdogger myself, I didn't and couldn't see this one coming. Um... what?!?!

3.04: I'm in a teensy bit of shock. The SAGs have ended, and I'm probably gonna end up in a loony-bin one of these days because I have actually been sat here, conversing with myself for the last two or so hours. I still can't quite believe Slumdog Millionaire won Best Ensemble though, as much as I loved it, it wasn't an "acting" piece, so I really didn't expect that. Anwar was looking mighty fine in a suit though. And I'm so happy for the little kids in the movie. And um, yeah. It's gone three and I'm mildly tipsy but not overly so, so perhaps I shall just go to sleep now, and dream happy dreams about Slumdog Millionaire. Bung!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

SAG Predictions.

Predicted winners:

Ensemble - Milk
Actor - Sean Penn
Actress - Meryl Streep
Supporting Actor - Heath Ledger
Supporting Actress - Viola Davis

And that's it really.

Screening Log (19/01/09 – 25/01/09)

Wild Child (Nick Moore, 2008)
Pretty standard but highly enjoyable comedy about a spoilt brat (played by Emma Roberts) who is sent to a boarding school in England in an attempt to make her grow up a bit. Full review here.

Mamma Mia! (Phyllida Lloyd, 2008)
I absolutely adored this film when I first saw it, but on a re-watch, I’ve realised that it’s actually rather grating. The acting is truly terrible from some of the cast (Brosnan, Walters, ugh, though Amanda Seyfried is adorable), and, whilst the film itself is still a fun, breezy treat, especially as I love Abba, but Mammia Mia! sadly doesn’t hold up on repeat viewings.

Layer Cake (Matthew Vaughn, 2004)
This film is turd. Full review here.

The Wrestler (Darren Aronofsky, 2008)
Full review here.

Frost/Nixon (Ron Howard, 2008)
For someone with no interest or expertise in Richard Nixon and Watergate, I found Frost/Nixon surprisingly compelling. Based on Peter Morgan (The Queen, The Last King of Scotland)’s play and adapted into a script by him, it focuses on the interviews given by Nixon to up-and-coming British TV presenter David Frost. The verbal sparring between Frost and Nixson (Michael Sheen and Frank Langella, respectively) are a exciting watch, one that I couldn’t prise my eyes away. With Frank Langella as Frost, I was wondering what he was thinking, planning to say, every step of the way, and the conversations between the two were like a massive face-off. And Michael Sheen, who made such a good Tony Blair, makes an equally good David Frost, capturing the personality of the man along with some interesting characterisations of his own. Matthew McFayden bungs up with owl glasses and a bad wig, Rebecca Hall looks appropriately pretty and Kevin Bacon bacons around for a bit to contribute to this impressive ensemble.

Doubt (John Patrick Shanley, 2008)
I’m rather confused as to why this film received a 15-rating over here, for, despite the plot centring around the did he/didn’t he of Philip Seymour Hoffman’s priest abusing one of the students, all that there is of it in the film is speculation, and even then, they don’t even talk about it in any detail; indeed, the details are skirted over. Perhaps we’ve become more paranoid about the paedophilia issue in cinema since the whole Maddie McCann thing (that was certainly why the release of Gone Baby Gone was delayed), I dunno, but I reckon Doubt could have been rated 12A.

Anyway, the film itself was very well made, but the sum of its parts was certainly greater than the finished object. Amy Adams was great as usual, her portrayal of an innocent schoolteacher being quite endearing and believable, and Viola Davis bringing an interesting edge of moral ambiguity to her character (the mother seems to know/suspect something’s going on with her son, yet she’s willing to let him endure it for a while longer, just as long as he gets into college.) Philip Seymour Hoffman is his usual compelling self, though not as good as he was in Charlie Wilson’s War, and Meryl Streep, I found rather disappointing. She was good, as she usually is, but on the whole, she just had this cold bitch thing going on and we didn’t get much character development from her. The script was convincing and appropriately stagey and it was a fairly interesting watch throughout, but on the whole, I felt rather blah about Doubt.

Rush Hour 3 (Brett Ratner, 2007)
The Rush Hour movies for me, go from very good (Rush Hour = B+) to acceptable (C), to a bit naff (C-). Nothing will beat the original, least of all Chris Rock, who was annoying-but-funny in Rush Hour but now is just annoying, fat, whiny and deserving of a slap. The acting from just about everyone is poor and the twist at the end had happened in Rush Hour, so I wasn’t in the least surprised. The backdrop of Paris is gorgeous though, and the fight scenes are titillating as ever – knives are dangerous, but Jackie Chan doesn’t seem to think so. And allow me to take the time to wish a Happy Chinese New Year to Jackie Chan, who, at 54, still wants to make a fourth Rush Hour movie. He is the main attraction of these movies – his fighting is always kickass and his character’s poor grasp of English still brings a few chuckles (though it was funnier the first 9034234 times they did it).

Thirteen (Catherine Hardwicke, 2003)
It’s hard to choose which film is funnier, Hardwicke’s 2008 outing, Twilight, or this. Twilight had Robert Pattinson looking like he was inhaling glue in just about every scene, as well as lines such as “I’m only afraid of losing you.” Thirteen, however, has Evan Rachel Wood going from a straight-A, Barbie doll playing good girl to a shoplifting, tongue-piercing, belly-button piercing, foul-mouthed slut. It’s just totally inconceivable; I’m 18 and I’ve lived in the slums of London for most of my teenage years, and people just don’t do that. Nikki Reed, grow a pair, you bitch! It wasn’t all bad – however ugly the acts were, I couldn’t not watch, and Holly Hunter was worthy of her Oscar nomination as the mum that’s trying to do her best, but finding it a struggle. But on the whole, this film grated. There was more than one occasion when I was tempted to drop the c-bomb on Nikki Reed, but my mates were there, and, as Emily Howard from the embarrassing Little Britain would say, “I’m a lady.”

Slumdog Millionaire (Danny Boyle, 2008)
So, my name is Emmabung, and I am a Slumdogaholic. It was sosososososo bunging good!! As I was saying to Luke before I watched the film, I was so scared that the amount of whoring I’d done of Slumdog Millionaire I’d done on my blog prior to watching the film would hinder my enjoyment of it, but I needn’t have worried, because the film lived up to my expectations, and more. The more I think about it, the more I adore it. Dev Patel, you are tall and cute and I want you to father my children. Full review here.

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Step Up (Anne Fletcher, 2006)
Channing Tatum can’t act to save his life, but he can dance better than anyone I’ve seen in my life. The lines, romance, characters and plot bored me to tears, but whenever a dance began, I knew I was in for something special. And the dances are so cinematic, I can just about understand why this film was made. Very enjoyable.

Donkey Punch (Oliver Blackburn, 2008)
Three promiscuous Leeds girls decide to go on the yacht of four lads they’ve met for the best part of, oh, 12 minutes? Like the good, docile girls they are, they take some drugs and swim in the sea together, and then it’s not long before they start exchanging stories of outrageous sexual practices, one of these being a “donkey punch” – when you punch a woman on the neck whilst bunging her so that, in her becoming unconscious and tighter, the man can make a better love explosion. Nice.

Anyway, on a level of sick that even surpasses Julianne Moore giving her on-screen son Eddie Redmayne a Hand-J, these pathetic individuals decide to do it, and a woman dies, thus Donkey Punch becomes a story of people turning against each other and fighting for their lives as the yacht floats back to shore. I watched Donkey Punch with the same three girls I watched Thirteen with, and, if the previous film didn’t make me want to chunder, this definitely did. The shagging is grim and filthy, enough to put anyone off sex (in any shape, size or form), for life. The acting is Razzie worthy, with most of the cast being plucked from piss-poor English TV shows that usually get cancelled. The story is ludicrous and there’s more plot holes than toilets in a Roman bath, and the characters have to say lines such as “I’m starving Marvin” with a straight face. The best (and only good bit) of the film was, when one of the male characters dies, he falls into the sea, and, having had explosives forced into him, his arms jerk up and down mechanically like a toy soldier, to comic effect. I larfed so much, I nearly gave myself a migraine.

The Reader (Stephen Daldry, 2008)
I watched The Reader with Luke off a download. It was in two parts and we sneaked a cheeky break for drinks in between the two, which was appropriate, because whilst the second half was interesting and quite compulsive viewing, the first half was far too slow and clinical for me. The scenes between Fiennes and Winslet were great, and the “twist” (well, I consider it a twist, it may have just been me being too slow to pick up on it), when it came, truly surprised me and made the story suddenly a lot more interesting. Sadly, David Kross, poor lad, could have given Kyle McLachlan a decent run for his money in terms of bland impassiveness, and, whilst Kate Winslet was moving and I could not help but leave The Reader thinking, “Is that it?” And it was.

Yeah you do!

Slumdog Millionaire has won the PGA Award for Best Film, with Wall-E taking best Animated Film and Man on Fire winning for Best Documentary. TV awards went to 30 Rock, Mad Men and John Adams.

Go Team Slumdog!!

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I woke up this morning thinking about Slumdog Millionaire, which is quite an achievement if you consider that I watched three other films yesterday - Thirteen and Donkey Punch, both of which were extremely disturbing, as well as the highlights of Step Up, which had some of the most breathtaking dance sequences I've ever seen in my entire life, far better than anything I've seen on Britain's Got Talent. All three films were memorable in their own way (the former two for nothing but poor reasons), yet all I can think about is Slumdog Millionaire and how much I bloody loved it. The final scene, that kiss, that, for me is love, and pure love, and I don't think I've gotten so choked up by a cinema trip since I first saw Brokeback Mountain (which formed the basis of me starting this blog), and cried so much on the bus trip home, people kept staring at me and wondered if I was a Chinese asylum seeker that had gotten lost. I'm not ashamed to admit that I welled up a little at the end of Slumdog Millionaire, though it was because I was so chuffed, but also as a catharsis, because watching Slumdog had been a bit like chasing some boy that you love to death, only to come across obstacle after obstacle, and simultaneously trying to survive in a dog-eat-dog world. In that sense, I can see why I love Slumdog Millionaire and Wall-E so, both films involve men going to extreme lengths to be with the women that mean so much to them, and because they suffer in their trials, their finally being reunited with each other feels ever the more reward.

And I have fallen so far deeply in love with Dev Patel it's unbelievable. He's 5 days younger than me and resides in London, so I'm on a bit of a stalker mission when I get home.

Anyway, sorry for that incoherent and frankly bizarre ramble (you should see me "write" when I'm drunk!). What I guess I'm trying to say is, I rather liked the film.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Film review: SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE (Danny Boyle, 2008)


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The film begins and we find ourselves face-to-face with 18-year-old Jamal Malick, a boy who’s grown up on the streets, and who is being interrogated by the forces about how he’s gotten so far on Who Wants to Be a Millionaire. Interrogated is putting it rather politely; he’s having the shit kicked out of him by the no-nonsense, rough authorities of Mumbai. He’s a Slumdog; a lad from the streets, a waste of space, the bad cop says, and Slumdogs do not get this far on Who Wants to Be a Millionaire through fair play. Perhaps not through fair play, but maybe, just maybe, Jamal is where he is because of another force: destiny.

Although the focus of Slumdog Millionaire is story, not performances, the actors all hold their own in their roles. The child actors playing the young Jamal, Salim and Latika were absolutely adorable; the scene where young Jamal jumped into a pile of crap just to get an autograph from his favourite filmstar was absolutely disgusting, yet endearing in its own way. This autograph means the world to Jamal, yet his brother chooses to sell it, making a tidy profit for herself; which is a foreboding sign of the path where his brother is headed.

There are plenty of witty episodes that occur throughout the film (Jamal re-telling the events of Eastenders will certainly amuse to the English cinemagoers), as well as a subtle little aside to our own Who Wants to Be a Millionaire cheat, Charles Ingram, at the start, “What did you do, cough at the audience?”

Dev Patel has more than enough screen persona. Although his Jamal does spend a good deal of screen time looking bemused and shocked, there’s an average Joe quality to him that makes me can’t help but root for him. He still retains the goofiness of Anwar, but his character in Slumdog Millionaire is a real gentleman. A lad living on the streets like him probably can't afford to be chivalrous, but he is throughout, and that, coupled with his lanky cuteness meant I was getting a bigger crush on him as the film went on.

The way Jamal continually thinks about and searches for Latika, saying he’ll wait for her at the train station everyday, made me think of Cinema Paradiso, and any man who’d do that for his woman is a keeper. His chemistry with co-star Freida Pinto is perfect; despite only spending the odd moment on screen with each other, the way his body language and facial expressions change around her, I could see that he was in love.

The pace of the film is leisurely but never overlong, as we see into the life of Jamal and his brother, and how Jamal came to acquire every single answer. Mumbai is photographed and shot in its full glory, that is, both beautiful and dirty. Filmed with handheld digital cameras, Anthony Dod Man really captures some stark, striking images of India, with nods to both Apocalypse Now and City of God and even a bit of Danny Boyle’s 2007 outing Sunshine in the visuals.

The absolute gem of the film, however, is not any of the performers, but the score, which reaches levels of Asian authenticity I’ve ever heard before, and brings a level of earthiness perfectly suits the urban realism on the streets of Mumbai. Music composer AR Rahman (incidentally, the first Indian to win a Golden Globe) also wrote the songs in the film, and they are divine. O Saya plays at the start and Jai Ho at the end, thus completing a circle of pure aurgasm.

Particularly, the latter, to which the cast have a dance-off in good old Bollywood fashion, was an unprecedented and unexpected joy. In between, M.I.A Paper Planes (my favourite song of 2008, as you’ve heard me say, oh, only 384983 times already) features twice, in the original form, and in a remix, and both versions go with the images so well, I was getting goosebumps sitting in the cinema and Luke had to tell me to calm down.

Behind the actors, pictures and music, stands Danny Boyle, a director who seems to be on a mission to cover all the genres. A women’s mag, In Style, dubbed Slumdog Millionaire “the feel-god romcom of the year”, and, although I’m not sure about he comedy element, it’s certainly true that Slumdog is an inspirational, uplifting, and utterly lovely movie. It works as both a social commentary on the homeless and the corrupt in India (a particularly harrowing scene which will haunt me in my sleep involved a young lad getting blinded; because “blind singers earn double”), an epic about a boy’s life, and best of all, a romantic voyage.

I’m yet to meet a boy like Jamal, one who’s love, and pure love, for his friend leads him on journeys and all around India, a love so strong that money is no object, just as long as he can speak to his love. Just the concept of such a thing, however, unrealistic, makes me smile.

As with all films, it’s not without it’s flaws – the 2 second clip that was played which featured Frieda Pinto’s hair blowing in the wind and staring up at Dev Patel got so overplayed it bordered on farcical, much like with 2007’s Atonement and the c-bomb.

Furthermore, occasionally, the juxtaposition of fairytale and gritty realism were too much of polar opposites to keep intercutting with each other. However, for the closing shot and the closing shot alone (Dev Patel taking his sweet time in cherishing his kiss with the woman he’s loved for a good deal of his life, and the way his lips ran over the scar on her face, oh, redemption, beautiful, beautiful, redemption), I was reminded how going to the cinema can leave me with an intense feeling of happiness, as well as why romance is my favourite genre of all time. No need to waste time asking the audience – Slumdog Millionaire is an absolute treat. Go see it.

9.5/10

Thursday, January 22, 2009

The Oscars nominations and my reaction.

Best Actor: I predicted this 80% correctly, letting my love of Leonardo DiCaprio get in front of logical thinking. I am, however, delighted that his spot went to Richard Jenkins for his moving performance in The Visitor, for he was wonderful.

Best Supporting Actor: Well, Dev Patel wasn’t really support anyway, was he? Another 80% success rate for me.

Best Actress: OK, allow me vent. Where the hell is Sally Hawkins’ nomination? She gave the best female leading performance of the year, she was bright, bubbly, and an utter charm. This isn’t on. Also, no chance of a double for Kate, seeing as she got in for The Reader, and her Golden Globe winning performance in Revolutionary Road wasnae nominated. 60% right.

Best Supporting Actress: Yay for Amy Adams! (though her snub for Enchanted last year is still not forgiven, nor is awarding Rachel bunging Weisz the win over her in 2006, k?) Yay for Viola Davis! Yay for Marisa Tomei! Double yay for Penelope Cruz! My favourite category by far. Plus, with Kate Winslet upgrading to Lead, this category is really exciting now; it's principally Davis vs. Cruz, but Marisa Tomei and Amy Adams are more than in with a chance. 80% right.

Animated Film: I should have known to predict Bolt ahead of Waltz with Bashir. Silly Emmabung. As Bolt might say to the Oscars, "I thought I'd lost you". (poor joke there). 67%.

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Direction: Stephen Daldry’s received Oscar nominations for all three of his first three films. Someone up there wants to bung him. 80%.

Adapted Screenplay: 100% success rate!

Original Screenplay: I LOVE that a film as risqué as In Bruges got nominated. And yay for Wall-E love! I’d actually given up hope! Wall-E is the most nominated Pixar movie with 6 nominations, for Screenplay, Score, Sound, Sound Editing, Song and Animated Movie. Eat dirt, Rata-bunging-touille! Anyway, my predictions for this category were crap. 40%.

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Film: The Reader got in ahead of The Dark Knight. I don’t mind, despite having not seen The Reader. Looks like it’s Slumdog’s to take. Which, incidentally, is another movie I haven’t seen. Best Picture and Best Director are matched 5 for 5, which last happened in 2006.

As for the other categories: I wanted Deakins to get double nominations but he didn’t, I’m happy for Newman and Desplat and am glad John Williams didn’t get an underserved nomination for his uninspired score to Indiana Jones and the something something. Bizarre that there are only three nominations for Song this year, but I feel oddly smug that Bruce Springsteen’s boring, whiny song that goes over the credits of The Wrestler got snubbed. And yessss to M.I.A. performing O Saya at the Oscars. Werner Herzog getting nominated is lovely. And is it bad that I have practically no interest in watching The Curious Case of Benjamin Button? The only draw of it for me is Desplat's score, which I own on iTunes and can listen to whenever I want anyway.

Overall, it was pretty standard. There were more love than I expected for my favourite film of the year, Wall-E, though still not enough. And no nomination for Sally Hawkins is just… ugh.

Some trivia
- Wall-E is the most nominated Pixar movie (don't you forget it, Ratatouille)
- The highest number of posthumous nominations than ever before (Ledger, Minghella, Pollack)
- Doubt is the first movie since I remember Mama and My Man Godfrey to receive four acting nominations and not a Best Pic nod.
- 9 of the 20 acting nominees are Oscar virgins.
- Out of the four leads winning Golden Globes: Colin Farell, Sally Hawkins, Kate Winslet (for Revolutionary Road) and Mickey Rourke, only Rourke received an Oscar nomination for his performance in the same film.
- Brad Pitt's first nomination for thirteen years.

Bunging Oscar nominations!

BEST PICTURE
THE CURIOUS CASE OF BENJAMIN BUTTON
FROST/NIXON
MILK
THE READER
SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE

BEST DIRECTOR
THE CURIOUS CASE OF BENJAMIN BUTTON - David Fincher
FROST/NIXON - Ron Howard
MILK - Gus Van Sant
THE READER - Stephen Daldry
SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE - Danny Boyle

BEST ACTOR
Richard Jenkins for THE VISITOR
Frank Langella for FROST/NIXON
Sean Penn for MILK
Brad Pitt for THE CURIOUS CASE OF BENJAMIN BUTTON
Mickey Rourke for THE WRESTLER

BEST ACTRESS
Anne Hathaway for RACHEL GETTING MARRIED
Angelina Jolie for CHANGELING
Melissa Leo for FROZEN RIVER
Meryl Streep for DOUBT
Kate Winslet for THE READER

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
Josh Brolin for MILK
Robert Downey Jr. for TROPIC THUNDER
Philip Seymour Hoffman for DOUBT
Heath Ledger for THE DARK KNIGHT
Michael Shannon for REVOLUTIONARY ROAD

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Amy Adams for DOUBT
Penelope Cruz for VICKY CRISTINA BARCELONA
Viola Davis for DOUBT
Tarija P. Henson for THE CURIOUS CASE OF BENJAMIN BUTTON
Marisa Tomei for THE WRESTLER

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY
FROZEN RIVER
HAPPY-GO-LUCKY
IN BRUGES
MILK
WALL-E

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY
THE CURIOUS CASE OF BENJAMIN BUTTON
DOUBT
FROST/NIXON
THE READER
SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY
CHANGELING
THE CURIOUS CASE OF BENJAMIN BUTTON
THE DARK KNIGHT
THE READER
SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE

BEST ART DIRECTION/SET DECORATION
CHANGELING
THE CURIOUS CASE OF BENJAMIN BUTTON
THE DARK KNIGHT
THE DUCHESS
REVOLUTIONARY ROAD

BEST COSTUME DESIGN
AUSTRALIA
CHANGELING
THE CURIOUS CASE OF BENJAMIN BUTTON
THE DUCHESS
MILK

BEST FILM EDITING
THE CURIOUS CASE OF BENJAMIN BUTTON
THE DARK KNIGHT
FROST/NIXON
MILK
SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE

BEST SOUND MIXING
THE CURIOUS CASE OF BENJAMIN BUTTON
THE DARK KNIGHT
SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE
WALL-E
WANTED

BEST SOUND EDITING
THE DARK KNIGHT
IRON MAN
SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE
WALL-E
WANTED

BEST MAKEUP
THE CURIOUS CASE OF BENJAMIN BUTTON
THE DARK KNIGHT
HELLBOY II: THE GOLDEN ARMY

BEST VISUAL EFFECTS
THE CURIOUS CASE OF BENJAMIN BUTTON
THE DARK KNIGHT
IRON MAN

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE
THE CURIOUS CASE OF BENJAMIN BUTTON
DEFIANCE
MILK
SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE
WALL-E

BEST ORIGINAL SONG
SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE - "O Saya"
SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE - "Jai Ho"
WALL-E - "Down to Earth"

BEST ANIMATED FEATURE
BOLT
KUNG FU PANDA
WALL-E

BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM
THE BAADER MEINHOF COMPLEX - Germany
THE CLASS - France
DEPARTURES - Japan
REVANCHE - Austria
WALTZ WITH BASHIR - Israel

BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE
THE BETRAYAL
ENCOUNTERS AT THE END OF THE WORLD
THE GARDEN
MAN ON WIRE
TROUBLE THE WATER

TALLIES:

13: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
10: Slumdog Millionaire
8: Milk, The Dark Knight
6: WALL-E
5: Doubt, Frost/Nixon, The Reader
3: Changeling, Revolutionary Road
2: The Duchess, Iron Man, Frozen River, Wanted, The Wrestler
1: Australia, Bolt, Defiance, Happy-Go-Lucky, Hellboy 2, In Bruges, Kung Fu Panda, Rachel Getting Married, Tropic Thunder, Vicky Cristina Barcelona, The Visitor

Reaction to follow, after put my shopping in the freezer and had lunch.

Oscar predictions.

FILM OF THE YEAR
01. Slumdog Millionaire, Fox Searchlight
02. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Paramount Pictures
03. Milk, Focus Features
04. The Dark Knight, Warner Brothers Pictures
05. Frost/Nixon

I’ve given up on predicting Wall-E. Boo.

DIRECTIONAL ACHIEVEMENT
01. Danny Boyle, Slumdog Millionaire
02. David Fincher, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
03. Christopher Nolan, The Dark Knight
04. Gus Van Sant, Milk
05. Ron Howard, Frost/Nixon

ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY
01. Dustin Lance Black, Milk
02. Woody Allen, Vicky Cristina Barcelona
03. Jenny Lumet, Rachel Getting Married
04. Thomas McCarthy, The Visitor
05. Mike Leigh, Happy Go Lucky

ADAPTED SCREENPLAY
01. Simon Beaufoy, Slumdog Millionaire
02. Eric Roth, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
03. David Hare, The Reader
04. Peter Morgan, Frost/Nixon
05. John Patrick Shanley, Doubt

ANIMATED FEATURE FILM
01. Wall•E, Pixar Animation Studios
02. Kung Fu Panda, DreamWorks SKG
03. Waltz With Bashir, Sony Pictures Classic

FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM
01. Waltz With Bashir, Israel
02. The Baader Meinhof Complex, Germany
03. Everlasting Moments, Sweden
04. The Class, France
05. Revanche, Austria

ACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLE
01. Meryl Streep, Doubt
02. Anne Hathaway, Rachel Getting Married
03. Kate Winslet, Revolutionary Road
04. Melissa Leo, Frozen River
05. Sally Hawkins, Happy Go Lucky

Sally bunging Hawkins had better get nominated.

ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE
01. Mickey Rourke, The Wrestler
02. Sean Penn, Milk
03. Frank Langella, Frost/Nixon
04. Brad Pitt, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
05. Leonardo DiCaprio, Revolutionary Road

ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE
01. Heath Ledger, The Dark Knight
02. Josh Brolin, Milk
03. Philip Seymour Hoffman, Doubt
04. Robert Downey Jr, Tropic Thunder
05. Dev Patel, Slumdog Millionaire

11 months ago, if you’d told me that Anwar off Skins was going to get an Oscar nomination, I would have told you to get it. I’m so proud of how far Dev Patel has come!

ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE
01. Marisa Tomei, The Wrestler
02. Penelope Cruz, Vicky Cristina Barcelona
03. Viola Davis, Doubt
04. Kate Winslet, The Reader
05. Amy Adams, Doubt

The category that my own personal ballot most closely resembles. My personal five picks would be Cruz, Davis, Adams, Tomei, and Mila Kunis for Forgetting Sarah Marshall.

COSTUME DESIGN
01. Jacqueline West, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
02. Albert Wolsky, Revolutionary Road
03. Deborah Hopper, Changeling
04. Michael O’Connor, The Duchess
05. Catherine Martin, Australia

ART DIRECTION
01. Donald Graham Burt, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
02. Nathan Crowley, The Dark Knight
03. James Murakami, Changeling
04. Brigitte Broch, The Reader
05. Bill Groom, Milk

CINEMATOGRAPHY
01. Anthony Dod Mantle, Slumdog Millionaire
02. Wally Pfister, The Dark Knight
03. Claudio Miranda, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
04. Roger Deakins, Revolutionary Road
05. Chris Menges, The Reader

MAKE-UP DESIGN
01. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Paramount Pictures
02. The Reader, The Weinstein Company
03. Tropic Thunder, Paramount Pictures

FILM EDITING
01. Chris Dickens, Slumdog Millionaire
02. Daniel & Mike Hill, Frost/Nixon
03. Lee Smith, The Dark Knight
04. Kirk Baxter & Angus Wall, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
05. Claire Simpson, The Reader

SOUND MIXING
01. Wall•E, Pixar Animation Studios
02. The Dark Knight, Warner Brothers Pictures
03. Iron Man, 20th Century Fox
04. Slumdog Millionaire, Fox Searchlight
05. Tropic Thunder, Paramount Pictures

SOUND EDITING
01. The Dark Knight
02. Iron Man,
03. Wall•E
04. The Curious Case of Benjamin Butto
05. Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull

VISUAL EFFECTS
01. Iron Man
02. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
03. The Dark Knight

ORIGINAL SCORE
01. Thomas Newman, Wall•E
02. Alexandre Desplat, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
03. A.R. Rahman, Slumdog Millionaire
04. Hans Zimmer & James Newton Howard, The Dark Knight
05. John Williams, that Indiana Jones movie he scored

I would love to see Thomas Newman bag himself double nominations for his score on Revolutionary Road as well, but it doesn’t seem that likely, what with the Oscars bumming John Williams and that.

ORIGINAL SONG
01. The Wrestler, The Wrestler
02. Down to Earth, Wall•E
03. Jai Ho, Slumdog Millionaire
04. O Saya, Slumdog Millionaire
05. The Call, Prince Caspian

This is my wish fulfilment category. If these five songs get nominated, I shall be a very happy girl.

I’m off for a walk down to the town centre now, so I don’t know if I’ll actually be around when the Oscars are announced. Doubt it. But I’ll be back, to whinge/say I told you so/cry/be ecstatic.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Which actors/actresses does your voice most resemble?

I always talk either a) extremely posh or b) extremely chavvy, so, I think that my voice is the weirdest amalgamation of Emma Watson’s and Thomas Turgoose’s (of This is England and Somer’s Town fame); that is eloquent poncy University student crossed with crude London chav.

How about you?

The Wrestler (Darren Aronofsky, 2008)


The Wrestler begins with a pan of the glory days of Randy “The Ram” Robinson, a professional wrestler, taking in all his big name games and triumphant wins via posters and ticket stubs. The Ram was such a big name that he was a topic of Nintendo games, action figures and focus of pay-per-view matches, and had a wealth of fans that worshipped. We’re now 20 years later, and he’s lost most of his swagger, pace, looks, not to mention several bones and ability to hear in one ear. He barely makes enough to cover his own living – his landlord’s locked him out of his trailer because he has missed a rent payment. The Ram certainly looks the part; Sporting an insane amount of steroids that have been pumped into him and bleached blonde hair and Mickey Rourke looks like how Frankenstein’s monster would have turned out had he not washed his hair for a month and donned a Cristiano Ronaldoesque mahogany tan.

Despite his startling looks, however, The Ram is a good guy at heart; enduring most of the stick life gives him with a weathered smile, mucking about with the kids that live near him and striking a friendship with Cassidy, an aging stripper. We watch as he partakes in some very staged but authentic-looking wrestling scenes – which are inter-cut with footage of the immediate treatment given to the wounds inflicted. One fight proves too much for his jaded heart, however, and The Ram suffers a heart attack. He recovers, but the doctor tells him a simple fact – he can’t continue wrestling if he intends to live. Taking this incident as sign, he quits from wrestling and tries to reconcile with his daughter Stephanie, whom he has not spoken to for a long time.

It’s a depressing, claustrophobic watch, but the performances make it worth it. As the stripper who’s finding it hard to vie with the younger and supposedly riper strippers around her, Marisa Tomei spends a good deal of her screen time stark naked, but still finds time to give one of the best performances of her career. Like Randy, it’s only a matter of time before her time is up, and there is one scene in which the punters do nothing but scorn at her and her age, so settles for the attentions of The Ram. In a few seconds, Tomei’s eyes convey the stages of rejection, hurt, realisation and acceptance that Cassidy goes through. Evan Rachel Wood plays the bitter estranged daughter Stephanie, and she hovers carefully just underneath the line of “getting annoying”, spending most of her time onscreen getting a bit shirty with Rourke.

However, if there’s you were asking for one reason to sit through two hours of depressing, gritty docudrama, then the answer is simple: Mickey Rourke. Rourke is sensational. With that wrinkled face and bittersweet smile, there are more than a few similarities between The Ram and the actor playing him. And in finding himself in The Ram, Mickey Rourke comes back from the dead, showing us that he’s still got it. We follow Randy in all his unattractive realism – hiding a blade in his tape to inflict wounds on himself, living in his car and grubby sex with whores in public bathrooms, and Mickey Rourke is completely at home in his ugly exploits. The scene where he takes his daughter to the seaside and explains and apologises for his poor parenting is particularly well done; you can hear, feel, sense Randy’s regret and sadness. Mickey Rourke’s dedication to the role is truly admirable – Rourke ate 5000 calories a day and trained for 6 months pre-filming so he was appropriately bulky – but his tears, facial expressions and body language speaks louder than any dieting could.

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Shot with a hand-held camera in many scenes, The Wrestler has the look of a docudrama, and we follow Randy in all his mundane activities. In one rather painful episode, one of the young lads living near him humours him by playing Nintendo with him; in the 2008, it was all about PS3 and Wii, but The Ram doesn’t fathom anything like that. We see some hesitant and not altogether successful attempts at flirting from Randy on Cassidy. We follow Randy as he works at the deli counter, chatting and bantering with his customers. The relationship between Randy and Cassidy is an interesting one. Friends for a while, there does seem to be a spark from both parties, hampered by Cassidy’s self-inflicted rule to never get involved with the customer. But of course, Randy isn’t just any old customer, and Cassidy realises this, perhaps too late.

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I’m not the biggest fan of Aronofsky personally (Requiem for a Dream was turgid, pretentious bollocks whose only redeeming quality was the tune that they play over and over again in X-Factor and Sky sports, The Fountain was lol-inducing and Pi made me hate Maths), but what has definitely helped The Wrestler as a piece of art is that it was not written by him, and, in having an accomplished writer script the film rather than doing it himself, Aronofsky has not gotten distracted by explosive visuals, and can focus on simply telling this humble little story. Aronofsky’s direction is mature, assured, and above all, unobtrusive. Robert D. Siegel pens the film, and eases gentle humour into an otherwise depressing story, successfully depicting both the macrocosm of the boxing world, as well as the microcosm of Randy’s life.

The finale was a true one-two punch. As The Ram explains to Cassidy (evoking echoes of The Shawshank Redemption’s Brooke), it’s the real world that inflicts his greatest wounds, not the boxing ring. “I only get hurt out there,” he explains, and one cannot help but feel their heart pang. The people in The Wrestler are by no means perfect, but they’re human, and every human deserves a chance. Every human craves to feel wanted and of use, and it is only in the boxing ring that Randy finds his validation. Pretty it is not, but Darren Aranofsky’s The Wrestler is worth the watch; is a fine character study about what it means to be a wrestler, what it means to feel wanted, what it means to be a man.

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Davy (Coconut Records, 2009)

My first album of 2009. Get in.

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01. Saint Jerome (so cute)
02. Drummer (mellow, with an adorable trumpet instrumental bit)
03. Microphone (ethereal, sweet)
04. Wandering Around
05. The Summer
06. Is This Sound Okay?
07. Wires
08. Any Fun (it gets repetitive)
09. Courtyard (a bit too melancholy for me)
10. I Am Young

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Layer Cake (Matthew Vaughn, 2004)

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“As I try to make my way, to the ordinary world, somehow I will survive”, sings Duran Duran, as a crazy drug dealer kicks the shit out of a fat bloke, before pouring hot tea over him. This happens about half an hour into Matthew Vaughn’s crime movie Layer Cake (named such to represent the “tiers” in London organized crime), and by then, I was completely lost.

What I think the film is about, is Daniel Craig’s small-scale cocaine dealer, a flash little sod, fancies himself a wee retirement, but some people want to use him as a pawn in their macrocosm. One of these people, Price asks Craig to locate the drugged-up daughter of his associate, Eddie Temple. Meanwhile, a crappy local drug-dealer who names himself “Duke”, has hijacked a massive quantity of drugs from a group fo Serbians, and, in doing so, namedropped Craig’s character, who finds himself in deeper trouble than ever.

“Choppy” would be a word I’d use to describe Layer Cake, whose scenes chop and change at its heart’s desire, with no real purpose. Brutal and stylised violence is scattered about the film, some parts shocking, but nothing we haven’t seen before, and done better, in Goodfellas, Carlito’s Way or Casino.

Some of the performances are alright – Ben Wishaw is rather good and Michael Gambon manages to scare me in a brief role. Daniel Craig, I’m afraid, still fails to convince, and he spends a good deal of the film poncing about in designer shirts or giving a pretentious voice-over where he makes drug-dealing sound as deep as Sartre or something. Furthermore, every time his character swears, feels forced and awkward. And Sienna Miller bungs up too, as a shameless floozy with the most repulsive Essex accent I’ve ever heard in my entire life.

The finale was certainly unexpected and there are some class usages of music throughout the film (She Sells Sanctuary by The Cult, A+), but overall, I would only recommend this piece of turd if you want a good lol. Layer Cake thinks its cool, slick and classy, but it’s nothing but a messy, sloppy mess. Indeed, my favourite scene was at the end, Joe Cocker’s vocals covering Nina Simone’s Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood, as SPOILER Daniel Craig’s character hopefully bleeds to death. /SPOILER

Monday, January 19, 2009

Wild Child (Nick Moore, 2008)

Emma Roberts’ Poppy is a right little madam. She lives in a massive bedroom in a massive house and always gets her way; that way generally being of hedonistic spending on Jimmy Choo and Gucci. At the start of the movie, she ruins in for herself when she sabotages her dad’s girlfriend’s moving in; crossing a very thin line and getting herself sent to boarding school in England as punishment.

On arrival in Abbey Mount School, she wastes no time in making enemies with the Head Girl Harriet, as well as getting into bad books of the head teacher, who, nonetheless, determines to see the good in her. After some amusing episodes at the school, including a Western-style face-off with lacross sticks against Harriet and getting a bucket of dirt poured over her head, Poppy decides she’d rather not deal and sets about getting expelled so she can head back home to be with her bessies in Malibu. And the sure-fire way to get expelled? Why, to snog Freddie, the head’s son, of course.

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Wild Child does pretty much everything it says on the tin – provide 90 minutes of decent entertainment. As a teenage girl, I saw elements of myself in more than a few of the characters, even in the spoilt lead, and the moments when Poppy’s dorm mates speculate over her sexual history raised a wry smile of recognition within me. There are some genuinely funny moments – a throwaway comment about dwarf-prostitutes inadvertently brought memories of In Bruges, Poppy putting “Call Me” cards in a local phone booth leading to the Head Girl getting naughty phone calls, as well as Nick Frost’s cameo as a hairdresser who’s camper than a row of tents, sporting the line, “And I need a back wax and a night with Michael Buble, but we don’t always get what we want”. Wild Child won’t tax the brain cells in any way, shape or, form, but it’s pleasantly enjoyable as writer Lucy Dahl (daughter of Roald) practically spells the plot out for us– Poppy gets reminded to log off her e-mail; one wonders what will happen the instance she forgets(!)

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Emma Roberts as Poppy Moore is one of the most grating teens on celluloid. The idea is that her character mellows and becomes a better person as the film progresses, but no amount of dying her hair brown and unconvincing epiphanies about her inner soul could lead me to like her. Likewise, Alex Pettyfer is a complete and utter waste of space as Freddie, both in terms of eye candy value (gimme a footballer, any day), and acting talent, of which he possesses none. The lack of the latter is accentuated with the weak writing in the romantic moments, when we as the audience must really suspend belief that any human not taking the piss would really spout some of the stuff he does. Few on-screen couples have made me want to gag less.

Fortunately, the rest of the cast are an unequivocal joy. My favourite characters were Kate and Drippy, played by Kimberly Nixon and Juno Temple. They are Poppy’s roommates, who slowly but surely become her friends and accustom her to the ways of boarding school life, as well as embracing the fun in her as well. Nixon, who is next to be seen in Cherrybomb with Rupert Grint, is the role of compassion throughout the film, and Atonement’s Juno Temple is a fine, fine comic actress who’s candyfloss hair and big eyes are a compelling watch throughout. Poppy’s room-mates are those that provide much of the girly fun. There’s also laughs to be had with the intense smarminess of the Head Girl Harriet, who’s hilariously deluded herself into thinking that a) Freddie returns her feelings of love for him and b) she looks like Keira Knightley. Her cronies are somewhat more graceful versions of Crabbe and Goyle, and, like Crabbe and Goyle, they’re minions that provide entertainment.

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The “I am Spartacus”-style scene, along with the film’s attempts to strike emotional resonance made me groan, but on the whole, the larfs I got from the film were intentional. It’s no Mean Girls and probably won’t go on Working Title’s back catalogue of masterpieces, but as a fun watch that says a thing or two about who your real mates are, Wild Child certainly suffices.

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Sunday, January 18, 2009

It's beyond sad that I find this interesting, but...

I was on the bbfc website, looking up their explanation for upcoming movies' ratings, and the consumer information for Frost/Nixon particularly interested me -


FROST/NIXON is a drama based on a true story. The film was passed 15 due to one use of motherf****r.BBFC Policy, informed by extensive consultation with the public, regards this word as too strong for a ‘12A’ classification and as such the ‘15’ was required.The film also contains some archive war footage, including brief sight of injured and dead people, but no detail or blood, as well as two further uses of strong language which would have been acceptable at ‘12A’ in the absence of this stronger term.

So basically, it would have been a 12 if they didn't say that word. Though I'm sure the word was important to the context of the film.

Reading this brought back good ol' memories of being a wide-eyed eight year old, watching Men in Black and being shocked that they said "shit" in it, even though it was just a PG. God, I was sad.

Still am rather sad.

Frost/Nixon will be one of the first movies I watch tomorrow when my exams end, as part of a major and massively overdue movie binge!

Friday, January 16, 2009

Gossip Girl: 2.15, Gone with the Will

Chuck Bass’ uncle Jack is one of the slimiest creations in TV history, and what we got from the last episode, he and Blair had a little something on New Year’s Day. Turns out that the love of Blair Waldorf isn’t the only thing Chuck has that his uncle wants, because, on the reading of his dead father’s will, Chuck is bequeathed a significant proportion off Bass industries to his hedonistic son, and Chuck is now left in charge of the legacy that his father spent such a long time building.

You can practically see those evil brain cells of Jack Bass ticking as he sets his nephew up into having a night of debauched fun with some high-class tarts and in the process, losing the company that he’s just gotten, as well as the faith of Blair, faith that has been tested many a time. It’s an explosive episode all around, as Serena and Dan’s parents Lily Rufus go in search of the son that Lily put up for adoption 19 years ago, only to be told by the son’s adoptive father that he is no longer alive. And, to make matters worse, Serena only finds all of this out through gossip girl – and at the same time as everyone else in the Upper East Side.



This week’s episode of gossip girl reminds me just why I love this show so much. There are the bitchy caricatures that make me want to slap every social climber out there (a trio of three scheming so-and-sos and their pathetic minion), but there are also the to-die-for wardrobes, including a very, very sexy black dress sported by Leighton Meester. The usage of “How to Make a Boy Feel” by Franz Ferdinand is one of the best usages of popular music in a TV programme I’ve encountered, and, just when one bombshell is dropped, we receive another, as it turns out we’d been bluffed. There’s an entertaining and cute subplot about Eric and his boyfriend, but the focus is firmly on family affairs, and letting oneself down. As Blair says to Chuck, after he’s ruined everything for himself and he’s asking for forgiveness once again, this time, it’s too late. “I believed in you. Your father believed in you. You’re the only one who didn’t.”
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Oh, how I love gossip girl.

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Golden Globes, 2009 – Emmabung’s Report.


(Oi, I know it was on Sunday night, but only now have I watched the ceremony, so my thoughts shall go on now.)

“This is the Golden Globes, so let’s get right to the awards,” says Jennifer Lopez, sporting a rather alluring gold number, and so she does, announcing the nominees for Best Supporting Actress. There’s a bit of a blunder on her part at first when she stutters over Amy Adams’ name, leaving the ginger actress pulling a weird-but-adorable facial expression. The shots of the five nominated actresses show them in all of their glory; each of them look beautiful in their own way. Kate Winslet looks a little put off at first when it’s her name that’s announced, but she finds her way onto the stage and gives a nice little speech, thanking all the appropriate people, and apologising that “Sorry, I know this is going on a bit”. Her speech ends on a bittersweet note, when we remember that Anthony Minghella and Sydney Pollack, both of which produced the movie, never got to see the finished product.

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Sting needs to shave. He comes on to present Best Original Song. We get little clips of every single song, and I feel inwardly grateful knowing that “Once in a Lifetime” from Cadillac Records doesn’t win, because, bloody hell, there were a heck of a lot of people involved in that song! Anyway, the winner is Bruce Springstreen, who saunters onto stages, grinning, “The only time I’ve been in competition with Clint Eastwood”, and thanking Mickey Rourke for inspiring him to write the song.

Eva Longaria and someone I don’t recognise but who’s apparently on Desperate Housewives come on, first to point out Rumer Willis as the Miss Golden Globe of 2009, who waves shyly in the corner. Then, they announce the winner for Best Supporting Actor in a TV Programme. There’s shots of all five nominees in the crowd, and my my, Tom Wilkinson’s getting on a bit. Speaking of which, he wins. His speech is fairly brief but succinct, and we get shots of various people in the audience, including Renee Zellweger’s terrible barnet.

Eva and that bloke come back on to announce the winner for Best Supporting Actress in a TV Programme. One of the nominees is Melissa George, who looks an alarming lot like Mena Survive. Laura Dern wins for her performance in Recount, and celebrates a quick smooch with the man sitting next to her. She’s sitting very far away from the stage and as she walks up to it, we get a good few shots of her, and she’s got a great figure! In her speech, she thanks director Jay Roach, which opens my eyes quite a bit; I thought he only directed Meet the Parents style things, not political TV dramas!

Don Cheadle’s had his head shaved. He’s also wearing a very shiny looking tie. Throughout the night, the 10 films nominated for Best Drama and Best Comedy. His film to talk about is Burn After Reading, which, he notes, is directed by the Coen brothers, two people who have never asked to work with him. Anyway, he has a bit of banter with his Ocean’s 11/12/13 co-star Brad Pitt sitting in the crowd about his character being a thickie, before wrongly branding BAF an “original comedy masterpiece”. And then they show a clip from the film, again reminding me how much I dislike it.

It’s not everyday you get to see not one, but two annoying young actors together on stage, but that’s what we get when Hayden Panettiere and Zach Efron saunter up to the stage. “One of the most prestigious categories on the show”, says Panettiere, who brings to life Claire from Heroes, one of the most annoying TV characters.

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Gabrielle Byrne is the winner, and he hasn’t bothered to show up, and Zach Efron hasn’t bothered to remember what he’s supposed to say when the winner isn’t there. Oh, and Panettiere gets lost on the way off the stage.

Zachary Quinto manages to plug his upcoming Star Trek movie before announcing Best Supporting Actress in a TV show, though not before denying it, “We’re not here to talk Trek tonight.” When saying the names of the nominees, we get treated to shots of the stars in the crowd. January Jones is really pretty, though you can see from her eyebrows that she’s died her hair. Kevin Bacon has a receding hairline and a really greasy face. Anyway, Anna Paquin wins.

Next up is Ricky Gervais, to present the clip for Happy-Go-Lucky.
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Is it me, or has he put on weight? He’s got an alcoholic beverage in his hand, and that seems to drive him to do a little stint on stage, first singling out Kate Winslet, with a cheeky little reference to the episode of Extras that she appears in, wherein she says “do a holocaust movie and the Oscars will just come your way”, which goes down a storm with her. Gervais pushes it a bit too much with the Holocaust jokes, in my opinion, because there are sparse laughs when he says “the problem with doing a holocoast movie is that you don’t really get a gag reel on the DVD.” Hmm. Anyway, the clip from Happy-Go-Lucky is annoyingly short; it deserves way better than that.

The Jonas brothers come on to present Best Animated Movie. Wall-E wins it, and rightly so, and Andrew Stanton, who has now made three of my favourite films (A Bug’s Life, Finding Nemo and Wall-E), gives a rushed but comprehensive speech.

Johnny Depp, last year’s winner for Best Actor in a Comedy/Musicial, comes on to announce the winner of Best Actress in a Comedy/Musical. When Meryl Streep’s name is said, we get a shot of Amanda Seyfried clapping proudly, as if Streep’s her real mum or something. Daww. Sally Hawkins is the rightful winner (take note, BAFTA), and the win clearly means a lot to her; she cries a bit as she finds her way to the stage, and then a bit more when she’s on stage.

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She names her rivals in her category “Goddesses”, and has a bit of a smoochy moment with Emma Thompson in the crowd, which is absolutely adorable. It’s one of the best Golden Globe speeches I’ve heard (to be fair, I’ve only started watching the Golden Globes since 2006, but w/e), her last thanks going to “the special guiding light Mike Leigh”, and a sign of what we could have to look forward to if she gets a rightful Oscar nomination.

Next up it’s my baby Jake Gyllenhaal, as blue-eyed and beautiful as ever. I’m not too sure about the goatee, though, Jake. He’s here to present a clip from The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, and in doing so, pronounces “Alexandre Desplat” a bit wrongly, but, we can forgive that; he’s hawt!

Drew Barrymore and Jessica Lange swan onto the stage, and they share a very cosy moment onstage, which is nice to see. One of programmes nominated for Best TV mini-series, A Raisin in the Sun, surprises me, because it has none other than P Diddy in it! Also, John Adams has got Laura Linney, Paul Giamatti and Tom Wilkinson and Recount has got Kevin Spacey and Tom Wilkinson. I might give a few of these shows a watch if they ever come over the UK. John Adams is crowned the winner, and yet another star is revealed to be involved with the film – Tom Hanks, Exec Producer. He is very Hanksy, giving an entertaining and shouty speech.

Demi Moore uses her time on the stage to tell her daughter Rumer not to slouch, which is amusing because my mother says the exact same thing to me! Tom Cruise, who’s nominated for his performance in Tropic Thunder, is looking very dapper, all shaved and suited and booted in the audience. When Heath Ledger’s name is first said, and subsequently announced as the winner, there is a very loud round of applause and everyone stands up. Chris Nolan comes to accept the trophy, and a scene from The Dark Knight where Heath is particularly creepy is played. Nolan then speaks a few words, of how Ledger’s death is “a hole ripped in the future of cinema”. Heath will be “eternally missed, never forgotten.”

Frost/Nixon is the next clip to be presented, and it has nominations for the screenplay, which is done by British screenwriter Peter Morgan, who had a double whammy of good writing in 2006, The Queen and The Last King of Scotland. What amuses me quite a bit, by the way, is that they play “Death is the Road to Awe” as the backing track to clips from the film. I do love that track.

The Golden Globe for Best Foreign Film goes to Waltz with Bashir, though Colin Farrell has a slight gaffe in trying to open the envelope to tell us this. “It’s not what it used to be,” he says. Cue shot of Brendan Gleeson-lookalike in the audience. In Bruges was funny.

Two stars of The Dark Knight, Maggie Gyllenhaal and Aaron Erkhart come onto stage to give the award for Best Actress in a TV Drama. Catherine Keener’s hair is a frizzy mess, though she still looks rather sexy. Similarly, Laura Linney’s looks like it could do with a good brush or too, but she, too, is still pretty. Laura is the winner, and Maggie seems particularly happy to say her name. In her speech, she says that John Adams is a project that was “extraordinarily special”, and that she’s thrilled with everyone associated with John Adams.

Gerard Butler, who I recently watched in 300, comes on stage and smothers us with his thick accent. He’s here to show the clip from In Bruges, and I realise, feeling rather silly, that the Brendan Gleeson-lookalike I’d spotted earlier in the audience, um, actually was Brendan Gleeson. Lulz.

Seth Rogen and Elizabeth Banks present Best Screenplay, and I noticed that one of these nominated writers wear glasses. I find this promising. The actual winner, Simon Beaufoy, for Slumdog Millionaire, doesn’t, but he’s ecstatic with the win, as is Anwar off Skins. Heehee. Simon Beaufoy is nicely British and gives a quick, good speech, telling the story of the development of the writing of Slumdog Millionaire, and thanking Danny Boyle, who, by the way, is also wearing glasses.

Patrick Dempsey and some blonde woman come onstage next, and it’s Best Actor in a Comedy series. Alex Baldwin, Steve Carrell, Kevin Connolly, David Duchovny and Tony Shalhoub are the nominees, Alex Baldwin is the winner. He won two years ago for the same role, we’re told. Pity I have no idea what the show’s about, and also, that the acoustics are so crappy that we can’t hear much of his speech. That said, we do see him thanking Tina Fey, who waves him off. Her prize is coming.

Before they leave us for the ad breaks, we get shots of the Hollywood stars intermingling, and it’s really endearing to see America Ferrera get cosy with Selma Hayak, Clint Eastwood chatting with Glen Close, and Anne Hathaway sharing a kiss with someone who I really can't recognise -

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Renee Zellweger’s costume designer had an absolute ‘mare, because she looks frigging awful. The clip from The Reader that she’s come on the present makes me lol, because’s it’s rather steamy compared to the others so far, and Kate Winslet herself cringes.

Megan “Skanky” Fox and Terrence Howard come on to announce Best Actor in a TV Series, the Golden Globe going to Paul Giamatti for John Adams. The crowd seem very happy that he’s won. Right, I need to see John Adams.

Laurence Fishburne and Glenn Close come on next, and I still can’t get over how absolutely awful Close looks. Just… no. They’re here to announce the winner of Best Comedy/Musical, and I must say, from the clip (which features the skinny bloke off Forgetting Sarah Marshall) of 30 Rock, I quite want to see it. The clip for Entourage is also quite funny, “you have the same role as Shia Labeouf in Disturbia, you look scared, kiss the chick, and you’re on your way to the next Indiana Jones movie.” The Golden Globe goes to 30 Rock, and Tina Fey, who looks very alluring and feminine, leads the way with the rest of the cast to accept the award. As star, executive producer and writer, is there anything this woman can’t do? She hands the award over to another producer of the show, who says that he’s doibng all the speeches now that Barack Obama is president. It’s a riotously fun and spirited speech, full of soul, flavour, and asides to Jay-Z.

Pierce Brosnan is the next host, and he talks about Mamma Mia! for a while. Watching the montage, I realise how utterly cheesy the film is, but I still feel like watching it again.

Kate Winslet and P Diddy come on to present the award for Best Score. Not, as P Diddy keeps calling it, “Best Soundtrack.” Score and Soundtrack are not the same fricking thing, beetches. Oooh, it must have passed me by the first time I saw the Golden Globe nominations, because I was not aware that Defiance had been nominated. Some people in my flat are going to watch that tonight. Slumdog Millionaire is declared winner, and A.R. Rahman, an adorably short Indian bloke saunters up on stage to collect his award.

The nominees for Best Actress in a TV Comedy/Musical are Christina Applegate, America Ferreira, Tina Fey (who’s name is shouted out, as opposed to said), Debra Messing and Mary-Louise Parker. Applegate and Ferreira are sat next to each other. Tina Fey wins, and despite not looking too chuffed about winning, we all know she’s loving it really. She’s quite beautiful, in her own little way, and I envy her courage for wearing a dress with such a massive v-neck. Must come with the territory.

“When I think of Steven Spielberg, I think of history”, says Martin Scorsese, presenting the Cecil B. Demille award. I saw Scorsese and Spielberg sitting together in the audience, and thought it absolutely quaint. Scorsese waxes lyrical about Spielberg, and he has a way with words that he does with images, because his description of Spielberg, whilst hyperbolic, is right on the money and well-said. We then get a montage of all of Spielberg’s best work so far. It’s very well put together but I’ve seen so many similar ones before that I’m not really paying it all that much attention. That is, until the track in the background modulates to Theme from Schindler’s List, and then I start watching. I do heart that tune. In his acceptance speech, Spielberg tells us about how his viewing of Demille’s own The Greatest Show on Earth at the cinema made him want to become a filmmaker. It’s a great anecdote and a terrific insight in what makes one of our most influential filmmakers tick. And the sight of him and Scorsese walking off, arm in arm, was beyond gratifying.

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Emma Thompson and Dustin Hoffman appear next, and Miss Thompson absolutely laps it up, adoring the attention.
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Best Director goes to Danny Boyle, and he reels off the usual litany of people that you thank, which allows me a nice shot of Dev Patel standing in the audience, in a tux. Yummy yummy.

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It’s a bit naff that I haven’t seen so many of these films. Must correct this straight after my last exam on Monday. One of them to see is Revolutionary Road, which stars my beloved Leo (who is looking more like Kate’s other half than Sam in the video, I must say). Sigourney Weaver presents the clip for the film, which makes it look somewhat melodramatic, but definitely meaty.

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Sandra Bullock has her tongue firmly in cheek when she lists the five men nominated for Best Actor in a Comedy Musical. Javier Bardem, she notes, “gets to use his brush on Scarlett Johansson, Rebecca Hall and Penelope Cruz”. The winner is Colin Farrell, who, not learning from fellow Irishman Daniel Day Lewis’ gaffe last year, is sporting an earring. Two earrings, actually, one in each ear.

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He talks for quite a while, but that’s OK by me because I like Irish accents, and there’s the odd shot of Brendan Gleeson looking really happy in the audience. And Farrell notes that In Bruges bears the “sweetest, sweetest redemptive qualities.” Not sure about that, but I do like the word redemptive.

Rather predictably, it’s Salma Hayek who presents the montage for Vicky Cristina Barcelona, and she really goes to town with describing Maria Elena, casting many a loving look at her bessie Penelope Cruz in the audience.

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Sacha Baron Cohen makes a cheeky nod to botox when he comes to present Best Comedy/Musical. He comments on how the recession has affected all the celebrities; “Victoria Beckham hasn’t eaten for three weeks. Martin Sheen has to have sex without paying for it. And Madonna has to shed one of her personal assistants. Our thoughts go out to you, Guy Ritchie.” There’s a resounding “oooooh!” when he says the last line, but I don’t know why they’re so shocked; I foresaw that punchline a mile ahead. In any case, it’s true. Vicky Cristina Barcelona (Cohen pronounces Barcelona “Barthelona”, the right way, which, annoyingly, is not how I’m allowed to say it because when I used a Spanish accent for Spanish names in the company of my friends, I’m accused of being poncy. Bung) takes the prize, and most of the cast and crew of the film haven’t actually bothered to show off; Cruz being the only recognisable face on stage.

Bollywood legend Shahrukh Khan and Slumdog Millionaire babe Freida Pinto present a clip from Slumdog Millionaire. As you have heard me whine many a time now, I’m still yet to see this film, but the clip that is shown – Jamal phoning a friend and the friend in question rushing to get to the phone and getting there just in time – gave me hot flushes for some reason. My, my, I really can’t wait to see it!

Cameron Diaz and Mark Walberg indulge in a bout of saying “hi”, “hi”, “hi,” “hi,” to each other over and over again, which makes me smile because that is something that someone I know does all the time. Kate Winslet wins Best Actress, and Sam Mendes gets absolutely owned, because Kate turns to Leo to hug first.
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Fair enough really; after all, they are responsible for the romance of Titanic, one of the most iconic romances of all time, but it just made me smile. What also made me smile was how Kate Winslet tried to repeat what she did with Supporting Actress and thank her fellow rivals, only this time, not having a list, and resorting to “Oh God, who’s the other one?”, when she forget Angelina Jolie. Jolie was not amused, but I sure as hell was. Also, I was terrified for a moment that Winslet had gone and spoilt Revolutionary Road for me when she said to Sam Mendes in her speech, “Thanks for killing us…”, but then continuing “everyday by making us work so hard”, so I don’t know how it ends. I shall find out for myself.

Blake Lively and Rainn Wilson hit the podium next, and the latter proudly announces, “We’re TV actors.” He also tries to make a joke of how he auditioned for the same part as Blake in gossip girl, but the joke kinda fails because he said “I would have made a great gossip girl”, and Blake Lively does not play the fricking gossip girl off gossip girl. Grrr. Oh, and Mad Men wins, and they’re a sparkling, happy bunch onstage, save the one off Desperate Housewives, who is literally growling. Just look –
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Susan Sarandon gets straight to the point when announcing Best Actor, which goes to Mickey Rourke. Rourke takes his sweet time getting on stage whilst Evan Rachel Wood and Marisa Tomei clap and look a lot happier about the win than he does; and no amount of $30,000 Armani suit can disguise the fact that he is an absolute hobo.
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He just looks like a bit of a mess, really. That said, it’s talent, not looks that matter, and from what I hear, he’s got talent in spades in his performance in The Wrestler. I’ve said it before, and will say it again, Darren Aronofsky giving him the finger: lulz. Marisa Tomei looks really old, sitting in the audience. And when Rourke thanked his “dogs”, I thought he was being derogatory over his previous shags, but no, he meant it literally. He was thanking his pet dogs.

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Tom Cruise does the biggest honours of the night; presenting the award for Best Motion Picture – Drama. Winner, Slumdog Millionaire. “Jai Ho” from the soundtrack blasts over the sound of the cheering and clapping. The producer does the speaking, and he reveals that he’s had a few Martinis, and finds it hard saying Hollywood Foreign Press Association. His accent gets progressively more cockney as his speech goes on, and before it goes on too long, he’s cut off, but not before he slips in “thanks to my girlfriend, for only dumping me once”, and then Tom Cruise gives a quick “good night everybody”, to cut off a frenetic, fun and starry night, and one that will certainly do no harm whatsoever to Slumdog Millionaire’s Oscar chances.

Bloody hell, I wrote a lot. What were your thoughts on the 2009 Golden Globes, then? (Writing this has given me a craving to go and listen to “Jai Ho” a few times.)