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Posts Tagged ‘Girls I Love’

Prior to seeing the film, I was under the shameful impression that Jason Reitman‘s Up in the Air would be a lighter variation on 2007’s Michael Clayton, the dreary yet tightly written George Clooney success. Both star your mom’s favorite actor as a dream shatterer; in Reitman’s film, he’s Ryan Bingham, the guy hired by your backbone-less company to send your ass straight to unemployment, while he’s a law-firm’s prized “fixer” in Tony Gilroy’s ’07 Oscar contender. In both, he’s a problem-solver-for-hire. The Up in the Air trailer promised a self-evaluation, one leading to a realization that Clooney’s character needs personal change, similar to how his Michael Clayton came to grips with his role in indirect murders. The familiarity left me with minimal excitement for Up in the Air, frankly, even though every critic with a WordPress account had been hailing Reitman’s third picture as one of the, if not the, year’s best. I’m a fool like that, sometimes. 

I couldn’t have been further from reality. Up in the Air is its own compelling entity, a serious comedy full of heartbreaking levity. Reitman—-who co-wrote the film’s script with Sheldon Turner, together adapting a 2001 novel by author Walter Kirn—-directs with a remarkable hand. Stylish without overstepping the lines, subtle without losing any of his own creative identity. The dialogue is always sharp, at times downright brilliant (I’m confident in saying that “You’re a parenthesis” will go down as 2009’s most devastating insult). And George Clooney is at his best, in a role that allows him to flex his God-given charisma just as much as it challenges his abilities, demanding new facets of vulnerability and sadness that are foreign to one Danny Ocean. Not even Michael Clayton could transmit unseen tears as convincingly as Clooney does here, in a post-wedding-rehearsal chat between brother and sisters that drives home just how detached he is from those he should unconditionally support. The pain on Clooney’s face is expressive acting at its most effective.

I won’t shoot myself in the lip by saying he deserves the Academy’s Best Actor statue (it’s way too early for such hyperbole), but he’s secured a top-slot in my personal list, alongside Jeremy Renner (The Hurt Locker), pending on the leading-man merits of Invictus (Morgan Freeman), A Single Man (Colin Firth) and one I’ve slacked off on seeing thus far, sadly, A Serious Man (Michael Stuhlbarg). I’m absolutely riding with Team Christoph Waltz (Inglourious Basterds), but he’s on the supporting side, anyway.

George Clooney and director Jason Reitman

 

Let’s lock in both Clooney’s and Reitman’s names in the nominees-for-sure discussions, shall we? Continued after the jump:

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Hottest actress in the game. No question.

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Sometimes I wonder if I watch horror films with a different type of eye than others. Not to sound pretentious. I just tend to react to horror films that others loathe with a special devastation, a floored quality that snooty film critics experience when watching the latest Coen Brothers picture. I’m not talking dreck such as H2; I’m on the wavelength of this year’s The Last House on the Left remake, specifically. Courtesy of the used DVD bin at the local Blockbuster, I picked the DVD up last night, after weeks of self-debate over whether I should plunker down 20 beans or not. I loved the film in theaters, but it’s Christmas season, kiddies—-would spending two 10-spots on the DVD be justified now? Lumping it into a two-for-$20 deal, however, made it fair game. I sat with director Dennis Iliadis‘s remake after last evening’s witching hour, and, yet again, I fell in love. Which feels wrong to say, since its such a dreary, brutal film. But, as far as I can tell, Iliadis gives the production such flair and heft that I’m left to consider The Last House on the Left for my forthcoming Top 10 of 2009 list. Yes, it’s like that.

Back in March, I explored my appreciation of Iliadis’s Last House for the original blog-hub, “Barone’s World.” Check that out here:

The “early Wes Craven was a Hack” Analysis

This morning’s rumor (which is sketchy until legitimized) that Iliadis is close to officially taking over the long-gestating The Birds remake is all the more timely, thanks to last night’s impromptu living room Last House screening. He’s stepping in for Martin Campbell, the talented fella behind Casino Royale and who’s currently mapping out his Green Lantern film; Campbell reportedly has issues with the script for the Alfred Hitchcock winged-assailants redo; so far, the film’s script has gone through three writers, none of whom have been able to slam it home. With Campbell exiting, I’d imagine that this means we’ll no longer see Naomi Watts as The Birds lead, which would be tragic.  

I’ll be keeping close eyes on this project; fingers crossed that Iliadis gets his shot and that it happens in the near future. As I’ve done in the past, and I’ve always enjoyed, let me Naomi-Watts-potential-replacement-name into the invisible ring: Ashley Judd. Just watch the great-even-if-most-are-oblivious Bug and see how well-equipped of an actress she still is; she just needs the right roles. I say, let her step into Tippi Hedren’s beak-pecked shoes. 

The Birds news spotted over at:

/Film

Bonus related videos, after the jump: (more…)

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I’m reserving elaborated comments on Rob Marshall’s Nine until I actually see the film, understandably. Lavish musicals and yours truly rarely get along; Chicago and Moulin Rouge hold no interest around these parts, and the only reason why I enjoyed Tim Burton’s Sweeney Todd, I presume, is that it’s essentially a horror film in slick, marketable dressing. The odd thing is, I’m actually pretty excited for Nine; the leading presence of Daniel Day-Lewis is largely to blame, as is the deep cast of talented hottie actresses (I can be shallow with the best of them; it’s true). Just look at this, one of the film’s three new posters; tell me that Penelope Cruz and Kate Hudson don’t leave you all hot and bothered by the notion that you’re not anticipating a musical (I know that’s the sensation I’m experiencing). Don’t mind Fergie here, though; I’m not Tyra Banks co-host or anything, but that hair on Fergie’s dome is rather unbecoming (yes, I just said that, in the same breath as “I want to see this new musical”….. Gag me with a spoon). She looks like Michelle Pfeiffer in her worse older days:

Bonus shot of Nine co-star Sophia Loren after the jump, to remind you all that she’ll forever remain one of the all-time great beauties: (more…)

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Of course not. But, yeah…. This makes one hell of an argument for the show:

From: Leighton Meester’s fierce GQ photoshoot

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hack-slash-omnibus

371032-63562-cassie-hack_superStephen Susco, the guy who wrote the American remake of The Grudge, is now handling the forever-gestating, needs-to-happen-already film adaptation of Tim Seeley’s great Hack/Slash, the comic book series about a scantily-dressed little number, Cassie Hack, and her giant oaf of a sidekick, Vlad. Along with clever quips and tons of bloodshed, Cassie and Vlad favor the killing off of infamous horror characters, such as Jason Voorhees and Chucky. A pretty brilliant concept that’s been screaming for a film version for some years now.

I wish I could say that Susco’s involvement has me more optimistic than before about this project, but the damn thing has been so problematic already that I’m thinking it’ll never see the light of day. Susco is hot on the block these days; on top of this, he’s working on Texas Chainsaw Massacre 3-D (*cringe*) and The Butcherhouse Chronicles. I’ll reserve judgment on his screenwriting chops until I’ve seen a second effort (The Grudge, while enjoyable enough, left a good deal to be desired); for now, all I can do is hope he doesn’t fuck Hack/Slash up, if it happens at all. 

In the meantime, a guy can still dream-cast the role of Cassie Hack; I, like every other fanboy worth his marbles, initially envisioned Eliza Dushku in the part, after laboring to avoid the two words “Megan” and “Fox.” Dushku feels a little tired for this, though; I’m thinking we need to really step outside the proverbial box. How about….. and go with me on this one:

Olivia Munn, G4 hostess extraordinaire and top-five sexiest chick in the game. Not much acting experience, but she’s charming enough to leave me with tons of optimism.  Consider this the official genesis of the “Cast Olivia Munn as ‘Cassie Hack'” campaign.

News spotted over at:  JoBlo

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For all of the abuse that Alexandre Aja’s High Tension receives over its unimaginative twist ending, it’s still tough to deny the film greatness, at least in the realm of horror cinema. Of the last decade, specifically. The 20-or-so minute stretch in the house once the killer drops by is intense enough to treat your eyes like our favorite droog Alex in his A Clockwork Orange experimental treatment. And even after that aforementioned twist, Aja totally redeems himself with the most insane and blood-drenched chainsaw massacre of our time. 

So cut the film some slack, would you?

ceciledefrance1Also worth acclaim in the respect of High Tension is lead actress Cecile de France. The Belgian actress owns the picture, with her subtle sexiness, hard edge and wonderful facial reactions. I’ve been hoping to see her in more films after the fact, but, sadly, that hasn’t happened. There was that dreadful Jackie Chan flick Around the World in 80 Days (2004), but all signs are pointing me having never seen that one by my dying day. de France’s next role, however, is one I’ll totally rush to—–she’s just signed on for a lead role in Clint Eastwood‘s Hereafter, a “what happens after death?” multiple character study that’s to be anchored by Matt Damon’s “psychic”; de France will play a French journalist who has a near-death go-round. 

Eastwood’s films always garner heaps of attention, and deservedly so; and then you have Damon, one of my favorite actors, and a guy who knows quality screenplays like 50 Cent knows great production. As a fan of Cecile de France based solely off of High Tension, this is great news. Her second chance to show us what she’s got on a large scale is long overdue.

Now, how about casting Inside‘s gorgeous and equally talented Alysson Paradis in a Hollywood prestige flick? She’s Johnny Depp’s sister-in-law, for hell’s sake. Surely we can make this one happen, as well. 

UPDATE: How did I not catch this earlier? After reading this Cecile de France news on a different website just now, I’ve noticed that Eastwood has also cast Mylene Jampanoi, one of the two dynamite leads in Pascal Laugier’s Martyrs. The leads from both High Tension and Martyrs?! Let me find out that Clint Eastwood is up on the best of modern-day French horror cinema. This is all coincidental, of course (a result of these ladies’ agents being on their grind), but it’s cool to envision Dirty Harry rewinding scenes from Inside, a la yours truly. 

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Cecile de France news spotted over at: Variety

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