Saturday, September 20, 2008
The Theater must be desperate for material or craving for nostalgic reminisces of B-movie stars.
"Point Break" - the cult feature which starred Keanu Reeves as an undercover FBI agent - was recently adapted for the stage.
By all accounts, it was a bizarre offering for the boards.
The producers were billing - Point Break LIVE! - in quite a unique way.
"The absurdist stage adaptation of the Keanu Reeves/Patrick Swayze extreme-sports blockbuster which returns to its roots: Los Angeles, "bank robbery capital of the world," where "a lot has changed in the last 20 years - the air got dirty and the sex got clean."
The odd-ball production revives faded memories of Johnny Utah (Keanu Reeves); Bodhi, the surfing philosopher (Patrick Swayze); and a handful of bank robbers (like the one played over-the-top by Gary Busey).
"Point Break LIVE!" first opened in Seattle - but has had sold-out runs in New York City and Minneapolis - if you can fathom it.
The stage show is sort-of an up-close in-your-face personal theatrical experience.
The oddity here?
At each show an acting newbie is plucked from the audience to stumble on the playing field and inhabit the Reeves "Utah" role.
The casting director noted tongue-in-cheek that the process ensured an FBI character - not unlike Reeves - who'll be wooden, grasping for lines, and looking for all-the-world like a deer caught in the thunderous path of a two-ton truck!
Yeah, they wanted a slow-talking, self-conscious dude who struts like he has a stick up his butt (or somethin' like that).
During the auditions, unlikely wannabes take a shot at the big time by executing jumpin' jacks, showing-off a little tight a**, and rendering a cold-reading - ah - very cold!
"Keanu's role requires a special kind of acting," explained one demanding director.
"Essentially, in every scene, the actor looks like he's just been dropped into a room with no idea about what's going on."
At each performance, it helps that acting novices get to read from cue cards!
Undoubtedly, this nifty approach, will be sure to capture the rawness of a Keanu performance (even thespians who think themselves generally incapable of acting).
One night, a handful of fans at a Los Angeles gig, swear that a 5'5 blond guy with glasses eerily perfected the Keanu accent, making the entire show a success.
A film buff, in queue at that once-in-a-life-time theatrical event, was inclined to wonder aloud later.
"How do they handle a Keanu that totally blows?"
"Point Break" is a tale about a rookie FBI agent, who infiltrates a colony of surfers in Southern California, to break up a bank robbery ring.
Keanu's character (FBI Agent) first bonds with Bodhi (bank robber Patrick Swayze).
Bodhi - unaware of his partner's secret agenda to bust his butt - pines away for him, nonetheless.
In the movie edition - filmgoers guffawed at stilted, quotable, camp dialogue - very Stallone-esque in style.
Difficult thought-provoking lines like "Whoa" and "I am an FBI agent" are revived in the stage production to the glee of "Point Break" officiandos.
Because "POINT BREAK" is executed in serious frat-boy style, it makes sense that there is usually plenty of cheap beer on tap, along with munchies, and what-have-you.
There's a lot of stumbling about in the stage version - the whole experience is not unlike a theatrical train wreck - with all the guys nearly ending up in an orgy of limbs in a jumble on the hard floor.
According to production notes from a couple of staged performances, the play "features copious amounts of fake blood, extended fight choreography, and an indoor monsoon."
For this reason, the savvy theatre buff usually springs for the brown sack offered up by the show's producers as a "Survival Kit" for $1 at the point of entry.
The lively action scenes - when choreographed by a competent director at the helm - are worth the price of admission.
In fact, in equity-waiver theatres, theater-goers often get caught up in the heavy-breathing, cross fire, and flying shrapnel.
The fighting sequences to date in most productions, have been long and drawn out, but no one's complained as of yet.
I mean, you want full value for the $20 admission fee, don't 'ya?
On occasion, ubiquitous cameras have captured all the magical moments on celluloid.
So, I expect there will be an on-line reality show, or a scintillating webbie TV offering in the near future.
"Point Break LIVE" has been described as an "obnoxious foray" into the ridiculous and a "perverse voyeuristic pleasure" that doesn't require much attention.
Some jarring moments on stage may snap you into a surreal kind of wake-up call at some juncture, though.
"The worse it gets, the better it gets. Sensationally idiotic," noted a delighted Seattle P-I Theatre critic.
You don't even need to have seen the movie "Point Break" to feel like an insider.
You do need to appreciate the brilliance of Keanu-isms, though.
Run the film - SPEED - a couple of times to get in the mood, if possible.
In the Los Angeles production, Agent Harp (played by Gary Busey in the film) was all jawbone, with a dash of spontaneous twitching thrown in for good measure, so they say.
Meanwhile, Bodhi (Swayze's character) had the surfer-zen persona down to a precise haiku poem.
Some swear it was the ribald gang of rag-tag homoerotic bank robbers who stole the show.
"Point Break" won a "Seattle P-I Best of Seattle 2004" award and has been garnering raves around the country.
To have courageously attended bestows on the theatre-goer a kind of theatrical chic.
Friday, September 19, 2008
Candis Cayne...delights partygoers at Abbey Fundraiser. Universal Studios donates truckload of toys!
I planned to head home and hit the sack, but when I cruised by the Abbey last night and spied the beautiful tree out front festively decorated for the club's - "Christmas in September" - fundraiser, it perked me up.
So, I dashed home - donned a torso-fitting "T" shirt, splashed on a dash of pricey cologne - and headed out to CVS to pick up a toy.
As I pointed out in a post a couple of days ago, the Abbey tosses the splashy soiree each year to raise toys for the Children's Hospital.
This year, the event was headlined by talented Candis Cayne.
Out front, the partygoers were wowed by pristine banks of snow that beckoned at the gate, which the organizers generously layered on the path into the trendy watering hole on Robertson.
Inside, a bevy of pretty babes - men, too - were having their photos taken on the lap of a darkly handsome Santa built like a brick - um - you get the idea.
His chiseled abs were so rock hard - that they persisted with their "cut" look - even as he sat back in the comfy high-back chair surrounded by toys collected at the door.
My own stomach muscles tend to sink into a bowl of lively jelly when I flop down into an easy chair.
The cute doorman handed me a coupon as I turned in my gift, so I sauntered over to the bustling bar - manned by adept muscled barkeeps - to snatch up an exotic cocktail provided by management, gratis.
Don't know what mysterious ingredients were swimming inside the elegant cocktail glass - but, in moments - I was elevated to a warm and fuzzy mood!
Shortly after I alighted at a perch up-close near all the action, an announcement rattled the air.
"Ladies and Gentlemen. Please welcome, Candis Cayne."
A spotlight fell on the front entrance - and there draped against the frame of the well-crafted door - stood the glamorous Ms. Cayne dressed to-the-nines in a dazzling full-length fire-engine red frock.
A cut-away section on the right side from mid-thigh to the floor - exposed long pretty glams - and corset flourishes at the waistline drew attention to her svelte well-toned figure.
When she broke into - "Santa Baby" - I laughed.
Years ago, when I appeared on Tracey Ullman's X-Mas show, the comedian sang that little number in a skit for the popular show.
But, it paled next to Candis's sexually-charged rendition which wowed the crowd from the get-go.
Those of you who have patronized the bar are no doubt familiar with the long pathway that runs from the front door to the nefarious back room.
Ms. Cayne used the full-length of it to kick up her heels, gyrate sensually to the upbeat music, and otherwise captivate the crowd in what amounted to a glittering performance.
There was quite a well-heeled crowd in attendance.
For instance, there were a number of stunning young ladies - all dolled-up in eye-catching designer cocktail dresses - sprinkled here and there about the packed environs.
As the fundraiser kicked into high gear, Chi Chi La Rue made an impressive entrance in a tight little black dress - with hair out to "there" - with an entourage of studly young males in tow.
In fact - Chi Chi's posse of fashionistas added quite a bit of zest to the high-profile eye-candy - already kibitzing at the trendy watering hole.
During a second show on the main stage, Candis carried off a couple of upbeat Barbara Streisand tunes, with all the expertise of a seasoned pro.
At this juncture, Ms. Cayne was ecstatic as she made an all-important announcement to the revved up revellers.
Earlier that day - when Universal Studios got wind of the event - they generously donated a whole truckload of toys to the fundraiser.
Steve, the original owner of the Abbey - who nurtured the cafe from a little hole-in-the-wall take-out to the successful in-spot it is today - proudly noted that in the five years the Abbey has been hosting the event, last night's fundraiser was the most successful yet.
I headed home to dreamland at that point.
Now, I am looking for the eye of the dog that bit me, go figure!
Thursday, September 18, 2008
"To bore the audience for a second is a sin," director Werner Herzog warned a rapt audience last night at a screening of the enlightening documentary, "Encounters at the end of the World."
The respected filmmaker was in high spirits.
With great satisfaction, Herzog announced that his latest film starring Nicholas Cage - shot in New Orleans over the past eight weeks - was now in the can.
"The Bad 'Ass' Lieutenant, I think that's what it will end up being titled," he laughed wickedly."
The project was a bit of a departure for the seasoned pro.
His approach to shooting was quite economical, after all.
"There weren't a lot of wide shots, long shots, panning in, that sort-of-thing."
"It's highly stylized."
At this juncture, the versatile filmmaker offered up a word of encouragement for young filmmakers in the audience.
"My last project had a two-man crew. Just a cinematographer and a sound man. So, you don't need a lot, 'ya know."
Then, out-of-the-blue, Herzog surprised a handful of folks when he made the bold-faced statement that Los Angeles is the most cultured place in the United States.
"More than New York," he added quite emphatically.
Well, that's a first.
Maybe, that's why ticket sales were so brisk at the theatre on a Wednesday night!
In fact, fill buffs patiently waited (for about a half-an-hour or so) in a long line that snaked down the street, with the hope of exchanging a few words with a director they obviously admired.
Mr. Herzog did not disappoint in that regard.
The affable down-to-earth spinner-of-tales stayed long after the screening to sign autographs and engage in a bit of idle chit-chat with the filmgoers.
An in-depth Q & A session prompted some meaningful dialogue, too.
"You use a lot of humor in your films. But, you are not often given credit for that. Do you feel it is important to poke fun at things," one young man was inclined to ask the film icon.
Herzog chuckled - then, without skipping a beat - thanked the lad for that.
"I'm fortified with enough philosophy that I can be funny now and then," he joked.
A bit of the industry chatter was amusing, too.
For one key scene in the "Bad Lieutenant" Herzog facilitated state-of-the-art camera equipment designed to capture unique effects.
"I used a fibre optic lens about the size of a pin head to shoot close-up on two iguanas in the foreground. Because of the way they were framed, the lizards ended up looking like Dinosaurs. Nicholas, on the other hand,looked like a miniature man in the background. The effect is great. You'll love the shot," he excitedly assured the mostly thirty-something crowd.
"At times the film is so excessively dark, it makes you want to cringe and laugh," he cackled.
"Let's say, it's a secret comedy."
Although the middle-aged auteur wasn't sure how the scripted material was going to render itself on celluloid - he pointed out that once Nicholas Cage began to inhabit his role - the natural flow of the material became fully realized.
Apparently, Cage does a bang-up job in the role.
Herzog asserted that he does his homework, too.
He noted that when Billy Wilder shot "Some Like it Hot" - the legendary director timed the dialogue - to ensure that a punchline was never lost amid the tail end of laughter from a previous joke.
Herzog followed these guidelines in the "Lieutenant".
There were many surprises in - "Encounters at the end of the World" - too.
The documentarian focused his lens on life at the bottom of the globe and research being conducted there.
"As he journeys to the South Pole, which is as far as you can get from everywhere, Werner Herzog also journeys to the prospect of man's oblivion," astutely noted Roger Ebert.
Initially, Herzog thought permission to shoot at the high-security McMurdo Research Station in the Antarctica, was beyond his reach.
However, scientists on assignment at the facility familiar with the director's stellar reputation (and wise to his projects about Penguins!) urged the curious probing filmmaker to apply for a grant.
Since his projects would never be construed as - "pure documentaries" (as he demurely put it) or legitimate "Science Films" - he was doubtful about the prospects.
With a little arm twisting, though, Herzog submitted what he laughingly referred to as a "wild" proposal for a grant.
When the grant was approved, he reeled in shock!
The visionary artist proceeded to head south and capture spell-binding footage of seals cavorting beneath the surface of the ice, among other things.
There was one big disappointment, though.
The ever-curious Herzog had to rely on others to shoot the mysterious underwater worlds he pined to lens himself because he did not have the credentials to carry out the adventurous task first hand.
"You need at least six years of diving experience," he noted sadly.
"I would have traded ten years of my life to have been able to dive in to the dark icy waters and capture the footage on film myself."
There are a number of humorous moments in the documentary, too.
At one point, the film crew trotted out to a ridge inhabited by quirky penguins, where they engaged in a spirited conversation with a scientist who had researched the habits of the black & white creatures for the past twenty years.
"Are there any gay penguins?" Herzog asked the scientist point blank.
The scientist - who was obviously taken aback by the unexpected question - paused for a moment to collect himself; then, cautiously replied.
"Well, there are misidentities."
When the remark didn't appear to set just right, he slowly elaborated.
"Well, I have seen triangular relationships.
By that, he meant trysts that consisted of two males and one female in the scenario.
Then, as he got into the spirit of the conversation, he confessed there may be a bit of prostitution going down in the penguin community, too.
For example, an alert female may notice that a lone male has lots of rocks squirreled away.
So, the nervy creature initially saunters over to the male nest with the intention of scoffing up one or two.
"The female ends up being submissive to the male. But, the main purpose of the interaction, was to get the rocks she needed for her nest."
"Encounters" also does a reveal on a handful of the workers Herzog crossed paths with on his own spiritual quest.
"I did not want to approach the talks like they were TV interviews. I wanted the subjects to discuss their thoughts, their hopes, and their dreams naturally."
On those occasions, he treaded lightly.
"You must be able to instinctively establish a rapport quickly. It's important to be able to read into a man's heart."
In "Encounters", he accomplished that admirably.
And, in the process, revealed his own.
An Ingrid Bergman quotes appears to be appropriate here.
"No form of art goes beyond ordinary consciousness as film does, straight to our emotions, deep into the twilight of the soul."
Bad Boy Val Kilmer also stars in "Bad"...
In reviewing "Lars and the Real Girl", one critic referred to the project as a love story, but the assessment is misleading.
Through the grapevine, you probably got a whiff of the synopsis for the film.
A shy young man - played expertly by Ryan Gosling - falls in love with an anatomically correct doll he mail-orders from the Internet.
Then, Lars proceeds to introduce the young lady - Bianca - to family and a circle of friends and co-workers as his girlfriend.
Early on, as the story quickly unfolds, it's apparent that Gosling's character is using the "dummy" to bridge an inadequacy while maintaining a grip on reality at the same time.
For example, in spite of the fact the whole idea of a love affair with a manufactured doll seems way out in left field, Gosling's charming character quickly conjures up a support system to protect his imaginary little world.
For example, he quickly figures into the scenario a "wheelchair" to get Bianca around; after all, in the inner-most recesses of his mind, it's obvious that a non-living companion without flesh and blood, cannot walk.
Here, we have the opportunity to glimpse the fascinating machinations of the mind - and witness what its complex reasoning and problem-solving skills are capable of - in the most awkward and unusual circumstances.
This is undoubtedly due to the fact that writer - Nancy Oliver - wrote an insightful compelling script which was just awarded a Humanitas Prize this past week (shared with Ronald Harwood of "The Diving Bell) which honored her for "exploring the human condition and revealing common humanity".
Indeed, the subject matter is handled with good taste and surprising sensitivity; for instance, the segments where Bianca becomes ill resonate deeply and are thought-provoking, at best.
In fact, the tale turns down an intriguing path at this juncture in the film.
A local physician (also a psychologist) treats Bianca under the guise that Lars' companion is the focus of medical care- when, in fact - the "wise old owl" is using the occasion to surreptitiously observe her true patient, Lars.
The functional role is played with understated simplicity by Patricia Clarkson, who turns in an affecting crisp performance, which is right on the money.
The town's people are in on the "skinny" and treat Bianca like a real person.
Initially, the townsfolk react in a classic way: in disgust, with surprise, and full of curiosity!
It stretches one's credulity a bit, though, to imagine that in a small red-neck town - the guys would warm up to the idea and forgo on any taunting of Lars about what appears to be a "fetish", though.
In one humorous moment, one stud retorts:
"Heh, a woman that doesn't talk back, I want one!"
Of course, if you think that the message is that women are expendable: wrong!
In the closing scenes, the underlying theme is underscored, quite explicitly.
There is no substitute for the real thing!
Hence, the title, "Lars and the Real Girl".
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
A couple of weeks ago when the trailers started up for "The Women" at the local movie theaters, I sat up and took notice when clips of Meg Ryan flashed across the screen.
The little charmer looked fabulous!
'Ya know, when women hit a certain age, it's tough hiding the ravages of time from the glare of the searing camera lens.
Not so, with Meggie, though!
Eat crow, Russell!
As I waited for a battalion of ushers to waft through the theatre and scoff up the last remnants of trash tossed aside by lazy movie buffs the night I was taking in "Home Alone", a gaggle of young women sashayed out with wide smiles on their faces after taking in the comedy, "The Women".
When I quizzed 'em about the new theatrical release, the response was unanimous.
Apparently, the film was a delight!
Adapted from the play by Clare Boothe Luce, "The Women" follows the spoiled lives of a handful of wealthy Manhattan women, and their trials and tribulations.
In particular, the plot focuses one of the main characters - who appears to have it all - until she learns of her husband's infidelity by way of a spiteful young shop girl who is jealous of her.
The well-rounded cast includes star turns by Meg Ryan, Annette Bening, and Candice Bergen.
Old-time favorites Bette Midler, Cloris Leachman, and Carrie Fisher round out the cast in cameo roles they inhabit with delicious gusto!
I'm not inclined to take in the Diane English comedy; but, I expect it's a great popcorn-pleaser for girl's night out, eh?
This Sunday, the 60th Annual Emmy Awards will be broadcast on ABC.
There are a number of new changes this year, sure to get viewers hopped-up over the Sunday Night extravaganza.
For starters, there will be five co-hosts.
The Academy gets more for their money, I guess!
Heidi Klum will obviously pretty up the stage in a flurry of exotic make-up, elegant jewellery, and designer silks draped about her luscious bod.
Sure to get the hearts pounding at home, at least!
Other celebs throwing in their two cents worth on stage the big night include - metrosexual Tom Bergeron (Dancing with the Stars), actor Jebb Probst (Survivor), ubiquitous TV personality Ryan Seacrest (American Idol), and game-show officiando Howie Mandell (Deal or No Deal).
Among them, they must be able to rustle up a guffaw or two!
In addition, there will be flashes of nostalgia, sure to tear an eye.
For instance, the network is asking that viewers tune in and vote online for the ten best all-time moments from dramas and comedies, in a segment that pays tribute to the medium.
Emmy winners are determined by Judges who watch DVD screeners - and vote in accordance with their perception of excellence - in advance of the telecast.
Curb Your Enthusiasm, Entourage, The Office, 30 Rock, and Two and a half Men, nabbed slots in the best comedy show category.
For oustanding drama series, the nominees are Boston Legal, Damages, Mad Men, Lost, House, Damages, and Dexter.
Sorry to be impartial, but go Dexter!
Prior to the broadcast, there will be a gaggle of glittering pre-Emmy shows, vying for middle America's undivided attention.
Locally, one of the faves is - "Live from the Emmys" - on KTLA (Channel 5) and capably hosted by Sam Rubin (insightful critic), Jessica Holmes (Canuck Comic), and Laurie Pike (fashion analyst).
West Hollywood's trendiest watering hole - The Abbey - will be tossing its annual "Christmas in September" fundraiser to rustle up much-needed toys for the Children's Hospital of Los Angeles.
Bring along an unwrapped toy.
As you sip on an exotic cocktail, thrill to a live performance by sexy siren Candis Cayne.
Whisper your Christmas wishes in the ear of Santa as you sit in his sexy lap!
Sounds by DJ Marco.
See 'ya there!
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
As Kiera Knightley hob-nobs with the show-business elite at the Toronto International Film Festival this week, fans anxiously await the much-anticipated opening of her new theatrical release at the end of the week.
"The Duchess" is a lush period piece.
And, judging by the previews, it's going to do boffo box office!
The stunning actress - who turns heads when she saunters into a room - is pretty much down-to-earth.
If you're to believe the press clips, that is.
She's apparently quick-witted.
And, according to reports, swears like a sailor!
"Keira has great clarity as a person (and is) amazingly open for her age," her co-star Ralph Fiennes assures the curious.
Knightley has no qualms about revealing to an interviewer, for instance, that she may have forgotten to shave her legs that day.
She doesn't make any bones about the fact she may be a bit sloppy, too.
For example, it is wholly possible that when she gobbles down a plate of scrumptuous food, a handful of it may spill all over her designer duds.
Ah, my kind of gal!
Needless to say, the delightful actress probably kept the fussy wardrobe designer on the set of the "The Duchess", on pins and needles the whole duration.
The rising young star plays the intriguing - "Georgiana Spencer".
The Duchess of Devonshire was a sort-of 18th-century "it girl" who languished in an unhappy marriage.
In the historical drama, Knightley dons eye-popping headgear and a myriad of spectacular silky frocks.
"High heels are bad enough. I don't think you need a corset and wigs, as well," she says.
"The wigs were the problem. They were big like birdcages. The hats were sewn onto the tops of them. And the whole thing was glued to my head, pinned in. I had neck aches. I literally couldn't hold the thing up. So they built me a stand so I could rest the whole lot on."
"The costumes, I saw them more like an armor than anything else," Knightley says.
"She creates the person she wants to be. As it gets worse and worse and worse, the (costumes) get bigger and the wigs get wider."
Ralph Fiennes plays the Duke who complicates her life with demands for a male heir her unhealthy organs are unable to produce.
In spite of this plot line, Kiera and Ralph are not featured in any intimate love-making scenes on the silver screen.
Sorry 'bout that, Ralph!
Allegedly, Kiera draws a line between business and her own real life, too.
For instance, she rarely discusses her boyfriend (Rupert Friend) and won't even confirm she has one.
Knightley - headlining in the big-budget epic - earned a best-actress Oscar nomination for her riveting characterization of "Elizabeth Bennet" in the feature film - "Pride & Prejudice".
To many, Kiera is best-known for kicking up her skirts in three of the hilarious "Pirates of the Caribbean" features she co-starred in, with charismatic Johnny Depp and sexy newcomer Orlando Bloom.
Film buffs have also raved about her magnetic performance in more serious films, such as "Atonement", for instance.
Upcoming releases to look forward to include a Dylan Thomas drama - "Edge of Love" - which was scripted by her real-life mother Sharman Macdonald.
Monday, September 15, 2008
When I first saw the trailer for "Burn After Reading" last week, it struck me right off-the-bat that Brad Pitt's acting appeared to be stilted and that he was miscast in his role as a trainer at a local gym.
But, I reserved judgment on his performance, until I took in the feature last night at the Grove in Hollywood.
Well, the verdict is out.
Pitt's wooden performance was so off-the-mark, that it forced me to consider the possibility that a couple of plum acting assignments that he carried off in the past, were outright flukes.
For starters, his external approach to the characterization was all wrong.
In fact, the acting choices he made in "Burn", were of the amateurish kind that inexperienced actors (who don't know much better) engage in the first-time-out the starter's gate.
Brad, the character should "bubble" up from inside to the surface.
Not the other way 'round.
I surmise that part of the problem was due to fact that neither Pitt or the director bothered to research all the particulars part 'n parcel to the locale.
You'd think that a guy with chiseled abs and a muscled bod would have an inkling about what goes on in a professional gym. Or, at least an idea about what a trainer's thought processes are, while going through the paces with a client at a work-out facility.
In "Burn", however, Brad futzes about with a lot of silly schtick that simply doesn't work because it is not grounded in truth.
In a review for US Magazine, Bradly Jacobs was quick to rave.
"Brad Pitt gets big laughs."
Not in the theater environs I was shifting uncomfortably in.
In fact - I am inclined to surmise that a couple of critics must have gotten some payola or something from the producers to boost up the black comedy - 'cause their reviews were way off, too.
For example, Ben Lyons opined,
"A hilarious comedy from an all-star ensemble cast."
Hilarious? No, not by any stretch of the old funny bone.
In fact, when the audience filed out after the abrupt screwball ending, there was a noticeable silence among the throngs.
Yeah, me-thinks many theatre-goers were under the distinct impression that they got "burned", alright.
The ensemble cast?
Well, at times it appeared they all had a touch of "burnitis".
Frances McDormand (usually a competent actress) got pulled-down a notch or two in her scenes with Pitt, for instance.
And, it appeared for all-the-world, that George Clooney couldn't fathom which way or that his character should go.
Although Clooney demonstrated his ability to subtly shade a character in the past - in award-winning roles - it boggles the sensibilities to encounter him trying to pin down a part on screen that should have been a snap for the talented seasoned pro.
Even, Ellen Chenoweth managed to miss the mark, when she cast a handful of supporting players in roles they weren't suited for from the get-go.
There was one noteable exception, though.
John Malkovich was all fire and spit. Single-handed, the skilled thespian not only underscored what good acting is all about, but - in the process - triumphantly stole the film out from under the rest of the high-profile performers.
In fact, in "Burn After Reading", Malkovich is a one-man tour-de-force.
Even still, he couldn't save the producers from disaster.
The script was poorly written, after all. And, the direction, pedestrian.
At times, "Burn" struggled to achieve that Fargo off-the-wall correctness.
But, none of the magic of that earlier Coen Brother classic, materialized on the silver screen.
I could go on and on.
Rotten Tomatoes has been reporting favorable reviews.
And, there was a flurry of ticket sales over the weekend, which enthused an industry that has been languishing in the doldrums of late.
But, I expect that once the "word of mouth" is out about this little "stinker", audiences will - as Samuel Goldwyn would have quipped - stay away in droves.
In this tough economy, who wants to waste 12 bucks on a dismal night of lousy entertainment that leaves a bad taste in the mouth?
A few die-hard Coen fans, at most, I expect!
Over the past couple of weeks, I noted that a smattering of articles posted about Michael Phelps on my blogs, have racked up a staggering number of hits.
The fan frenzy, in the wake of his astounding unprecedented wins at the Beijing Olympics, underscores just how popular the Olympic Gold Medalist remains both here and abroad!
But, now there is a new phenomenon unfolding.
Some admirers are trying to actually reach out and communicate their thoughts to their role model.
In absence of a physical address to reach Michael at, I guess, a few fans have opted to post notes for the Olympic Champion at my blog site at wordpress.
If you happen to read this post, take note.
You've got mail at: www.julian1st.wordpress.com
Sunday, September 14, 2008
In these parts, it causes some to shake their heads, when they end up in an argument with another gay person about their curious decision to vote Republican this fall.
After all - to many in the homosexual community - being gay and a republican is a bit of a misnomer!
Many feel that the republicans have unjustly voted nay on pro-gay issues in the past.
But - some have a convoluted notion that they can change the party from the "inside" - given half the chance.
Maybe they have something there, if Palin's conduct of late is any indication.
Although the VP hopeful is on the record as being anti-gay - in respect to gay marriage and benefits for partners - she appeared to be a bit reticent about expressing those views (or any negative comments about gays) during her interview with Charles Gibson the other night on ABC News.
In fact, when Palin was asked outright about one gay issue, she stumbled for words.
"I don't know," she responded hesitantly.
Gee, I wonder if Palin ran smack dab into a handful of those smart well-heeled homosexuals firmly ensconced in the Republican Log Cabin on Capitol Hill - and after mixing and mingling a smidgen - is inclined to have some doubts?
After all - once you've met a few upscale Queens, Sarah, you'll find they aren't half-bad.
Or just maybe, the VP hopeful is inclined to follow the dictates of an old adage, now that she is rubbing shoulders with a gaggle of rainbow republicans in Washington, D.C.?
It goes something like this.
Don't sh** where you sleep!
One for the gay republicans on the "hill".
Todd, that's his beard 'ya know...
Brad Pitt was seen ducking in a back door of a Theatre at the Toronto International Film Festival when he attended a screening of the new Coen Brothers' feature film "Burn After Reading".
Was the studly film star trying to avoid the paparazzi, the fans, or the movie critics?
Festival Posters have become collectable!