July 30, 2013

The Blooming of Hepburn's Calla Lilies

The calla lilies are in bloom again darling, really they are is the most famous line that Katherine Hepburn never said, although in the 1937 film Stage Door Hepburn does say quite mournfully:
The calla lilies are in bloom again. Such a strange flower, suitable to any occasion. I carried them on my wedding day, and now I place them here in memory of something that has died.

Hepburn, playing novice Terry Randall working her first part on Broadway, cues her famous line reading from Andrea Leeds (born August 14, 1914), playing celebrated yet perenially out of work Kay Hamilton who rips your soul when she reads the calla lily line for Hepburn and then ascends the stairs in her climactic scene, remembering that somewhere, somehow, I had the idea that I was a pretty good actress. Leeds snagged an Oscar nomination for her work but retired a scant two years later, living privately until her death in 1984.

July 19, 2013

Ted (2012)

If you can imagine a comedy in which overused 80s references masquerade as jokes, a romance in which Mila Kunis and Mark Wahlberg have no chemistry and a script which doesn't recognize that its story has two magical wishes (not one), you can imagine Ted, Seth McFarlane's attempt at something. If you can imagine characters having less substance than a teddy bear filled with cotton, Ryan Reynolds and Patrick Warburton as a gay couple and Norah Jones fucking, you can imagine Ted, Seth McFarlane's attempt at something. If you can imagine all this, you've got the most notable aspects of Ted, Seth McFarlane's attempt at ... oh, a first movie.

July 16, 2013

The Newsroom (2013)

I wouldn't call The Newsroom (now into Season 2) smart. The soap opera antics of the news team - Jeff Daniels, Emily Mortimer, Alison Pill and Olivia Munn (who doesn't act well) - are mundane, the dialog is based in references not character and, excepting what one might learn about how a newsroom operates, the stories are uninvolving - even though based in relevant and exciting past history. This is the first Aaron Sorkin work I've seen and I'm not impressed.

July 13, 2013

Oldboy (2003)

The 35% of Americans who want Sarah Palin back in elected office would be disgusted, appalled and threatened by the themes of Oldboy so, they will undoubtedly miss it's thought-provoking madness and violent, cringe-inducing landscapes. Director Park Chan-wook follows Oh Dae-su (magically and athletically played by Choi Min-sik) from teenager to oldboy, recounting how fifteen of those years were spent locked in a sealed studio apartment with only food and television. This simplistic extract does no justice to the film though because it is a linear telling unlike the visceral, tightly edited film itself.

July 11, 2013

Oklahoma! (1955)

This may be musical theatre sacrilege but after seeing Oklahoma! for the first time, I type meh. Most of the recognizable Rodgers and Hammerstein songs are wonderful, the Agnes DeMille dances extraordinary and Fred Zinnemann's direction sterling but I just didn't believe the dated book (including the central Laurey/Curley/Jud triangle) so I found myself losing interest as the two and a half hours wore on...and on. Shirley Jones (especially good in her film debut despite it all), Charlotte Greenwood (especially good), Gordon MacRae (good), Rod Steiger(!?) and Gloria Grahame (miscast yet quirky enough to love) kept me watching but at the end I could've said no.

July 8, 2013

Man Of Steel (2013)

My penis was very happy to have seen Man Of Steel starring the man of steel Henry Cavill. My brain, on the other hand, had to deal with the craptastic story that makes Jor-El (Russell Crowe) a hypocrite and gives the Krypton back story 45 bloated minutes of screen time in addition to another ten minutes in which ghost Jor-El retells the whole story to the adult Kal-El/Superman in the fortress of solitude. Amy Adams is fine as Lois Lane but spending two hours staring at the shirtless pics below will give you the same charge I got in the movie theatre minus the 90 decibels.

July 7, 2013

World War Z (2013)

First and foremost, World War Z is not a zombie movie but more of an international thriller with zombies. I use thriller loosely because there's not many thrills in it although the computer-generated wall-crawling zombies are decent enough. Brad Pitt and company have created a treacly family story out of Max Brooks' report so if you want to lose yourself in zombie realness, read the book instead.

July 4, 2013

Anna Nicole (2013)

Although looking more like Jenny Garth than the eponymous star, Agnes Bruckner injects empathy (and really good intoxication!) in Anna Nicole, a 2013 Lifetime biography that manages to be classy AND tawdry. Procuring the services of Martin Landau, Virginia Madsen and Cary Elwes helped round out a good ensemble as did procuring the prosthetics team that worked on Bruckner's tits - which look spectacular! Not as bad/good as Valley Of The Dolls or good/bad as Mommie, Dearest but it's watchable and involving and Anna Nicole Smith, the woman, would be proud.

July 1, 2013

The Thick Of It (2005) & Veep (2012)

The Thick Of It (season 1), a television series involving British politics, gave birth to Veep, a television series involving American politics - both created by the seemingly indestructible Armando Iannucci. With Veep (season 1/2) there is the joy of seeing Julia Louis-Dreyfus playing another semi-distasteful, pseudo-likable, nuanced, cringe-inducing character (this time the Vice President of the United States) while The Thick Of It gives a less cringe-inducing (and more milquetoast) Chris Langham (as the Minister of Social Affairs) and throws in a learning curve in British politics as well (for this American anyway). Both series are very funny with great supporting casts, vivid characters, incredible NSFW epithets and storyline similarities but I did find myself laughing harder and louder while watching Veep - which must be the Louis-Dreyfus curve.