Chic-Flick Trailers

Monday, February 23, 2009

The Oscar 2009 Wrap-up: The Academy loves the chic-flick and says "The Musical is back!"

For all of you who want the chic-flick back, I promise that this is my Academy wrap-up. Please feel free to give me your opinions about what you enjoyed and didn't enjoy or if you even considered watching it, in the comments section.

4.5/5 BABY!: How excited was I, that all my predictions were spot on, if you count my half prediction for Sean Penn. Even if you don't, it is still pretty good. Now that I look back on
it, I really should have known. The Academy loves the minorities and I'm sure wanted to express their support for gay marriage. I really wanted to kick myself after. Though, I will say that this was a fairly easy year to predict, so I'm a little lucky. Congratulations to all the winners!

Best Dressed: Shockingly enough, Miley Cyrus. There were some incredible dresses all round but she had great hair and jewelery to match. I was way impressed! Also some shout outs to Nicole Kidman, Penelope Cruz and Taraji P. Henson who all looked stunning.

Shock moment: No, it wasn't Ben Stiller as a certain "retired" actor during Cinematography (way inappropriate) or Jack Black's dig at DreamWorks (bitter much
?) or even the amount of times they showed James Franco and Sean Penn making out (yes, we get it, you homo-loving sons of guns), it was the In Memoriam montage that featured greats like Anthony Minghella, Sydney Pollack and one of my favourites, Paul Newman, but didn't feature one of the night's winners. Where was Heath Ledger's picture? Where was his chance to, yes for a second time, to get an applause and be recognized not only for his work as the Joker but for other roles? Shocking, indeed.'
note: I realized after this post that they featured Ledger in the 2008 award show because he died in January of that year. This year featured people who died from March 2008-February 2009, I'm assuming. I am still mad about it though!

Tribute to the Musical: Once again, luck is on my side. I think it's fate that I recently decided to dedicate a post to, as, host, Hugh Jackman sang, "The Musical is back!". But I known people will complain because The Oscars is not The Tonys and maybe they shouldn't have tried to be. What do you really expect though? Jackman is a many-time Tony host and a theatre-man so really, what else could he have done other than sing and dance? Make fun of Brangelina so more? I loved the show as a whole: the pacing was better than usual, the performances were interesting and the sets were a feast for the eyes. I was also really impressed by the organization; the process of making a film gave the awards and presenters a new twist and the genre montages were so much fun. Everyone must watch The Comedy Montage, it may have been the best, non-award winning, moment of the night. Also check out MSN Movies version of the night's best and worst moments.

Chic-Flick Moment: What a personal, heart-warming and chick flick like way to present awards to the nominated actors! My mom and I were gushing about it the whole night. Shirley MacClaine made Anne Hathaway cry
, Kevin Kline saluted the late Heath Ledger and Sir Ben Kingsley gave a Oscar-worthy tribute to Mickey Rourke. What a great year to be nominated!
Not only was Edward Cullen...uhmm, sorry I mean, Robert Pattinson a presenter, but he introduced the chic-flick moment of the night along with musical-girl Amanda Seyfried: The Romance Montage. This moment inspired the wrap-up post because, take a breath everyone, The Academy is acknowledging chic-flicks. I say chic-flicks and not chick flicks because, if you saw it you would notice the quality of the films that were chosen (mostly Oscar winners or nominees and then promotion for other 2008 and 2009 movies). It may have been my favourite moment of the night.

Do Chic-Flicks get nominated?: Obviously not all. But take a look at this year's nominees and winners: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button is a love story that spans over time and is made to touch the hearts of us all. Plus you cry your eyes out and isn't that what skeptics say girly movies are? Or even The Reader, which at first seems like a basic World War II film, but essentially tells the story of love affair between two unlikely people and the effects of it afterwards. You can also look at the big winner, Slumdog Millionaire; a movie about a kid who really only wants to see the girl he loves again. I say the rules are about the same as any other genre; comedies and action flicks are just not going to cut it (Dark Knight, anyone?), no matter what kind, and if there is enough drama to call it a Drama that it just might have a chance. Throw in a heavyweight director and similar actors and you might just have yourself a winner!

FUN FIND: For those wondering about The Academy Rules, there is definitely more. I, myself, came up with two or three more just watching last night's show. For another take, check out the gallery-accompanied, How to Win an Oscar from MSN.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

The 2009 Oscar Predictions of a Chic-Flicker: The Frenzy starts 7pm EST on ABC!

This is the second part to my Oscar frenzy. I'm sure you are all excited and even though it's a little last minute I thought, what better way to keep my predictions going, than divulge my hopes and predictions for the Oscars? There have been some really interesting movies nominated and while I haven't had the pleasure of seeing every single one, I think some of my predictions have merit. Keep in mind The Academy Rules from my first Oscar post. I'll be borrowing the style of who will win versus who should win based on some of my Academy Award knowledge, experience and preference.

And finally to the predictions....

Best Supporting Actress
Who should win: I think this may be the most even grounded playing field. The movies aren't outrageously popular and neither are the performances. Each of these actors have mostly been overshadowed by other performances in the films. I think Amy Adams, nominated for Doubt, is fantastic, but I would of rather have seen her win for the incredibly unlikely Enchanted.

Who will win: There seems to be some in favour for Penelope Cruz for Vicky Christina Barcelona but she of course suffers from rule #6. Marisa Tomei from The Wrestler is also predicted, but is already a winner even though there is some controversy over her first award that seemed to be a result of rule #7. Also Taraji P. Henson for The Curious Case of Benjamin Button and Viola Davis for Doubt have been predicted but suffer from rule #2. I think it might be Cruz's year.

Best Actress

Who won't win: Melissa Leo for Frozen River for the same reasons as Jenkins and Langella in the Leading Man category. I'm sure she's a fabulous actress but I just don't see it happening. Also, Angelina Jolie because she is already a winner, the Brad Pitt reasons and the fact that the public was even shocked by her nomination for Changeling. She just might be our rule #7 but there are other possibilities out there as well.

Who should win: This is a strange scenario because before Kate Winslet won both the Supporting and Leading Actress Golden Globes people couldn't stop talking about Anne Hathway in Rachel Getting Married. I thought this was very exciting because someone unexpected might be the big award winner this year. But now I'm not so sure it'll be this one because of rule #2.

Who will win: Some people say Meryll Streep for Doubt and some say Winslet for The Reader. But I am still holding out hope for Hathaway. Honestly though, I know it will be Kate Winslet, because she is not a winner yet and has accumulated quite a few nominations over the years. She's really one of my favourites and has been deserving to win for quite a while. She is the example of rule #4. I'm almost positive it'll be her year because Meryll Streep is a phenomenon with over a dozen nominations and a few wins. They can't give it to her every year even if she is the greatest living actress.

Best Actor

Who won't win: I think Brad Pitt was pretty incredible in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. The poor guy gets so much flack for being pretty that people seem to ignore how good of an actor he is; because of that and rule #2, he will not win this award. I think he's also too popular in the world right now to win because there seems to be a separation between Hollywood and The Academy. Most unfortunately, this movie was not completely accepted by critics and audiences. I also don't think Frank Langella in Frost/Nixon or Richard Jenkins in The Visitor have a shot in hell because they are not well known enough and neither were their movies. It's sad because it doesn't mean they weren't fabulous, just that they have been overshadowed by other things than performance.

Who should win: Sean Penn for Milk. I haven't even seen it and I'm about 99.9% sure. He's has never been bad in anything and the guy just seems to be better than a lot of other people, a lot of the time; but because of rule #3, I'm not sure he will. The Academy is known for not liking him, since he tends not to show up even if he's nominated. He also doesn't promote his movies a lot and gets in trouble with the law. People also thought he had been jipped for years until he won in 2003.

Who will win: I honestly think it's between Penn and
Mickey Rourke, who made a stunning comeback in The Wrestler. But because of rule #2, I'm not completely confident in his win either. His case is a little different because he is an older actor who has always been respected for great performances. He also won the Golden Globe, which doesn't exactly mean he's a shoe-in, but definitely gives a little perspective. I am also worried about rule #4 from reviews that solely focus on his performance and not so much on the movie itself. Ebert predicts Penn but wants Rourke to win. We'll just have to wait and see.

Best Supporting Actor

Who won't win: Most likely Philip Seymour Hoffman because he has won recently and people seem to be picking Meryll Streep for Doubt instead. Michael Shannon for Revolutionary Road just fades into the background. Unfortunately Robert Downey Jr. for Tropic Thunder, even though he astounded me and everyone else. People were shocked by his nomination and though he deserves to win, he won't because it's a Ben Stiller comedy. If he does win, it might just be the greatest thing ever! This is a great category, in which I am very invested, with very worthy nominees.

Who should win:
This is the one category where I believe my emotional and my logical choices are the same(check out Ebert). It has to be Heath Ledger and if it's not I'm gonna be really mad about it. He literally blew my mind in The Dark Night and I don't think it matters how good everyone else is, because he was so unique. The public and critics also made a big fuss over the lack of nominations for the movie, especially Best Picture, so they have to give them something. The critics believe his only competition is Josh Brolin for Milk who, as far as I'm concerned, can wait until next year.

Who will win: The unfortunate thing is that the reason Heath will mostly likely win is because he died. It is his second nomination and his last chance to win and if the Academy wants to please the public and look like nice people, they will give the award to his family. It's sad because it shouldn't be about that. He was incredible and that's why he should win. They would be risking a bad response if they chose this award to be their rule #7. But if they do, it should be Downey!

Best Picture

Who won't win: As films in general, none of Milk, The Reader or Frost/Nixon seem to be big favourites. These movies seem to be respected mostly for the performances and not so much for every other aspect of film. I believe any of these choices would be worthy candidates.

Who should win: As much as the predictions are pretty much unanimous, I was still blown away by The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. There was not one bad performance in the bunch and it had one of my favourite and the greatest actresses of all time, Cate Blanchett. I was disappointed that she wasn't nominated this year but she has quite a few nominations and a statue to her name. But in this case who will will is probably who should.

Who will win: Everyone seems to say Slumdog Millionaire and I agree. It's a really fantastic film and it's great that it was so small, with such a little budget and that it grew to be loved by so many people. It's also amazing that an foreign film is being recognized as one of the greats. But I will say my emotional choice is Benjamin who stole my heart.

For more information and some other predictions check out Ebert's discussion of a guy who does it all by numbers, Moviefone's predictions by photo gallery, The Guardian's Film Blog picks, Jay Stone's CanWest thoughts, and just about every other movie site or critic you can think of. Basically I want to say that, don't think it's bull when the nominees say "It's really an honour just to be nominated" because I'm sure most of them mean it. They know just as well as you and I that the award is not always given to the best actress or best director of the year because ultimately, the award is voted on by human beings. People with preference and bias and opinion that cloud the whole event. So I say they all win because they get to go, hear their name aloud next to the word's best and show a small clip of their movie to one of the biggest audiences of the year. I can't really blame the Academy because I think they are so many best films, actors, directors, etc. They gotta decide somehow.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

And the Oscar goes to...not exactly who you might think

This is not exactly in the chick flick area but the night of the 81st Academy Awards is the most important movie night of the year, so I think dedicating a post or two to it makes sense. Expect some of my Oscar predictions in the next post, but I thought the reasoning behind my predictions might be better understood if I explained my understanding of the Academy. I'm no expert but I do have some strong opinions, facts and tidbits to share about what I think these awards are really about.

The Academy Rules:

1. Just because a actor should win doesn't mean that he or she will win. The Oscars are all based on politics. Shocking, I know. This is the reason for the "Who should win versus Who will win" list that is used by many a reviewer and critic.

2. It is unlikely for an actor to win an award with his or her first nomination. For example, Johnny Depp was nominated for Pirates of the Caribbean (2003) and did possibly the most incredible performance of his career. Instead it went to Sean Penn in Mystic River (2003), one of the most amazing actors of this age, but he also had three nominations under his belt. It was just not Johnny's time to win and now that he has three nominations under his belt, his time may be coming. It may also had to do with the fact that it was a Disney film where he played a comedic character, which does not gain points with the ever-so-serious loving academy. It wasn't that Penn's performance wasn't good enough to win; it was, but it is not all that counts in the votes.

3. It is unlikely for an actor to win if they have won the previous year. One of the most heartbreaking examples that had me, at 15, screaming in shock at the television was when Russell Crowe was robbed by Denzel Washington. This is difficult for me to talk about because it is a definite rant topic. Russel Crowe didn't win for his mind-blowing performance in A Beautiful Mind (2001), because he had won the year before for Gladiator (2000). This brings me to my next rule.

4. When an actor has been nominated many times, they like to eventually give them an award even if someone else deserves it more. Denzel Washington had been nominated four times before and because he is such a loved actor, people believed he was jipped by the Academy. He had previously won for Supporting Actor in Glory (1989) but the two categories do not seem to overlap. This also leads to the next thing I know.

5. There is known to be certain themes in the kinds of recipients that recieve the awards in a certain year or in general. The year Denzel won, so did Halle Berry for Monster's Ball, the first African-American woman to win for Best Leading Actress, as well as being the year that Sidney Portier won the Honourary Award. These people are incredible actors but it seems like the Academy was trying to make a statement more so than celebrate great work. It is also known that the Academy seems to award beautiful women who make themselves uglier: Halle Berry in Moster's Ball (2001), Nicole Kidman in The Hours (2002), and Charlize Theron in Monster (2003).

. It is less likely that someone will will for a lone nomination. Basically, someone is less likely to win if they are the only good thing about the film and if it is not-so good and you just happen to be fantastic in it, it still makes you look bad by association. I think this might have also happened to Depp in 2003.

7. The Academy usually likes to surprise the audience with an unlikely winner just to shake up the show. So many predictions are made by reviewers and critics that it seems that just to make the show interesting they have to give the audience something unexpected. Some may think this is cruel to say but you can just wait and see. People thought that last year's Best Actress winner was going to be Ellen Page in Juno, which would have been well deserved, but she suffered from rule #2. Instead Marion Cotillard was the shocker for La Vie en Rose. There are a few possibilities for those this year as well.

All of this being said, I have stayed up
to watch them every year since I fell in love with movies and will continue to do so until something catastrophic happens and my brain is rewired to change the way I am.

Coming up next are the Oscar predictions...

Monday, February 16, 2009

THE MUSICAL: Rob Marshall's Chicago! Give em' the old razzle dazzle...

The second wave in Musical Mania (check out the 2000 era and the musical renaissance) started with the first popular and successful musical in two decades, Evita starring Madonna and Antonio Banderas. Building on this success was Baz Lurhman's Moulin Rouge in 2001, which received two Oscars and eight nominations including Best Picture and Best Actress, Nicole Kidman. I think it was the critical acclaim with the audience response that sent the studios in a musical overload that included The Phantom of the Opera (2004), The Producers (2005), Rent (2005), Dream Girls (2006), Sweeney Todd (2007), Hairspray (2007) and Mamma Mia! (2008), all of which were commercial successes. The growing popularity of the movie musical spread to "made for TV" movies in the 1990's and even reality shows during the writer's strike. And I say, thank god for that, because it just happens to be one of my favourite things in life! Watch out for Nine coming in November this years as well as Wicked in 2010, says IMDB. There have also been rumours that Elton John's Aida will also be coming to theatres, so it looks like the movie musical lives on!

Another award winning musical was Chicago (2002), with thirteen nominations and and six wins including Best Picture, the first musical to win it since Oliver (1968) and Best Supporting Actress, Catherine Zeta-Jones. It turns out she started in theatre as a singer and dancer and is absolutely fantastic. Who knew? Oscar nominated Director and choreographer Rob Marshall is a theatre man himself, and it shows in the film. He is best known for another award-winner, Memoirs of a Geisha, and other musical credits include Annie for TV in 1999 and the forthcoming, Nine. He is definitely a director and choreographer that I would see a movie for. There is something extra special about a director who is dancer/choreographer for a movie that is completely reliant upon that. Renee Zellweger received her second Oscar nomination for this movie and was a newbie in singing and dancing. She, of course, stunned us all as, if not a great dancer, a really great singer. She continued singing in movies like Down With Love, with Moulin Rouge star, Ewan McGregor, and Appaloosa (2008). Some directors have chosen non-singers and dancers for their movie musicals and it has mostly been to the detriment of the movie, but it is also been an advantage to find new, hidden talent.

The story is a pretty typical musical storyline with a twist. It takes on a young girl, Roxie Hart, who wants to be a vaudeville star like the lead characters in 42nd Street, Gypsy and other early musicals. It was written by Maurine Watkins, a journalist who covered murders and wittily twisted the mu
rder stories of murderesses to gain sympathy from the public. Two murderesses who were jazz performers caught Watkins eyes and were the basis for the character of Roxie Hart and Velma Kelly in Chicago. The stories were very popular and she eventually started to write plays including Chicago. There were many stage and film versions and finally the rights were bought by Bob Fosse and he turned it into a musical in 1975. The film does something brilliant that won Rob Marshall the job; Roxie is a big dreamer who yearns for the stage so her perceptions of life are seen through the musical sequences. They are all performed onstage which gives the movie a real theatre-going experience.

Yahoo! Movies has equal ratings between viewers and critics and for the four reviewers who graded this movie under and A-, Oscar night must have been surprising for them. My man Ebert understands my tastes again when he says this movie is "big, brassy fun" and focuses on the talent of Marshall, Zeta-Jones and Zellweger. He says the focus on the cynicism and musical numbers is appropriate over the personal stories. It showcases the worst parts of the human psyche in a really fun way. Everyone is capable or bad behaviour and it is better if you accept it than to be unaware of it. What I really love about this film is that there is no love story. Zellweger or Zeta-Jones do not have some creepy lingering romance with Richard Gere's Billy Flynn, the robbing lawyer. And how weird would that have been in a satire of celebrity and murder? Zellweger and husband, Reilly also don't have any romantic moments. Even action and horror flicks have a random romantic storyline but I guess we have to chalk it up to the good ol' days when people knew how to write a real crowd-pleaser.

Favourite quotes: "You know some guys just can't hold their arsenic." - Annie, "And then he ran into my knife, he ran into my knife ten times." - June, "I don't mean to toot my own horn, but if Jesus Christ lived in Chicago today, and he had come to me and he had five thousand dollars, let's just say things would have turned out differently." -Billy Flynn, "They'd love you a lot more if you were hanged. You know why? Because it would sell more papers... That's Chicago." -Billy Flynn, "In this town, murder's a form of entertainment." -Matron Mamma Morton, "And then I started foolin' around... and then I started screwin' around, which is foolin' around without dinner." - Roxie Hart
Chemistry level: 6/5. For lack of a romantic plot the chemistry between the actors is through the roof. But it's a different kind of chemistry; everyone is mostly afraid of each other or really hates the others guts.
Best musical number: My favourite musical numbers are also, I believe, the best in the production. The Cell Block Tango features the stories and some confessions of the marry murderesses of Murderess row. The choreography is perfect, the performances are skilled and eerie, and the production design and costumes are gorgeous. It is a visual and aural feast. Neck-in-neck with that is We Both Reached for the Gun, where you "notice how [Billy Flynn's] mouth never moves...almost". Set on a stage with puppets and some puppet choreography, Zelleger as a Betty Boop look-a-like and Gere as the puppet master. The commentary is made visual, the song is fun and complex and the set and costumes are vibrant and unique and it all comes together is one of the most fun numbers in the film.
Best Performance: While Zellweger and Zeta-Jones are true stars, John C. Reilly really stole the show for me. He have me serious chills during his solo, Mr. Cellophane. He is really the only good guy in the entire story and does not gain from it. I wish Reilly would pick better roles because I really believe he is a fantastic actor who could win an Oscar next time round. I also have to mention, Queen Latifah, who is frightening and fabulous as Matron Mama Morton.
Moral issues: Now I'm sure some of you are questioning the extreme feminism in this movie and rightly so. But that's exactly what it is, extreme feminism in a time where women were first starting to take back their own power against abusive husbands and sexism. It is a perfect revenge fantasy against the physical power men have over women and while it is not always justified it also doesn't condone murder. It is a satire of the media and depicts the truth of the time when criminals were glamourized as celebrities. So if you don't judge too quick, I promise you will see the absolute brilliance of this movie. This is a fabulous chic-flick because remember, morality isn't on my list of requirements.
Great surprises: This may be the only movie where I have liked Richard Gere. I know most of you chic-flickers are probably thinking, but what about Pretty Woman? To this I say, I will not break your hearts and explain my absolute indifference to such a popular film, though I still don't know why. What I will say is that he is a good singer with perfect chops for a movie set in the 1920's. And I really respect him for learning to tap dance in five months and did a good job. But I still think it's a tease to know that it could have been Hugh Jackman or John Travolta. Also watch out for some great appearance by veteran stage actors, Taye Diggs and Christine Baranski as well as Canadian actor, Colm Feore.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Love is in the air with awards and movie madness

I was absolutely floored to find out that Vanessa (TheMovieNess) over at The World According to Ness awarded me the Superior Scribbler Award.

1. Name five other Superior Scribblers to receive this award.
2. Link to the author and name of the blog that gave you the award.
3. Display the award on your blog with this LINK which explains the award.
4. Click on the award at the bottom of the link and add your name to the bottom of the list.
5. Post the rules.

I am new to the blogging world but will pass on this award to a few new blogs that are starting out really well: Lady Paige Turner, Just Chick Flicks, The Edge of Your Seat, It's Not Pizza and The Flick Chick. Congrats everyone!

VALENTINE'S MOVIE MADNESS: And for any fans of the Lifetime network, the week of Valentine's Day is dedicated to chick flicks galore with happy and fatal endings in their movie event.

Monday, February 9, 2009

THE ROMANTIC COMEDY: How to Lose A Guy in 10 Days! It's a battle of the rom-coms, who will make the grade?

Now, what you all have been waiting for...The Romantic Comedy! This is the most standard of chick flicks and, sadly, where they get their bad name. Not all of them, of course, but a nice handful that might include: Catch and Release, Must Love Dogs, America's Sweethearts, Alex and Emma, and Autumn in New York and those are just off the top of my head. The romantic comedy has become what tabloids are to news world; completely without merit. But let's focus on the good, shall we? I'm sure there will be plenty of time to focus on the bad. These movies can range from extreme comedy and a little romance (like 50 First Dates and Forgetting Sarah Marshall) to mostly romance and a little comedy (like Kate and Leopold and Sweet Home Alabama). Many comedians are cast in these films and praised for coming out of their comfort zones (see Will Ferrell in Bewitched, Adam Sandler in The Wedding Singer, Robin Williams in License to Wed and Ben Stiller in There's Something About Mary). These comedians are paired with America's sweethearts like Meg Ryan (with Billy Crystal in When Harry Met Sally), Julia Roberts, Sandra Bullock, Renee Zellweger and Reese Witherspoon.

The newest queen of the rom-com is Kate Hudson and her best rom-com by far is 2003's
How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days. When I told people that I was working on the rom-com, this is the movie that stuck out. This is, believe it or not, a good film. It takes on a battle of the sexes theme where Andie Anderson (Hudson) is an ambitious magazine columnist who aspires to be a serious journalist (you know, politics, religion, foreign affairs) but who must commit to her present "How-to-girl" position at the fastest growing women's magazine, Composure. She is really charming, funny, smart, and is such a good friend to poor Michelle, who just can seem to stay in a relationship. Michelle, who is brilliantly played by Kathryn Hahn, is really fresh and interesting even though her character is sad and pathetic. It's also really refreshing to see your lead actress as the wiser, consoling best friend who isn't so wrapped up in her love life that she risks her career to wallow. Bebe Neuwirth plays Andie's boss, who is an abomination to womankind. The horrific stereotype of a big city, magazine editor is a minor setback in an otherwise decent film

Benjamin Berry(charismatic Matthew McConaughey) is Andie as a man; an advertising representative that wants to branch out from booze and sportswear to a more high-class medium, maybe the feminine realm of diamonds.
It's interesting to see the gender stereotypes played against men when Ben's boss (Robert Klein) picks two women to take on the diamond account while Ben must fight for his right as a professional. These two instances in Andie and Ben's work environments create the plot. I guess what I liked about these characters is that they aspire to do something more substantial with their careers. It actually reminds me of the purpose of my blog.

Ebert unfortunately seemed to take the premise of this movie a little too seriously and did not share my respect for people trying to get ahead in their careers. His opinion is understandable when we situate the plot in real life, a characteristic of his reviews, but while bets can be mean I don't think that makes this movie heartless. Some other critics that give fair reviews are The Cincinnati Enquirer, The New York Times, and The San Francisco Chronicle. What I really like about this one is that it continually makes fun of itself the entire way through. One of my favourite scenes is the Chick Flick Marathon that features the biggest, most macho looking guy beating up Ben because he interrupted his viewing of Sleepless in Seattle.
The movie is made up of a juxtaposition of the stereotypical masculine and feminine from Celine Dion concerts to boy's poker night. This works really well with the bet/work experiment storyline because they are constantly driving each other crazy. So while appreciating the choices made I also have a really fun time watching them. All in all there are definite problems with this film that are rooted in the problems of the genre, but if you get a good one, you can be sure you're in for a laugh and some fun!

Favourite quotes
: Another make-fun-of-itself moment with one of the cheesiest pick-up lines there is. "100 times more beautiful than 100 roses!"-Michelle, "He's in advertising, he can't help himself"-Andie
Watch the first half: If you aren't sure about watching this one than I suggest watching the first half. The ending is obvious so no need to worry about closure and the first half is a lot more compelling than the second based on the plot setup, character interaction and lack of angsty, weepy revelations that can bring down an otherwise upbeat movie.
Chemistry level: 6/5. If the movie sucked, the chemistry between Hudson and McConaughey might just save it. A pair of smart producers tried to bank on it again in Fool's Gold but I guess magic only happens once.
Best Performance
: Katherine Hahn steals every scene she is in, definitely when she poses as a couple's therapist, but Kate Hudson is the best I've seen her since Almost Famous. She is the perfect insane, over-the-top girlfriend who must inspire women who watch it to pay closer attention to their relationship habits.
Misconstrued messages: While I honestly believe that this movie is goodhearted in its intent I did notice how a few messages could be taken the wrong way. Based on the plot resolution one might notice that if you wait long enough, the guy who dumped you for being too clingy will come back to you. As well as if you wait, your girlfriend will get less crazy and your boyfriend will do anything possible to save your relationship, no matter how premature. Another good one is, if your relationship is failing go meet the family because that will save it. And last but not least, I'm sure Ebert would approve, it's okay to take advantage of people to get ahead in your career.

List of Rom-Com Requirements
The catchphrase: A repeated phrase or word, for example bullsh*t, to create the perfect, symbolic moment between the characters at the end of the movie.
The chase scene: When someone chases someone before they leave town, maybe by motorcycle on a bridge. Isn't that what cellphones are for?
Reveal: A recurring location of a black tie event where an ignorant party reveals all the secrets that causes a dramatic exit.
Parallel lives: Ben has two friends and so does Andie. Andie's are female and Ben's are male. They both give advice and comic relief. Andie has a female boss and Ben has a male boss. Both bosses set up the situations of the bet and the story that creates the plot. But where is Andie's family?
For more check out the video on 10 Chick Flick Cliches that can be found in this film and many others.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

THE CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE: Nancy Meyer's The Holiday! Get swept away in a new kind of romance

The rom-com is a comedy with a romantic plot, right? But while trying to fit some of the best romantic comedies into this category I had some trouble. What about movies, called rom-coms in the media and even by their filmmakers, that don't seem to fit the mold. Take movies like The Holiday, P.S I Love You, Under the Tuscan Sun and The Lake House. If you take away the romance you don' have a comedy and it wouldn't be classified as such by critics or reviewers. So what do you do with these movies that have comic elements but have just as much, or arguably more, drama? Characters are divorced or widowed, have serious relationship problems, or have been rottenly cheated on. The rom-com has usually strayed from these ideas because of the intensity revolving around their conflicts. Is there a new form of chic-flick being developed by writers and directors or is it just the progression of the common romantic comedy into a new, more complex, form? All I do know is that these movies are different and I have decided to take a note from chick lit. and call them, The Contemporary Romance.

Another difference in this meta sub-genre are the roles of the secondary characters which are fantastically represented by The Holiday's cast. Not only are the main characters more complex and better developed but the secondary characters are more integrated into the plot with complexities of their own. Eli Wallach's Arthur has his own storyline about Old Hollywood that brings warmth and a lot of fun to the entire plot. Who would have thought a storyline beyond the predictable and mostly disappointing will-they-won't-they plot? It's pure genius and if that doesn't convince you of the new road this genre is taking than I'm not sure anything will.

Unfortunately the critics didn't completely agree with me and mostly complained about why this "romantic comedy" was over the 2 hour mark. You think that would have clued them in that this wasn't what they were expecting. Unfortunately, Ebert was having health problems when this movie debuted and was not able to tell all the critics featured on Yahoo! Movies that they have no idea what they're talking about. But I digress. What I really respect about this new development is that it is creating the Breakfast at Tiffany's and Roman Holiday's of our generation. Women can recognize and relate to a positive portrayal of a romantic storyline. All of the "in the olden days" and "when I was young" will no longer be the place we go for a decent story to sweep us away; it is now being explored in our own century giving women hope in their own, current love lives. I might call movies like these romantic dramas, but I realized I couldn't because, for some reason, dramas can't seem to have a happy ending, especially romantic ones.

Some surprises are from, usually, one of my least favourite actresses,
Cameron Diaz. I'm sure you'll understand at the very beginning of this movie but don't let that discourage you. As the movie progresses, so does she. By the end she even has one pretty great scene in her limo before she goes gallivanting back to the English cottage, with a dramatic soundtrack behind her. Jack Black, an unusual leading man as Miles, is funny but in a mild, subtle sort of way that we have never seen before. He is just the nicest guy around who isn't treated the same. This different kind of leading man doesn't disappoint. Jude Law is perfection (and probably the most beautiful I have ever seen him). He seems like a player but stay tuned for an interesting development in his character Graham, that gives him real depth. This movie takes its leading men very seriously and thank god for that!

The biggest difference is the quality of the writing; it is just better than the mostly underachieving rom-coms. Nancy Meyer, writer, director and producer, is fantastic, bringing witty dialogue, interesting characters and original plots to the table. And the best thing about better writing is the quality of actors that become interested in these projects. I know I might still be battling with the skeptics, so chew on this: Hilary Swank (two-time Oscar winner), Kathy Bates (Oscar winner), Kate Winslet (multiple Oscar nominee), Jude Law (Oscar nominee), Diane Lane (Oscar nominee), Sandra Oh (Emmy nominee and Golden Globe winner) and Edward Burns (multiple award winning director and writer). I give all the credit to this new, improved and overall better genre to the writers who challenge themselves to make better films.

Other people agree: I will prove I am not the only one who believes a separate genre must be created for these movies. Check out comments from fearabdloathing155 and djagoon on the IMDB boards.
Best independent woman moment: Poor Iris makes some serious mistakes in her love life and is lured into a twisted, self-destructive relationship with evil Jasper Bloom (
Rufus Sewell). It's true, she's smart, talented and independent woman, so why is this happening to her? But there is justice, and man is it sweet!
Best love story: Iris and Arthur. What's wonderful about Winslet's storyline is that half of her love story is with a man who makes her fall back in love with herself. Arthur teaches her
gumption which opens her up for a love story with Miles. It's a give and take relationship and she also gives him the opportunity to experience something that has been a long time coming.
Best performance: Kate Winslet as Iris, who borders on pathetic in her love life but always seems to stay empathetic. She doesn't shy away from her characters complexities but embraces them her performance is better for it. Even though there were moments when I wanted to slap her, mostly I just wanted to give her a hug. Keep an eye out for her best scene as she pours her heart out to Miles after she sees a bit of herself in him.
Chemistry level: 5/5. I believed it all. Even the first and only scene between brother and sister, Iris and Graham, was completely natural. Especially well done to Black and Winslet for creating a subtle chemistry between their characters.
Setting the Mood: The music, including the score, soundtrack and Black's piano improvisations, really stands out. It adds to what I believe is the "take-you-away" factor. The setting was stunning in both ideal locations: the English countryside and upscale Hollywood L.A. What more could a girl want. An interestingly, there are no cops, doctors or lawyers in this cast. Meyer's must know the way to movie-goers hearts by creating characters with different and interesting careers. Check out the "Amanda trailers" in the film featuring the voice of the movie-trailer guy (the guy who voices, if not all, then most of the trailers in Hollywood).

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Which Flicks of 2009 will make the cut?: Predictions for the New Chic-Flicks

Have you noticed how production companies ring in the New Year? They invade the theatre with chick flicks in the form of the ever popular, Romantic Comedy (a.k.a rom-com). Stay tuned for a blog next week of a review and break down of this sub-genre. Get ready everybody, because it's all about the Valentine's season. So what better time is there to start my predictions for potential chic-flicks of 2009? I haven't seen any of these movies and base my opinions on reviews and other media and promotion. Without further adieu:

Bride Wars: Released January 9th, there was only one passing review grade from Yahoo! and quite a few flowery comments from the others. The reviews state and confirm what I suspected, that this movie lacks substance and integrity (again you must check out Ebert, it is cruel and to the point). This is a wedding movie that goes too far as to suggest that a woman's wedding is more important that her relationship with her best friend and there isn't anything funny about it. This is a Sisterhood Flick headed for the isles of the Mean Girl Movie. An interesting tidbit by critics was the lack of involvement by the fianc├ęs of Anne Hathaway's Emma and Kate Hudson's Liv. It is disappointing to see great actresses choose such shallow work that doesn't display their talent. I will try to keep an open mind and hope for the best, but will mostly stick to other chic-flicks like Ella Enchanted and How To Lose a Guy in 10 Days starring these actresses.
Yahoo! Movies Average Critic Grade: C-
Average User Grade:
Rotten Tomatoes Average Critic Meter: 3.5/10
Average User Meter: 5.2/10

New in Town: Released in on Friday, January 30th, it has already gotten the mediocre star grade from critics. Ebert's review criticizes its lack of originality. The most positive reviews say that Connick Jr. and Zellweger are fun to watch but the writing falls into boring predictability. I think this movie has some potential based on the snippets of quirky towns people and slapstick comedy featured in the trailer. The ending is easy to figure out but the journey might be fun! Renee Zellweger is an Academy Award winning actress and was in such great chic-flicks as Jerry Maguire but great actresses make these mistakes often. I'm interested in seeing Harry Connick Jr. who can be so quirky and cute, like in other great chic-flicks like P.S I Love You, and seems perfectly cast amongst the small-town characters.
Yahoo! Movies Average Critic Grade: C-
Average User Grade:
Rotten Tomatoes Meter Average Critic Meter: 3.9/10
Average User Meter:

He's Just Not That Into You: Opening February 6th, is an ensemble piece with a star-studded cast that has been widely promoted. Based on the self-help guide for women who can't seem to understand men who won't return their phone calls. The trailer seems to promote the intentions of the book which has potential for characters with integrity and substance. The story is unpredictable for many reasons, the simplest being that there is an uneven amount of characters who are all interconnected in the storyline. Ginnifer Goodwin, Scarlet Johansson and one of my favourite actresses, Jennifer Connelly are the bright spots in the cast that I look forward to watching. If I was to choose the flick with the most potential to be chic, it would be this one.

Confessions of a Shopaholic: Opening February 13th it is just in time for Valentine's Day. A movie to distract every single girl from romance to the next best! I hope my sarcasm is obvious. Once again, this falls into the same stereotypes as Bride Wars, that women can be occupied with frivolous pretty things long enough for a man comes along to save them from their lack of depth. The trailer is very cute and does give me some hope that it might be the exact opposite, to which I say, good luck! Isla Fisher is adorable and the books are very popular so I'm expecting it will do well at the box office. I need my movies with a little more integrity than what I've seen from this already so I hope it delivers!

All About Steve: Opening, March 6th, starring the rom-com queen, Sandra Bullock and the second appearance made by Bradley Cooper, from He's Just Not That Into You. This movie worries me solely based on the title, even though it does make sense in the trailer. I hope the movies makes it all about other characters as well. Bullock's character is an oddball, not usually seen in rom-coms, which makes me think the movie has potential for depth. This follows New in Town with it's potential because of a quirky supporting cast and slapstick humour.

Those are all the Chick-Flick season based movies out. I hope you proceed with caution as to what to see and what to wait until the DVD for. Some upcoming titles to watch out for in the Spring/Summer season are The Proposal (starring Sandra Bullock and Ryan Reynolds), The Ugly Truth (starring Katherine Heigl and Gerard Butler) and The Ghosts of Girlfriends Past (starring Jennifer Garner and Matthew McConaughey).

Featured on Yahoo Movies! watch an interesting video narrated by the men of He's Just Not that Into You.