WEIRDLAND: February 2008

Friday, February 29, 2008

Reese and T.V.

Reese Witherspoon watches TV all day
"It sounds like she pretty much watches television all day, because she said she watches a little of The Today Show, a little Good Morning America, then she catches The View, then Regis & Kelly, then soaps, also Martha Stewart’s show. She said she loves crafting and that she watches Martha Stewart for that, but that she flips the channel a lot. She also likes Project Runway and Amazing Race, and said she has a male friend who is going on Amazing Race who is a writer who she does yoga with.
Reese said her worst auditions were when people put her down personally, and said things like “you’re not pretty enough,” or “smart enough,” or “tall enough.” Then Jay told the story of his worst audition, where he had to wait 2 hours for the casting agent to tell him that they were looking for a Woody Allen lookalike and he didn’t fit the bill. That was the most interesting part of this interview, considering that Reese didn’t tell any cute stories other than the fact that she watches TV constantly. As an Internet addict, I can’t relate". Source: Celebitchy.com

S.F.W. SO FUCKING WHAT VIDEO

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Add Natalie and Jena to the L-fantasies

"In an interesting topic for an interview, actress Natalie Portman said that she wouldn’t be averse to embarking on a lesbian relationship, for the simple reason that she doesn’t want to disconnect herself from half of the world population. The “V For Vendetta” star said that she doesn’t understand why anyone would want to rule out half of the people out there, simply based on sex. "Why would you close yourself off from 50 per cent of people,” Contactmusic quoted Portman, as saying.

Portman continued, “I’ve never dated a woman or anything like it, but I think it’s much more about the person you fall in love with.” Source: celebrity-gossip.net
"Jena Malone, an actress who has appeared in such movies as Saved, Donnie Darko, The Dangerous Lives of Alter Boys, Life as a House, Stepmom, and Bastard Out of Carolina, was raised by two moms until she was ten. Malone says she is close to her large extended family, which includes four brothers and two sisters. In her own words, “I had two loving parents. Love in any shape or form is a beautiful thing". Source: www.mountainmeadow.orgJena got the acting bug from her mother, who performed in community theater productions. After her mother’s lesbian roommate was arrested for drug possession, Jena convinced her to move to Los Angeles, where it would be easier for her to find work as an actress".Source: www.alfy.com

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Lesbian Fantasies

EVAN RACHEL WOOD.
"I'm not a lesbian, but I don't think it's weird or gross or anything. I wouldn't go so far as to say that I'm bisexual - I don't sleep with women. But I definitely appreciate women and there have been times where I have been attracted to a woman," she told the magazine". Source: gossip.about.com
ELLEN PAGE -GAY ICON?
"Jack and Diane, two teenage lesbians, meet in New York City and spend the night kissing ferociously. Diane’s charming innocence quickly begins to open Jack’s tough skinned heart. But, when Jack discovers that Diane is leaving the country in a week she tries to push her away. Diane must struggle to keep their love alive while hiding the secret that her newly awakened sexual desire occasionally turns her into a werewolf". Source: www.filmsalt.com"Olivia go on to talk more about why this isn't in anyway an actual werewolf movie. Contrary to the way that it's described, it's more of a relationship drama. It just falls into the category of "lesbian werewolf movie" because that's the simplest way to identify it amongst other indie dramas". Source: www.firstshowing.net"Juno actress Ellen Page is more than a new favorite amongst indie-film geeks, she is now number one on the lesbian I’d-Tap-That list. The quirky twenty-year old is talented, feminist, and a flannel shirt and skinny jeans wearer, which translates into lesbian dreamboat. [...] Gay or straight, Page’s on-screen charisma would make anyone a little hot under the collar".

Source: Popisdead.wordpress.com
"In theory - ie most teenagers' filthy minds - both Lindsay Lohan and Keira Knightley have a history of being a bit lesbian-y; after all, Lindsay Lohan once did a sexy poledance with Kate Moss and Keira Knightley once got naked with Scarlett Johansson. [...] The film is about famous Welsh poet Dylan Thomas and his wife, Caitlin, and was written by Keira's mother, Sharman Macdonald. Lindsay revealed to MTV: "Keira is older than me, but she kind of has a mysterious relationship with my lover and there's somewhat of a lesbian undertone." Oh. It's a lesbian film about a poet. Bor-ing. It's probably going to be full of really sad sex scenes, too, where Keira Knightley will shed a solitary symbolic tear as Lindsay Lohan undresses her, before the camera cuts away to a 35-minute montage of meadows just as they start to get filthy with each other. We know that sort of film all too well, having been fooled by them umpteen times throughout our lives. Well we won't be fooled again, and we certainly won't be sneaking downstairs after our parents have gone to sleep when the Keira Knightley/ Lindsay Lohan lesbian film gets shown by Channel 4 at midnight in a few years time. Source: Hecklerspray.com"Former publicist Jonathan Jaxson wrote in his blog at jonathanjaxson.blogspot.com: "Lindsay actually has always been quite open. Maybe she was tired of the boys and that is why she decided to spice it up with BFF (best friend forever) Samantha Ronson". Source: Femalefirst.co.uk
"Angelina Jolie claims she is so satisfied with her partner Brad Pitt that she is giving up women and kinky sex."I have never hidden my bisexuality," she told France's Public magazine. "But since I've been with Brad, I abandoned women. Now there is no room for that or S&M in my life." However, model Jenny Shimizu, Jolie's former lesbian lover, doesn't think even Brad Pitt can tame Jolie's lesbian libido for too long."She loves danger and dabbling in the dark side," Shimizu, 40, told Britain's News of the World. "Angelina is an unbelievable lesbian lover. That's where she gets her kicks - not playing happy families with one man." But Public magazine quoted Jolie as saying she is still very happy with Pitt because he believes in her. "He lets me talk to whomever I want," she said. "He has complete blind faith in me." Jolie had a steamy long-term lesbian relationship with model Jenny Shimizu, whom she met on the set of the 1996 flick "Foxfire." Source: www.news.com.au

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Unlikely lesbian fantasies

Here’s an unlikely lesbian fantasy: Christina Ricci and Reese Witherspoon. I’ve never written a post on either of them, but seeing them together is like some kind of weird science experiment; they both have the same shaped head.
They’re like aliens from another planet, and I just want to probe them a little longer.
Source: www.Hollywoodtuna.com

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Oscar Winners

Ethan and Joel Cohen won Oscars for Best Achievement in directing, Best Adapted screenplay and Best Motion Picture: "No Country for old men".Daniel Day Lewis won the Oscar for Best Lead Actor in "There will be blood".Javier Bardem won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor in "No country for Old Men".Marion Cotillard won an Oscar for Best Lead Actress in "La Vie en Rose".Tilda Swinton won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress in "Michael Clayton".Diablo Cody won the Oscar for Best Original Screenplay in "Juno".

Oscars 2008 Red Carpet

James McAvoy.Marion Cotillard.Diablo Cody.Ellen Page.Jennifer Garner.Johnny Depp.Cameron Diaz.Anne Hathaway.Hillary Swank.Katherine Heigl.Helen Mirren.
Forest Whitaker.Saoirse Ronan.

23rd Independent Spirit Awards

LIST OF WINNERS:

BEST FEATURE
Juno
Producers: Lianne Halfon, John Malkovich, Mason Novick, Russell Smith

BEST DIRECTOR
Julian Schnabel, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly

BEST FIRST FEATURE
The Lookout, Director: Scott Frank
Producers: Roger Birnbaum, Gary Barber, Laurence Mark, Walter Parkes

JOHN CASSAVETES AWARD
August Evening, Writer/Director: Chris Eska
Producers: Connie Hill, Jason Wehling

BEST SCREENPLAY
Tamara Jenkins, The Savages

BEST FIRST SCREENPLAY
Diablo Cody, Juno

BEST FEMALE LEAD
Ellen Page, Juno

BEST MALE LEAD
Philip Seymour Hoffman, The Savages

BEST SUPPORTING FEMALE
Cate Blanchett, I'm Not There

BEST SUPPORTING MALE
Chiwetel Ejiofor, Talk To Me

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY
Janusz Kaminski, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly

BEST DOCUMENTARY
Crazy Love, Director: Dan Klores

BEST FOREIGN FILM
Once, Director: John Carney (Ireland)

ROBERT ALTMAN AWARD
I'm Not There, Director: Todd Haynes
Casting Director: Laura Rosenthal
Ensemble Cast: Christian Bale, Cate Blanchett, Marcus Carl Franklin, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Bruce Greenwood, Richard Gere, Heath Ledger, Ben Whishaw

IFC/ACURA SOMEONE TO WATCH AWARD
Ramin Bahrani, Chop Shop

TRUER THAT FICTION AWARDS
The Unforseen, Director: Laura Dunn

PIAGET PRODUCERS AWARD
Neil Kopp, Paranoid Park and Old Joy

Saturday, February 23, 2008

"Zodiac" snubbed by Oscars

"No surprise, and absolutely proper: Roger Deakins for shooting both "No Country for Old Men" and "The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford" (though I hope they don't cancel each other out). But nothing for "Zodiac"? At the very least it should have received a nomination for its amazing visual effects. But unless you've seen the Director's Cut DVD (or some Digital Domain clips on YouTube) you probably wouldn't have known they were effects. That's how good they are".

Looking at the odds, "Atonement" is an unlikely best picture because its director (Joe Wright) wasn't nominated. "Michael Clayton" and "Juno" lack an editing nomination, which (statistically speaking) is crucial to winning the top prize. On the other hand, "Michael Clayton" is honored in three acting categories, for George Clooney, Tom Wilkinson and Tilda Swinton -- and guess which branch of the Academy is the biggest? "No Country for Old Men" didn't claim a lead acting slot, perhaps because it's an ensemble piece. If you go strictly by statistically significant nominations, only "There Will Be Blood" has 'em all -- an old-fashioned Hollywood epic built around a big performance (by a previous Oscar winner). But will its unremittingly bleak nihilism (and the bizarre ending that alienated even some admirers) prove too bitter for Academy voters? -Jim Emerson. Source: Blogs.suntimes.com
"The academy has traditionally been resistant to genre films, which is the only reason I can fathom for the snubbing of "Zodiac" in every category. David Fincher's mesmerizing drama about the obsessive search for the true-life serial killer who terrorized San Francisco in the late '60s and early '70s made many a critic's top 10 list but didn't receive one nomination. Talk about a killer!" Source: Moviesfilter.spaces.live.com
Cinematography --

"Golden Door" and "Zodiac". I like Seamus McGarvey's camerawork for "Atonement," but that's about all the movie is. Starting with The Tracking Shot, the film's wallop is impurely visual. You notice and admire it all the more because none of the characters is as robust as his imagery. I'd swap that out for either of Agnes Godard's photography on "Golden Door" or Harris Savides and David Fincher's work on "Zodiac." Godard helped stage some of the most breathtaking images I've ever seen in a movie, such as hundreds of Italians aboard a boat that, as it peels away from the dock, creates a growing chasm between the passengers and their families that didn't appear to be there. The photography tells the story, not the other way around. Meanwhile, "Zodiac" makes painterly, panoramic use of digital photography. The academy seems to prefer its nominees shot on film. Their loss. In "Zodiac," the format's usual immediacy achieves a haunting scope and textural richness as indelible as the 35mm images nominee Robert Elwit captured for "There Will Be Blood". Source: www.Boston.com



Revisit my review of "Zodiac"

Friday, February 22, 2008

"Juno" and the Female Memes

"Listening to the non-stop one-liners and biting world-weary observations that come from the main character in Juno may have caused a crisis of coolness among some audience members. This 21st century antiheroine has given some people the disconcerting feeling of not "getting" her, accusing screenwriter Diablo Cody (the pen name of Brook Busey-Hunt) of having drawn Juno (played by the talented Ellen Page) as a goofy and uncontactable character.

This young woman —"avant-garde posturing mixed with a post-punk naïve spirit"— has certainly proven to grate on a lot of people's nerves, through her odd screen persona. For some cinephiles this is new proof of marketing-savvy mass entrancement, a deceitful "feel good" story that tricks us into believing in happiness ever after.

I think the film can alternatively be seen as the origin of a new female meme, a redefinition of "Peter Pan's Never Land" as "Eternal Pun and Negative Land". Ellen Page delivers another challenging performance after her previous turn as Hayley Stark in "Hard Candy" (2005), where she wore a red hooded sweatshirt —a reference to Little Red Riding Hood, one of the classic female memes.
Juno's voice introduces us to a world of teenage climes (and climaxes), unceremoniously shedding the typical image of the "klutzy" all-American doll, as Diablo Cody criticizes the Hollywood studios responsible for the sexist movie market who want to push this shallow feminine imagery on their audiences over and over. Obviously the treatment of Juno is never the usual sex symbol disguised in the prototypical girl next door cut-out who is invariably obsessed over a more important male lead character in the story. Instead, in Jason Reitman's film it's just the opposite — the central feminine character is a slacker type girl, who doesn't dress in sexy outfits or giggle in the classroom with the popular girls' clique. Juno often appears isolated, uncontrolled in her verbal puns, disheveled, and frequently pissed off, a postmodern "rebel without a cause" in grunge fashion.

Twisted and extreme slang has also become a point of displeasure for some movie-goers. I can't help but quote here what is perhaps the most polemical one: "honest to blog." As I am another scribe in the blogosphere, I think it's probably going to be the most used in our popular collective speech for a while. There are tons of more far-fetched expressions, but this one is noteworthy for being directly associated with the blogging/MySpace/Facebook generation.

Our conversations are full of clichés, of comprised, referential expressions that we pull out time and again without realising we've borrowed them from the TV and other sources of popular culture. Still, we cringe (or pretend to cringe) when we hear a big chunk of them come from the mouths of fictional characters; we feel mirrored in their banality and then these regurgitated catch phrases embarrass us. Or it's possible we get to fall in love with some of these characters only when we forget our/their limitations.

Professor Nicholas Emler is author of "The Costs and Causes of Low Self-worth", which quantifies the cost of low self-esteem:
"relatively low self-esteem is a risk factor for suicide, suicide attempts, depression, teenage pregnancy and victimisation by bullies." Emler also wrote "Adolescence and Delinquency: The Collective Management of Reputation" about psychology's reaction to deviance, attributing it to flaws or deficits in the individual's psychological make-up. "Cultural stereotypes, cinema and advertising all play their part in shaping our opinion on beauty. While in one group the majority can agree on what they find attractive, it's difficult to say why one person stands out" —Emler.And why does a girl like Juno stand out? Why would we consider her beautiful? Why would we fall in love with her? That will happen in the moment we translate the script to our own recondite fantasies. A script is always an experiment — in this case the gigantic success of Juno at the box office is a sign of a connection mainly with the U.S. public, perhaps due to their unconscious desire to resuscitate the old postcard of the American dream (although ironically the film was shot in Canada), the Capra-esque happy ending without retorting to a pinkified, Hollywoodized denouement. Jeff Tweedy (of the rock band Wilco) has said, "I think America has existed as a myth. As far as the real American dream, as far as whatever was supposed to be that real inspiration and drive behind the social experiment".

I found the gender dynamics in Juno quite fascinating. Our apparently inadvertent heroine instigates a first sexual encounter with her shy boyfriend Paulie Bleeker (Michael Cera, who played perfectly his awkward roles as Harold in the short film "Darling, Darling" and Evan in "Superbad"). She approaches Mark Loring (Jason Bateman, from Fox's "Arrested Development" sitcom) in a clumsy seductress way —Juno feels sexy in Mark's company— but the intimacy shared during their simulated prom dance is designed to leave the viewers uncomfortable, disoriented, and even feeling dirty. It's also the scene that turns the seduction game upside down and Mr. Loring suddenly becomes an entirely different man. Mark is transformed by Juno's temptation, and Mark becomes Juno's temptation. A minor third male character, a young school mate, the jock Steve Rendazo (Daniel Clark), bullies Juno although he secretly is infatuated with her.Mark represents a darker, threatening part of the male universe unknown to Juno; their aborted relationship becomes a testing of the most basic principles of her personality. Juno is confused, cries desperately inside her van, her sturdy façade collapses, her humour is gone after confrontating him. I think Juno recognizes in that moment Mark's self-alienation as her own. There is a peculiar discussions between Mark and Juno. Mark suggests the best year of rock and roll was 1993 but Juno says 1977. In the essay "Funky days are back again: Reading seventies nostalgia in the late nineties rock music" by David Sigler it's addressed too: "nostalgia for the Seventies in the late Nineties was especially the preoccupation of male artists.

[...] Janice Doane and Devon Hodges have argued that nostalgia is a predominantly male construct representing the pull of conservatism, an intrinsically "antifeminist impulse".

[...] Nineties nostalgia resists the logic of late capital and compensates for it: if 'American popular culture has become a common coin for the new globalization' then nostalgia counteracts this in that it 'demands a different currency'.

[...] Downie describes the Seventies as a golden age of innocence, discovery and naïvete that, although it has since crumbled, loosed and inmutable marriage and Henderson's 'timeless' goal upon the world".

Compare as both (Juno and Mark) speak similarly:

"So that’s cool with you, then?" (Juno asks Bleeker about her first idea of nipping the baby in the bud before it gets worse.)

"But I thought you’d be cool with this." (Mark tries to justify a separation from his wife Vanessa.)Juno's father, Mac MacGuff (J.K. Simmons) will philosophically rebuke Juno's attraction for Mark and she'll forget her idealization of him, since he isn't "the kind of person that's worth sticking with."

I didn't think of the story as intended to marginalize the male characters in any moment, despite the express devotion (and autobiographical hints: Diablo owns Juno's hamburger phone) of the script to Ellen Page's character; more the opposite, these are not unidimensional guys. Mr. MacGuff, Mark, and finally Bleeker empower and define the ultimate Juno: compassionate and funny, invincible and frail.

What I found really impressive in the film was observing the démariage of Juno's individuality from her instinctual responses during her pregnancy and the unapologetic way of refusing to articulate Juno's decision to give her baby to Vanessa Loring(Jennifer Garner, playing her best dramatic role so far). After struggling with her demons and choosing love above herself, Juno still must sacrifice her son to the replicant mom, the female who symbolizes the politically correct sweetness, the welfare state, the maternal normalization, the grand-scale morality, Vanessa. In a last defeatist gesture, Juno is also paradoxically this story's winner. The scenes at the hospital after she gives birth are especially symbolic, when Bleeker —who uses the same trashy hamburger phone— unexpectedly wins a track race but loses his son hours later. As he lies at Juno's side, the camera focuses on her striped tube socks and his muddy sportswear.
The depiction of Juno and Bleeker's love story strips away the illusion of moral conventions, ignoring the current trend of oversexed relationships, au courant overstylized romances or vulgar immersions in lusty tales. It seemed very clear that the kissing scene between Juno and Bleeker was not only affirming their love, it set them apart from the confinements of "reel": When Juno gives her best female friend Leah (Olivia Thirlby) the finger, she is giving the finger to us all. Diablo Cody conveys her "Diwali" ending like a poetic arc where the deteriorated innocence of two high school outcasts is romanticized in a supreme trick.

Quoting poet Robert Graves: "Love is a universal migraine / A bright stain on the vision / Blotting out reason.”