Entries tagged with “Meryl Streep”.


Wish you were here and making the walk into heaven!

Ohmigod, this is so amazing, I’m seeing more stars than Capt. James Kirk on the bridge of the Starship Enterprise at warp speed 5.4, look over there– J Lo, you go girl– and George Clooney, love you in E.R., and there’s that tall blue lady from Avatar— you were incredible sugar, glad goodness beat evil on Pandora, oh, and there’s Meryl Streep and she’s got Sandra Bullock in a headlock and is giving her face some fist kisses, and there’s Jeff Bridges and he’s got his bathrobe with a caucasian in hand, go, Dude, abide, and here’s Katheryn Bigelow and she’s wearing a bomb suit designed by Jason Wu, absolute stunning, and over there’s her ex-hubby, James Cameron who’s being carried into the theatre on a king’s throne– nice touch with the children tossing rose petals as he whips them lightly– oh, and lookit over there, Mo’Nique wearing nothing but a feather boa and a welder’s helmet, oh, wait, is that– yes it is, look–Ken Watchons, who did some amazing grip work on Precious, and behind him is what’s her name, you know, the really beautiful woman who was in that movie about the thing that happened that one time, you know, the one that’s in color–oh, I need a paper sack, I’m hyperventilating here…

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President Jay Leno promises to get higher ratings and more sponsor support-- while having a blast!

In a surprising move, President Barack Obama will soon be replaced by comedian Jay Leno.

Obama has been contending with declining approval ratings recently, and it is hoped Leno can bring back some viewers and sponsor support.

“Jay’s a dynamo,” said Phil Westerkin, an avid TV viewer, “he’s just so funny you can’t help but like him to see what sort of wacky shenanigans he might get into. I about bust a gut every time I see him!”

Obama spokespeople expressed disappointment in the decision. “We were promised four years when we got the presidency,” said a high ranking cabinet official, “we just needed a little more time to build our audience. Our lawyers are checking the contract. We may fight it.”

Obama takes the news hard.

Leno is elated at the news of his appointment. “I’m a pretty lucky guy. I never thought I’d grow up to host the Tonight Show, and shazam, I’m hosting. I never thought I’d become president, but, here I am, President! It’s been a wild, wild ride and I think I can give the people what they want. My first week in office I’m going to book Tom Hanks, Meryl Streep, Larry the Cable Guy, Senator Harry Reid and musical guest, James Blunt. It’ll be great.”

Obama is rumored to be talking to both Fox and ABC about new shows, possibly being teamed with Conan O’Brien.

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Julie & Julia meet Inglourious Basterds. One movie features Nazis, the other Beef Bourguignon. One has sadistic scenes, and to stay engaged with the other can be a sadistic challenge at times.

The movie falls flatter than a one egg souffle.

The movie falls flatter than a one egg souffle.

I’d heard good things about Julie & Julia, and I always liked watching Julia Child on TV cooking some complex recipe mere mortals would never attempt. So, I walked into the theatre with great expectations. Exiting the theatre, my expectations were crushed like a one egg souffle. Julie & Julia didn’t deliver for me.

Yes, Meryl is phenomenal as Julia, but Meryl is always terrific and this performance is more impersonation than character creation. Stanley Tucci brings a nice performance as Julia’s hubby and Jane Lynch steals every scene as Julia’s sister. But, the story of making a French cookbook for English speaking people is hardly interesting and rarely entertaining.

NOW, gently fold that story in with another story about a frustrated writer who cooks the entire Child cookbook over a one year span and blogs about it, and well, you have an odd stew of a film.

Julie is played by Amy Adams, who is usually fun to watch. Her character here is an insecure narcissist in an apron. She’s married to a milquetoasty guy played by Chris Messina who is supportive but frustrated by the blogging project. Wah wah wah.

The movie written and directed by Nora Ephron, usually a gifted writer. The screenplay was based on two separate books, Julia’s memoirs from 1949 and Julie’s book of recent time recounting her blogging project. But just because the subject matter is common to both, the flavors do not belong together. This movie is like vanilla and vinegar. A disappointment, a bad taste. Pity.

Now let’s cleanse our palates with a sorbet of Basterds.

Well, now look what QT's got cooking this time around...

Now look what QT's got cooking this time around...

Like the Coen Brothers, Quentin Tarantino makes films you have to see for no other reason than to get his unique perspective on whatever the film’s about. This time it’s about Nazis and a history re-write with a band of Jewish American soldiers (Inglourious Basterds) giving the goosesteppers what-for behind enemy lines. Even ol’ Adolf gets his comeuppance.

Like any Tarantino film, the dialogue is terrific in developing memorable characters as plotlines intertwine like origami figures. Like any Tarantino film, there’s tension built to keep your eyes riveted to the screen, followed by hyper-violence that begs you to look away. Like any Tarantino film, it is a celebration of film genres, movie magic, cinematography and interesting camerawork.

Yes, it’s chatty at times, but with Tarantino dialogue you won’t mind. Brad Pitt is wonderful as the Tennessee Basterd leader, Lt. Aldo Raine. He lays on a southern accent thick as cold molasses on dog fur. The powerhouse performance comes from Austrian actor Christoph Waltz as Col. Hans Landa. Waltz may be shaking hands with Oscar for this gem.

While not Tarantino’s best film, the Basterds are worth spending some time with and will give you plenty of images to replay for a long time afterwards.

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Anne Hathaway wore eau de mothballs...

Penelope Cruz wore eau de mothballs...

    Hollywood was stunned, shocked and bedazzled with the many surprises that strolled along the red carpet prior to the 2009 Academy Awards Ceremonies.

     Penelope Cruz couldn’t afford a new dress so she wore some old number that had the faint scent of mothballs and pipe tobacco. She won an Oscar for her acting in Vicky Cristina Barcelona and to goose her future salary so she can afford a new garment some day soon.

    Angelina Jolie looked simply ravishing in some sort of stitched fabric device she called a gown, while hubby Brad Pitt sported a backless yellow chiffon number that rode high on the thigh. He also sported some Jimmy Choo pumps that were like totally not sensible.

    Marisa Tormei wore pumps. Just pumps. And a pole.

    Kate Winslet wore a blue bathrobe with cute duckie slippers. She apologized for having overslept saying her alarm clock is on the fritz and she’s hitting Target soon for a new one. She has her heart set on one with a built-in radio!

    Meryl Streep wore a gray dress that was a bit more fashionable than the black habit she sported in Doubt, but frankly she commanded much more respect in the nun get-up.

    Anne Hathaway showed up in jeans and a sweatshirt, said she forgot the shindig was formal and ran home to quickly change.

    Amy Adams wore red. A very pretty red, not too light or too dark, just lots of really red red.

    Melissa Leo wore a stunning dress but was turned away by security guards. She explained she was nominated for Actress in a Leading Role, but it was no use. She was bounced.

    Christian Bale showed up with fists balled and began shouting a string of profanities. He was looking for Shane Hurlbut, a director of photography, who he said was ruining “every shot in my whole f****** life!” A police SWAT force tagged him with tranquilizers and hauled him away.

   One final note. You think these Hollywood types are so glamorous and refined, but that red carpet was filthy after this herd of wild animals tracked their dirty hoofs across it. And I swear, someone spilled cheap red wine on the red carpet and that stain will never come out! I’ve tried club soda, salt, commercial cleaners– nothing works!

    Thanks, celebrities, thanks a lot!

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    Before the stars begin traipsing down the red carpet, The Lint Screen proudly predicts who will clutch statues of golden glory and who will grasp fistfuls of disappointment and heartache.

Hollywood's catnip, yummiliciousness!

Hollywood's catnip, yummiliciousness!

    Let’s get straight to the biggie–best picture: and the winner will be Slumdog Millionaire. A tough, tough call. I saw all the nominees except Frost/Nixon, but I don’t think it’s going to win since Dick Nixon was never much of a box office draw (he was more of a behind the scenes guy).

    Stiff competition with the other pictures though. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button was a spectacular film, but will be remembered more for seamless special effects than anything else.

    Milk was an amazing character study and acting tour de force for Sean Penn and Josh Brolin. But, we knew the story before sitting down. Not enough mystery to satisfy our insatiable curiosity.

    Then there was The Reader. Fresh, interesting story, great acting, directing, everything. But a little too too for an Oscar handshake. Too much of a downer.

    Which leaves us with Slumdog. This film had it all: exotic and mysterious locale (India), incredible storytelling in a non-linear and ever-poke-the-ol’-curiosity-way, terrific performances, romance, game show, good versus evil (Chuck Dickens would be proud), visually stunning, poo humor, Bollywood dance number, captivating music, etc. It’s the entire package. A fresh film from a fresh place Hollywood hasn’t yet exploited. Oh, and it was done by Brits. Hollywood is totally Anglophile, I say… it finds all things English to be quite brilliant. Yep, Slumdog is an Oscar lock.

    For leading actress, it’s a fight between Meryl Streep in Doubt and Kate Winslet in The Reader. My money’s on Meryl and her rosary beads. She sent shivers up the spines of any child who ever had a nun as a teacher (a performance so authentic, I had red imprints on my sweaty palms from phantom slaps of the ruler). Then again, Kate is British, so I could be wrong. I just hope it isn’t Anne Hathaway in Rachel Getting Married, an over-hyped soap opera of self-indulgent shaky cam. It was a movie that made every minute seem like five. 

    For leading actor, it’s Sean Penn versus Mickey Rourke as heavyweight contenders. I have to say Mickey was pretty incredible as a washed-up wrestler, but I didn’t feel his playing a has-been on the ropes was much of a stretch for him as an actor. As for Sean Penn, his was an incredible performance of becoming Harvey Milk. Penn continues to amaze as he transforms himself into varied roles. I think this will be his second handshake with Mr. O. Then again, Hollywood loves the Rocky-style actor comeback plotline, too. If Mickey were British, it’d be an easier pick. But I’m betting Penn, the dark horse.

    In supporting actress, it’s a tough call. Could be Amy Adams in Doubt. Could be Viola Davis in Doubt (a relatively short time on film. but a legendary performance). Could be Marisa Tormei for baring darn near everything including her soul in The Wrestler. But wait, Marisa’s got an Oscar and we need a surprise pick. My money’s on Viola Davis. A long shot, I know, but I’m tossing the dice. 

It's tough to beat death.

It's tough to beat death.

For supporting actor, go with Heath Ledger. Nothing aids fame quite like death. Ledger was terrific, he did some of the best tongue acting of all time, and he certainly caused many people to fear pencils. It’s too bad he’ll be the walkaway winner because there were great competitors with John Brolin in Milk, Philip Seymour Hoffman in Doubt, and Robert Downey, Jr. in Tropic Thunder. But, it’s all Heath, babes. Too bad he won’t be there to get the gold man.

    For directing, Slumdog will win. Danny Boyle has a fresh eye, and it’s a brave film with wonderful performances. My quibble with it: too many Dutch angle shots, Danny-boy-o. They drive me nuts, like strong perfume in an elevator. Dutch angles try too hard. I think David Fincher deserves the award because Benjamin Button was a phenomenal story that required tons of special effects and pitch perfect performances, yet he pulled it all off in a perfectly natural way. A real magician’s trick and artistic touch. But, it’s the year of Slumdog. Hey, man, it is written.

    In best adapted screenplay, the winner is (oh, these envelopes are so hard to get open),  Simon Beaufoy for Slumdog Millionaire. No argument here, it’s a terrific tale well told. Well written. Can I milk this gag any more? Doubtful.

    For best original screenplay, give a little fellow to Martin McDonagh for In Bruges. No, I didn’t see all the nominees, but I did love this screenplay and movie.

    As for the other categories, well, I’ve got to go with Tony Smidlagg for Best Best Boy. I’ve always said “he’s the best.”

    Enjoy the show. Make your picks. Ciao, babe, I’ll be poolside at The Beverly Hills Hotel…

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    Ah, the classic Christmas movies: “Miracle on 34th Street”, “White Christmas”, “It’s A Wonderful Life”, “A Christmas Story”… our family watched none of these on Christmas eve.

   We watched “The Deer Hunter” instead.

   The movie had come from Netflix well over a month ago and had been lazily sitting in the basement; a 3-hour monster lurking in its envelope. The time had come to unleash the beast.

   I was the only one in our family who had seen it, but it was so long ago that the memories of it were more a fog than concrete images. I did sort of recall the film was pretty intense. As I watched it, I thought maybe I hadn’t seen the entire film. Maybe I’d just seen chunks of it.

Where's Jimmy Stewart when you need him?

"The Deer Hunter" is a bit more intense than "It's A Wonderful Life"

      This was the film that made director Michael Cimino red hot. His next film was the legendary bomb “Heaven’s Gate” that cooled his career down quickly. “The Deer Hunter” was released in 1979 and won five Oscars, including best picture. 

     It’s a pretty terrific film, albeit one that could use some major pruning. “The Deer Hunter” is slow to develop. Scenes linger, linger, then linger a little longer. A mood is set, relationships are established, plot points are planted, but it all could be done tighter, would be done tighter if it were made today.

    This is a buddy film, a war film, a love story, a coming of age tale, a think piece, a tragic tale. Hmm, maybe it does take three hours to do all that.

    Most of the alleged Western Pennsylvania steel mill scenes (where the buddies live and work) were shot in northeastern Ohio, where I’m from. The Youngstown, Steubenville, Cleveland area do an excellent job playing Western PA. They’re as authentic as cold Rolling Rocks on a beaten bar. However, the scenes of “The Deer Hunter” tracking bucks with his rifle do not fare so well. The alleged Pennsylvania mountains are overplayed by the grandiose vistas of Washington state. Come on Washington state mountains, dress it down a bit–– the Pennsylvania mountains are not that beautiriffic. 

    I won’t get into the story except to say some pals from the steel mills enlist to fight in Viet Nam. It does not go well. Lives are forever changed. War is indeed hell.

    If you haven’t seen “The Deer Hunter”, check it out. Classic performances from Di Nero, John Cazale (what a mug on that guy, the quintessential character actor), John Savage, Christopher Walken (before he developed his odd speaking inflections) and Meryl Streep. 

    No, it won’t become a Christmas tradition to watch it in our house, but it does get the Netflix envelope back into the mail.

   Merry merry and happy happy to all.

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