Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Alcatraz Scheduling Update

According to TV Overmind and the current TV Guide listings, "Clarence Montgomery," the episode of Alcatraz that was preempted for the Daytona 500 this week, will air on March 12 in the show's normal 9 p.m. timeslot. Not sure yet how that will affect the other episodes that still have to air. (There's a previously scheduled two-hour block of Alcatraz next Monday, March 5.)

Kermit and Darren Criss Duet on "Rainbow Connection"

You know I have sworn off Glee, but this . . . this is adorable. I was going to embed but I cannot make the stupid E!Online video stop autoplaying. (I have successfully made other E!Online videos stop autoplaying. Why are those methods not working for this? I do not know.)

Also, if I'd known Darren would soon be in such close proximity to awesome people like Kermit and Matt Bomer, I might not have said "Nah, that's okay, let him spend time with real fans" when someone offered to introduce me last summer.

Trailer: Julian Fellowes's Titanic

This is going to have the wittiest drowning people ever, isn't it?

And another:

Is it just me or is Toby Jones in everything recently? Anyway, this will be on ABC on April 14 & 15, just in time for the 100th anniversary. Wheeee.

Morning Coffee (2/29/12)

Happy Leap Day! And snow is coming. Finally.

Hey, fans of The Good Guys and Roswell and good TV - Colin Hanks will be guest starring on Happy Endings tonight on ABC at 9:30/8:30c.

In case you missed it last night, here's my White Collar finale review. Spoilers!

Does your morning need some cute? Check out this kitten and baby deer snuggling.

You should really read Todd VanDerWerff on why fans of quality TV should stop pirating stuff and try to be slightly less entitled, spoiled brats. (Er, that last bit was my phrasing, not his.)

Ooh! New Charlotte Bronte story!

Sarah Rees Brennan says important things about adaptations in general and the casting of Lucy Liu in Elementary in particular.

How The Good Wife became the first great series about technology

It's never too early to start worrying about the TV Death Watch.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

"Judgment Day:" White Collar Finale Review (SPOILERS!)

Well. That was quite something, huh? I've had several days to think about it, and I'm still not sure what I thought. SO MANY FEELINGS! And a spoiler cut!

ABC's Revenge Oscar Promo

I loved this promo ABC showed for Revenge during the Oscars. If you missed it, take a look! And yes, Revenge is finally back tomorrow night.

10 Reasons to Watch Tonight's White Collar Finale

Season three of White Collar is coming to an end tonight - all too soon - with "Judgment Day," and it's a heck of an episode. Here are ten reasons why you should watch:
10. El gives OT3 fans the most canonical justification they've ever had.
9. Sara is completely brilliant.
8. June made me tear up.
7. Mozzie has secrets. (Of course he does.)
6. We learn a bit more about Neal's past.
5. Diana makes a choice and saves the day. (At least temporarily.)
4. There are meaningful baked goods.
3. Someone has a secret agenda. And that someone isn't necessarily Neal.
2. Peter and Neal both have to be unusually honest about their feelings and how much they've changed each other. And then Peter, especially, makes choice after choice that reinforces it: He can't go back.
1. The ending is somehow both satisfying and shocking. It's not really a cliffhanger. The cliff's gone. People talk about game-changers all the time, but this really is one. And I cannot wait to talk about it.
White Collar is on USA Network tonight at 10/9 central. And don't worry: season four starts this summer.

Morning Coffee (2/28/12)

It feels like it should be much later in the week than Tuesday by now. Doesn't it?

This Gary Oldman profile - and its publication story - are completely fascinating.

The Biggest Triumph of the 2012 Academy Awards (Seriously, see A Separation. It's incredible.)

Things Mitt Romney Loves

If you want to see a whole bunch of Dracula adaptations, this is your time.

Sad news: Jan Berenstain has died.

Novelist (and my boss) Maureen Johnson talks J.K. Rowling's new book and why the people who doubt she can write for adults should just hush.

Princess Estelle is adorable, and wearing handknits in her first pictures!

Aaaaaah! Twilight-themed engagement pictures. Terrifying.

TVLine's May Sweeps Scorecard is here!

Monday, February 27, 2012

A Note on Alcatraz (& House) Scheduling

As you may have noticed, Alcatraz and House were preempted by the rescheduled Daytona 500 today. (It was rained out yesterday.) It's not completely clear what this will do to the schedule. A few people have noted that the Fox site says Alcatraz will be on Saturday at 11, but that's a regular repeat timeslot, and the repeats are a week behind, so the one scheduled for this Saturday is the episode that aired last week. Alcatraz was supposed to have two episodes on 3/5, one each on 3/12 and 3/19, and a two-hour finale on 3/26. So . . . I have no idea what they'll end up doing with this extra episode, especially as they now have an extra House episode to fit in too. They might just leave it on Saturday 3/10, or they might push stuff back a week, or do something completely different. It might depend on whether they've already given up on the show or not.

Er, that was a very long-winded way of saying that I have no idea what's going on, but don't necessarily assume the episode that was supposed to air tonight is on this Saturday, because as of right now, it isn't. And if I do find out, I'll let you know!

Update: This tweet from the show's official account confirms that there will be two episodes next week, but that was already planned. Unclear on where the extra episode is going.

My Top Ten Favorite Oscar Looks

It wasn't that exciting a year for fashion, but between the ceremony and the after-parties, I did have some favorites... (I only listed women, because honestly, I have trouble judging the relative merits of black tuxedos.)

10. Gwyneth Paltrow is wearing a cape. And it's kind of awesome.

9. I know people generally didn't like Emma Stone's bow, but I'm going to go all-in and say she made it work.

8. Stana Katic looks lovely, and my God, look at her hair.

7. Most romantic: Penelope Cruz.

6. Katie Holmes had a similarly lovely flowing blue concept going on. Let's hope she and Penelope didn't plan that, because that would be weird.

5. Roxy Sorkin looks adorable and age-appropriate.

4. I wish the background of Lily Collins's dress were not quite so close to her skin tone, but otherwise, I LOVE this.

3. Also controversial: Natalie Portman's polka dots. But the dress is so nicely put together with the jewelry and the hair . . . I just love the overall look.

2. Jessica Chastain may have been wearing Blair Waldorf's prom dress, but she looked amazing.

1. If someone asked me to pick "prettiest person in the world," it would probably be Nina Dobrev. This dress has several elements I don't usually like, but it looks freaking amazing on her.

Morning Coffee (2/27/12)

Hello! Don't you think the work day should start late the morning after the Oscars? I'm sleepy. Ah well. This is going to be all Oscar-related rambling, as I didn't have time to come up with any links yesterday. Sorry.

First of all, E! just informed me (well, on their after-party show, which I TiVoed last night) that Sacha Baron Cohen could face battery charges for his stunt, and YES PLEASE, because he just needs to stop. But that won't actually happen, because Ryan is too nice. Sigh.

I saw The Artist Saturday night, just in time to be thoroughly underwhelmed by all its wins. I mean, it was fine, but . . . really? Ha, Matthew Lillard was just on E! talking about how sad he is that The Artist won everything. I didn't actually think The Descendants should be a big winner either, but at least he was honest in a really charming way.

"George didn't get to take home the Oscar last night, but he got to take home Stacy." Um. Yes.

They also just showed an interview with Angelina Jolie in which they asked her all sorts of stuff about Brad and she was really charming and normal-seeming and it was all pretty delightful.

E!: "Why was Vanity Fair your first stop?" Judd Apatow: "Well, we weren't really invited anywhere else."

I finally saw The Tree of Life yesterday afternoon, and actually loved it, so I'm disappointed that it was shut out. And I'm furious, though not surprised, that Tinker Tailor didn't win anything.

About the winners in general: Not surprising. When Meryl Streep winning an Oscar is the biggest surprise of the night, you know things have been pretty boring. And my preferred film won in six of the 24 categories, so that's . . . not awful, I guess?

Jesse Tyler Ferguson and his boyfriend just did an interview so adorable that it kind of made me want to watch his show. Well done!

Okay, about the fashion: it was pretty unmemorable. I'm sure I'll have more opinions after I look at a million slideshows today - and, actually, I'm seeing some really interesting pictures from the Vanity Fair party - but there wasn't much that was wildly great OR awful. That's kind of disappointing. Maybe I'll put together a best-dressed list. If you want?

Halfway through the Oscars, my mom joined Twitter. So THAT made things a little surreal, too.

Nina Dobrev is ridiculously gorgeous, and her dress was fascinating - it has a lot of elements I usually don't like, but I somehow really like it all together. MAGIC.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

My Oscar Picks

Well, I've seen 35 movies. Not bad. Here are the nominees for each category, with my pick from those nominees as well as my ideal choice, if I'd prefer something that wasn't nominated. By the way, the titles are in quotes rather than italics because that's how they are on the official site for some reason.

Actor in a Leading Role
Nominees: Demián Bichir in "A Better Life," George Clooney in "The Descendants," Jean Dujardin in "The Artist," Gary Oldman in "Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy," Brad Pitt in "Moneyball"
I've Seen: All except A Better Life.
My Pick: Oldman.
My Ideal Pick: Oldman. Seriously. He was incredible. I would have nominated Daniel Craig for Dragon Tattoo, though.

Actor in a Supporting Role
Nominees: Kenneth Branagh in "My Week with Marilyn", Jonah Hill in "Moneyball", Nick Nolte in "Warrior", Christopher Plummer in "Beginners", Max von Sydow in "Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close"
I've Seen: My Week with Marilyn, Moneyball, Beginners
My Pick: Christopher Plummer. I wasn't wild about Beginners, but he was great.
My Ideal Pick: Still Plummer, but for Dragon Tattoo, instead. Ooh, but I would have nominated Benedict Cumberbatch for Tinker Tailor, too.

Actress in a Leading Role
Nominees: Glenn Close in "Albert Nobbs", Viola Davis in "The Help", Rooney Mara in "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo", Meryl Streep in "The Iron Lady", Michelle Williams in "My Week with Marilyn"
I've Seen: All except Iron Lady.
My Pick: Williams, though it's close between her and Rooney.
My Ideal Pick: Williams was great, but so was Mia Wasikowska in Jane Eyre.

Actress in a Supporting Role
Nominees: Bérénice Bejo in "The Artist", Jessica Chastain in "The Help", Melissa McCarthy in "Bridesmaids", Janet McTeer in "Albert Nobbs", Octavia Spencer in "The Help"
I've Seen: All except Bridesmaids.
My Pick: Um, I guess Chastain.
My Ideal Pick: Shailene Woodley for The Descendants.

Animated Feature Film
Nominees: "A Cat in Paris" Alain Gagnol and Jean-Loup Felicioli, "Chico & Rita" Fernando Trueba and Javier Mariscal, "Kung Fu Panda 2" Jennifer Yuh Nelson, "Puss in Boots" Chris Miller, "Rango" Gore Verbinski
I've Seen: Only Puss in Boots.
My Pick: Enh, it was fine, I guess. But the preview I saw for Chico & Rita makes me think that would have been my pick, had it been released anywhere near me.
My Ideal Pick: Tintin.

Art Direction
Nominees: "The Artist", "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2", "Hugo", "Midnight in Paris", "War Horse"
I've Seen: All.
My Pick: Harry Potter.
My Ideal Pick: Maybe The Tree of Life.

Nominees: "The Artist", "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo", "Hugo", "The Tree of Life", "War Horse"
I've Seen: All.
My Pick: The Tree of Life.

Costume Design
Nominees: "Anonymous", "The Artist", "Hugo", "Jane Eyre", "W.E."
I've Seen: The Artist, Hugo, Jane Eyre.
My Pick: Jane Eyre.

Nominees: "The Artist" Michel Hazanavicius, "The Descendants" Alexander Payne, "Hugo" Martin Scorsese, "Midnight in Paris" Woody Allen, "The Tree of Life" Terrence Malick
I've Seen: All.
My Pick: Terrence Malick.
My Ideal Pick: Tomas Alfredson for Tinker Tailor.

Documentary (Feature)
Nominees: "Hell and Back Again", "If a Tree Falls: A Story of the Earth Liberation Front", "Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory", "Pina", "Undefeated"
I've Seen: Paradise Lost 3 and Pina.
My Pick: Paradise Lost 3, though I really want to see Undefeated.

Documentary (Short Subject)
Nominees: "The Barber of Birmingham: Foot Soldier of the Civil Rights Movement", "God Is the Bigger Elvis", "Incident in New Baghdad", "Saving Face", "The Tsunami and the Cherry Blossom"
I've Seen: All except God Is the Bigger Elvis.
My Pick: Saving Face.

Film Editing
Nominees: "The Artist", "The Descendants", "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo", "Hugo", "Moneyball"
I've Seen: All.
My Pick: Dragon Tattoo.
My Ideal Pick: Tinker Tailor.

Foreign Language Film
Nominees: "Bullhead", "Footnote", "In Darkness", "Monsieur Lazhar", "A Separation"
I've Seen: A Separation.
My Pick: It's the only one I've seen, but A Separation was REALLY good.

Nominees: "Albert Nobbs", "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2", "The Iron Lady"
I've Seen: Albert Nobbs and Harry Potter.
My Pick: Harry Potter.

Music (Original Score)
Nominees: "The Adventures of Tintin" John Williams, "The Artist" Ludovic Bource, "Hugo" Howard Shore, "Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy" Alberto Iglesias, "War Horse" John Williams
I've Seen: All.
My Pick: Tinker Tailor.
My Ideal Pick: Tinker Tailor, though I would have nominated Dragon Tattoo as well.

Music (Original Song)
Nominees: "Man or Muppet" from "The Muppets", "Real in Rio" from "Rio"
I've Seen: The Muppets.
My Pick: "Man or Muppet."
My Ideal Pick: "Life's a Happy Song" from The Muppets.

Best Picture
Nominees: "The Artist", "The Descendants", "Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close", "The Help", "Hugo", "Midnight in Paris", "Moneyball", "The Tree of Life", "War Horse"
I've Seen: All except Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close.
My Pick: Tree of Life.
My Ideal Pick: Tinker Tailor, and I would have nominated A Separation, Dragon Tattoo, and Jane Eyre over most of the other nominees.

Short Film (Animated)
Nominees: "Dimanche/Sunday", "The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore", "La Luna", "A Morning Stroll", "Wild Life"
I've Seen: All.
My Pick: A Morning Stroll.

Short Film (Live Action)
Nominees: "Pentecost", "Raju", "The Shore", "Time Freak", "Tuba Atlantic"
I've Seen: All.
My Pick: The Shore, though it was hard for me to decide between that and Pentecost.

Sound Editing
Nominees: "Drive", "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo", "Hugo", "Transformers: Dark of the Moon", "War Horse"
I've Seen: Dragon Tattoo, Hugo, and War Horse.
My Pick: War Horse.

Sound Mixing
Nominees: "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo", "Hugo", "Moneyball", "Transformers: Dark of the Moon", "War Horse"
I've Seen: All except Transformers.
My Pick: Dragon Tattoo.

Visual Effects
Nominees: "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2", "Hugo", "Real Steel", "Rise of the Planet of the Apes", "Transformers: Dark of the Moon"
I've Seen: Harry Potter and Hugo.
My Pick: Harry Potter.

Writing (Adapted Screenplay)
Nominees: "The Descendants", "Hugo", "The Ides of March", "Moneyball", "Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy"
I've Seen: All except Ides of March.
My Pick: Tinker Tailor.
My Ideal Pick: Tinker Tailor, though I would have nominated Jane Eyre as well.

Writing (Original Screenplay)
Nominees: "The Artist", "Bridesmaids", "Margin Call", "Midnight in Paris", "A Separation"
I've Seen: The Artist, Midnight in Paris, A Separation.
My Pick: A Separation.

This week's TV news = Casting All The Actors

Seriously, at this point, almost every actor I can think of has a pilot. Check out my column at TheTelevixen to see if any of your favorites are among them. This week: Bradley Whitford! Ethan Peck! Mary McCormack! Chris Egan! Taylor Kinney! Lots more!

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Trailer: The Raven

I love Poe, and Gothic stuff in general, but I'm not invested enough to care much if they mess up the historical details of his life. So I am SO EXCITED for this movie. Also, this line is amazing: "We are in dire need of your unwholesome expertise."

Morning Coffee (2/25/12)

Happy Oscar weekend! I have a sore throat so I'm actually drinking tea with honey rather than coffee, but close enough. Let's ignore the fact that I still think I can see another five movies this weekend and move on to some links . . .

Wildly exciting news: Bradley Whitford was cast in a FOX pilot as a CIA Station Chief. Oh please oh please let this make it to TV.

How To Watch the Oscars. Ha. This is hilarious. And on a more serious note: The Insanity of Oscars Fashion Expectations.

Princess cake! I love Sweden.

Lupo, Dog of Cambridge, is pretty cute.

I have to admit I'm pretty excited about this new Anna Karenina. And I should really read the book, huh?

And here are your first pictures of Benedict Cumberbatch in Star Trek.

Vampire dinosaur! No, really.

It looks like Downton Abbey may be moving to the drama series category (rather than miniseries) for the Emmys. Interesting.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Morning Coffee (2/24/12)

Good morning! If you need some cuteness to ease you into Friday, I recommend Zac Efron and Taylor Swift duetting on Ellen. That's a collaborative album I would buy.

Related: Zac Efron would like you to know that he is all grown up.

Also singing: the President. Wow.

In case you've been somehow under a rock for the last 24 hours, you should know that J.K. Rowling is publishing a book for adults.

If you only click on one of these links, make it this one: "Why Rick Santorum Would Have Killed My Daughter"

Princess Victoria of Sweden has given birth to a girl - congratulations! - and this name speculation is fascinating. Oh, I just checked for an update and they've announced the name. Cute and classic! I approve.

New favorite Tumblr: Damon Salvatore Hair Timeline

The Creators of Doctor Who Were a Scandal

This French drone document theft story is alarming and all, but I can't help thinking that the spywork involved is quaintly old-fashioned.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Revenge. Illustrated by cats.

I... I don't even know.

(via The Awl.)

Morning Coffee (2/23/12)

Good morning! I have a sore throat and a cough. Blech. So far my major decision of the morning has been to send Bridesmaids back to Netflix, since I know I will not actually convince myself to watch it any time soon.

Ooh! Castle ebooks!

Here's a thoroughly delightful story: Mark Feuerstein is filming a movie. In New Hampshire. Written by Joss Whedon.

Kathryn Bigelow's Bin Laden movie now has Lizzie Bennet and Coach Taylor. That's a team that could do pretty much anything, I think.

Downton Abbey trading cards!

The Weirdest Unsolved Mysteries of World War II

Today in "Writers I Can't Stop Reading Even Though Their Books Infuriate Me Are Now Writing YA, A Continuing Series:" Philippa Gregory.

Interesting reads on the Rihanna/Chris Brown situation: Vulture and Ta-Nehisi Coates.

They keep releasing photos from The Cabin in the Woods that don't have Bradley Whitford in them. Priorities, people!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Book Recommendation: The Beginning of After by Jennifer Castle

Have I even mentioned my book blog here? I cannot remember. ANYWAY. I am blogging about what I read this year! You can read it here! And this morning, I explain why you should read Jennifer Castle's The Beginning of After.

The Good Wife, "Live from Damascus:" Recap at ThinkProgress

Well, THAT was quite an episode. Read all about it.

Morning Coffee (2/22/12)

Good morning! One of these days I will presumably learn that I can't possibly keep up with more TV shows than I have leisure hours in the week. But today, she said as she stared at her spreadsheet, does not seem to be that day.

Community will be back on March 15. THANK GOODNESS.

Downton Abbey paper dolls! Awesome!

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge's new puppy is named Lupo. Cute. I hope we get a picture soon.

The Olympic Closing Ceremony Concert is shaping up to be . . . kind of interesting, really.

The Cranberries have a new album? The Cranberries still exist? Huh.

Apparently Hitler might have had a son. Wow. Would his descendants even want royalties?

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Morning Coffee (2/21/12)

Yeah, trying this format again. I don't know. We'll see.

I saw This Means War over the weekend. It was really cute, if you keep yourself from thinking about any of it at all. Alternatively, if you think about it enough to make it into a secret Star Trek movie, it actually makes a lot more sense.

I hate the news that Cirque de Soleil is performing at the Oscars - but they're not having any of the nominated songs performed. I don't even just care because of MUPPETS. It's the principle of the thing.

"First, Atlas shrugged. Then he scratched his head in puzzlement." Indeed.

Gilmore reunion! Kelly Bishop's going to be in Amy Sherman-Palladino's new show with Sutton Foster.

Also getting a new show: Mary McCormack of In Plain Sight and The West Wing. Yay.

Michael Fassbender as Cuchulainn? Sign. Me. Up.

The Justified drinking game could be dangerous.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Tonight's Roundup

My friend Erin interviewed the four of us who run about a bunch of TV-related things.

Random: I realized today that I've been reading stories about Elizabeth Banks as though they were about Elizabeth Perkins for . . . well, probably as long as I've been reading stories about Elizabeth Banks. The world makes so much more sense now that I know they're two different people.

The craziest part about this wild story is that all three people involved have the same agent. Can you even imagine what that person must go through?

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo will be out on DVD March 20. It was really good. You should watch it.

I haven't actually read the Darkover series, but I love The Mists of Avalon enough that I'm kind of interested in this news anyway.

As I expected, rumors of Adele's absence from music have been rather exaggerated.

The Shortz Factor is pretty awesome.

Ezra Klein says some important things in praise of prepared food.

Wasn't The River supposed to be scary?

I'm watching this week's episode of The River over breakfast, and I'm confused. Didn't they advertise it as really scary, at least for TV? While I like some things about it (especially some of the character dynamics and examination of how reality shows affect their subjects), this is . . . not scary. I don't do well with scary. I could barely make it through The Woman in Black. But this I can casually watch over breakfast? On the one hand, I'm happier this way, because if it were actually scary I probably wouldn't manage to watch. But . . . I still feel like this is not at all what they told us the show would be.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Today's Roundup

Is this going to be a new regular thing? Do I need a more clever title? Possibly. But here are things grabbing my attention today . . .

While we're talking Downton...

I got this question on Twitter and thought it might be of general interest:
When will DA Season 3 be in the UK? US? Is there a good way to watch it in the US when it is airing in the UK? Legally, of course.
According to the official site, series three will air sometime in 2012, but there's no official date yet. My guess is that it will air here in January again, since that's always when Masterpiece does its Classic series. And . . . no, so far as I know there is no way to watch as it's airing in the UK. But the UK DVDs usually come out before it airs in the US, so you could get a UK-compatible DVD player and order the DVDs, I guess. Anyone have some other method that isn't occurring to me?

Hey, Downton Abbey fans...

You've probably seen various articles or slideshows with pictures of the cast in modern clothes, but make sure you scroll all the way through this one. Trust me.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Things I Am Liking Today

Guys, this whole "don't beat myself up for not getting ridiculous amounts of stuff done" thing is hard. This is going to be a process, I can tell. One of the things I do actually want to be doing is blogging more, but I'm going to let myself be more random and chatty if necessarily. So . . . here are some things I am liking right now!
  • Suri's Burn Book. I know I am very late to this bandwagon, but I read the whole archives while pretending to watch Transformers the other night, and it is HILARIOUS. I'm completely addicted and want more, now, always.
  • Jonny Lee Miller as Sherlock Holmes. I like him! I like the character! Whee! (No, I will brook none of this nonsense about this being an abomination because the BBC version is out there. There are many, many Holmes adaptations out there. I will like as many of them as I please, thank you very much.)
  • Nina Dobrev's dress from the Monique Lhuillier show Saturday. I don't even like bandage dresses, but I'm utterly charmed by this one.
  • Zach Levi's continued employment. I still haven't caught up on Chuck, but I enjoy looking at his face and would like it to be on my TV on a show I'm not already behind on.
  • Taylor Swift's Hunger Games song/video. I realize I am EXACTLY the target audience for this, but boy, do I love it.

Leave Adele alone!

People seem quite up in arms about this comment Adele made to Vogue:
“I am fucking off for four or five years,” she says. “If I am constantly working, my relationships fail. So at least now I can have enough time to write a happy record. And be in love and be happy. And then I don’t know what I’ll do. Get married. Have some kids. Plant a nice vegetable patch.”
Okay . . . well, three things.

1) I don't think this necessarily means, as some are saying, that she is LEAVING MUSIC ENTIRELY for five years. (Possibly she's said something more stark like that elsewhere? But not that I've seen.) I think after the time she's had recently, what with touring and surgery and crazy success, it's perfectly reasonable of her to want to slow down for a while.

2) And really, even if I didn't, personally, think it was reasonable . . . so what? I hate this idea that artists owe something to their fans, that they have to be always on, that they need a certain number of concert dates or a book a year or whatever else. They're people, and the fact that you have consumed their products doesn't mean you have any ownership over them or claim to their time in the future.

3) And I really, really don't think any of us should be leaping to conclusions about her current relationship solely because she's taking time off or slowing down. I guess it's theoretically possible that she said the above because her relationship is unhealthy and her boyfriend won't "allow" her to succeed, but that's far from the only or most likely explanation, and seeing people state that that's what this MUST mean is unfair and alarming.

Happy Valentine's Day!

Happy Valentine's Day, everyone! Hope you have a great day. This is . . . not exactly related . . . but I had something of a revelation last night. The non-angsty version is that I'm always exhausted and frustrated because I expect myself to get way more done than there are hours in the day. So I'm going to . . . try stopping. (Yes, I realize that sounds really obvious.) I'm not going to stop the Oscar project, but I'm going to try to stop pressuring myself about it. (I'm at 31 of 61 movies, by the way.) Try. We'll see. I'm trying to convince myself that it's more important to not be miserable than it is to meet my crazy self-imposed goals.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

A Rebecca remake?

I'm much more attached to the book than the Hitchcock film - actually, I'm not sure I've seen the whole Hitchcock film, as until very recently it wasn't available on DVD - so I'm interested in this proposed new remake. Of course, that article doesn't even mention the 1990s Masterpiece Theater version, which was quite good and faithful to the book. But in general, I tend not to be too much of a purist, and I'm in favor of as many possibly-good adaptations of my favorite books as possible. Now I'm thinking about casting . . . Ideas, anyone?

Friday, February 10, 2012

Movie Thoughts: The Woman in Black

First of all: do not let anyone tell you this isn't scary. I was terrified. I am a wuss, but really, I was terrified. And it seemed like it wasn't just me - there were plenty of gasps and screams and curses in the theater.

Aside from that, though, I thought this movie was quite good. It was old-fashioned horror, very atmospheric, and full of gorgeous old houses and clothes and creepy creepy toys. It was a good transition into adult roles for Daniel Radcliffe, and he did a great job and made me very optimistic about his career prospects. Ciaran Hinds and the rest of the supporting cast did a nice job as well. I would have loved this movie had I not been looking away from the screen half the time because I was scared out of my mind.

(Random trivia: IMDb tells me that the young actor who played Radcliffe's character's son is in fact Radcliffe's real-life godson. Aww.)

Oscar Project 2012: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2

Movie: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2

This was a great ending to the series, and I'm happy it's getting a bit of award recognition, even if only in the technical categories. I would have liked to see some acting nominations as well, and what about the score? Hmm.

Availability: It was everywhere, and it's on DVD now.

Nominated In:
Art Direction: Sure. All of the Harry Potter movies have been quite visually nice, and this one did a great job of looking grim and atmospheric.

Makeup: Sure. Voldemort! Grown-up trio! And... some other things I'm now forgetting, probably.

Visual Effects: Absolutely. There were some great magical battle scenes, among other highlights.

Movies left: 44; Days left: 17
Have seen 28% of movies and 50% of nominations.
Movie posts I owe you: 6

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Movie Thoughts: One for the Money

I went into One for the Money fully expecting it to be terrible. Or, more to the point, hilarrible. (That's hilarious and terrible all at once.) But . . . I actually liked it! It was really cute! I don't share the rampant Katherine Heigl hate that seems to pervade the Internet, and while she wasn't exactly my book!Stephanie, I thought she did a perfectly decent job with the character. And Jason O'Mara was perfect as Morelli. Daniel Sunjata's Ranger was a bit too cute and soft, too human, but he certainly wasn't bad or anything. It was a thoroughly enjoyable viewing experience, and totally the type of movie I will buy when it's $8 at Target and keep around to watch when I need to be cheered up.

(For the record, though, I still wish this was a TV series instead.)

Contest for Dallas-area movie fans!

My friend Jennifer Besser is in a new movie called Hear Me Whisper filming around Dallas, and they're having a contest for a few walk-on roles as well as the opportunity to audition for a speaking role! Get all the details here. Good luck!

Oscar Project 2012: A Separation

Movie: A Separation

This Iranian domestic drama is quiet but extremely powerful, and I haven't stopped thinking about it since I saw it. Aside from the strong story itself, it provides a fascinating look into life in modern Iran and the intersection of religion and personal life, as well the effects of class (and maybe sectarian?) differences. All the performances are strong, especially that of newcomer Sarina Farhadi. Overall, this was one of my favorite movies of the year.

Availability: I had to go to the arty theater in Boston for this one.

Nominated In:
Foreign Language Film: Definitely! I thought it was one of the best movies overall, not just among foreign films.

Original Screenplay: It's a little hard to judge writing based on subtitles, but my impression of this screenplay was that it was subtle and extremely well-constructed. And for such a serious movie, it had some sparkling moments of humor.

Movies left: 44; Days left: 18
Have seen 28% of movies and 50% of nominations.
Movie posts I owe you: 7

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Oscar Project 2012: The Help

Movie: The Help

It's hard to know exactly how to approach this one, because while some of its elements and performances were perfectly adequate, even good, its whole underlying story and the way it deals with segregation and civil rights are so problematic that it's hard to have any positive feelings about it at all. (For more on the kind of issues I mean, read Alyssa Rosenberg's review.) I don't want to blame the actors for the writing, of course, but at the same time, I don't want this getting any recognition at all.

Availability: On DVD now.

Nominated In:
Actress in a Leading Role: Viola Davis did a very good job, and as I said, I can't blame her for my problems with the writing. But given some of the other extremely strong nominees in this category this year, I'd be annoyed if she won.

Actress in a Supporting Role: Octavia Spencer and Jessica Chastain both did perfectly nice jobs with the material they were given, but I didn't really think they were so good as to deserve two of the nominations in this category.

Best Picture: No way. This movie doesn't come close to deserving that award either on its merits as a film alone or given its larger issues.

Movies left: 44; Days left: 20
Have seen 28% of movies and 50% of nominations.
Movie posts I owe you: 8

Monday, February 6, 2012

Oscar Project 2012: Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy

Movie: Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy

I come from a family of Le Carre fans, so we were all really excited about this one, and while no adaptation is perfect, I really, really liked this. The cast was amazing, the tone and atmosphere were perfect, and the movie as a whole was thoroughly enjoyable in a complicated, dreary way. I know a lot of viewers were confused by it, and it definitely helps to have read the book and/or seen the BBC miniseries, but I also think the confusion was part of the point. Who wants a straightforward spy story?

Availability: Was widely available; starting to leave theaters now, so go see it!

Nominated In:
Actor in a Leading Role: Gary Oldman had some big shoes to fill, after Alec Guinness in the miniseries, and he did a virtually perfect job of it, playing the character exactly without making it seem like he was imitating Guinness. He kept Smiley correctly understated, but was a very strong presence at the same time.

Original Score: The score was great - moody and atmospheric, with those paranoid seventies undertones.

Adapted Screenplay: The adaptation did a good job of making an extremely complicated book as comprehensible as possible in two hours. I really only had one issue with it: every single female character in the book had her role either reduced or written out completely in this version. That was extremely disappointing.

Movies left: 44; Days left: 21
Have seen 28% of movies and 50% of nominations.
Movie posts I owe you: 9

Friday, February 3, 2012

Oscar Project 2012: Midnight in Paris

Movie: Midnight in Paris

Oh, look, I reviewed this one here. In summary, it was charming and hey, Cole Porter! But it was really facile and frustrating in retrospect.

Availability: It's on DVD now.

Nominated In:
Art Direction: It was very pretty! Actually, yes, I think the art direction was probably the strongest part of the whole thing.

Directing: Um. I always have trouble judging this one, honestly. I think the directing was probably perfectly competent, but I also don't think that it provided a lot of huge directorial challenges, and I can't recall any particularly daring or noteworthy directorial choices. Although, actually, deciding how obvious and hammy the historical characters should be was probably a concern, and Allen did a fine job of that.

Original Screenplay: The writing itself was clever and sparkling, but there were some major plot issues, so this one is kind of a wash.

Best Picture: . . . no. This was a charming bauble at best, and a self-congratulatory mess at worst. It was cute enough if you don't let yourself actually think about it, which is not what I want to say about my Best Picture choice.

Movies left: 46; Days left: 24
Have seen 25% of movies and 41% of nominations.
Movie posts I owe you: 8

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Oscar Project 2012: My Week with Marilyn

Movie: My Week with Marilyn

I'm not particularly a Marilyn Monroe fan (nothing against her, just never got that interested), so I was surprised and delighted by how much I enjoyed this quiet charmer based on the memoirs of a young man who worked on the set of a movie Monroe filmed in England with Sir Laurence Olivier. Honestly, I don't know enough to judge the historical accuracy of any of it, but I thought the movie worked both as a self-contained story and as an examination of issues of celebrity that felt surprisingly modern. I know some have criticized this movie for viewing Monroe through a male gaze, but because I saw this more as Colin's story, that didn't really bother me. I guess I feel like when you're basing a movie on a man's memoir in the first place, that ship has sailed, and while sure, I'd like to see more movies about women on their own terms, I don't think that means I have to resent that this particular movie exists.

I also want to mention that several of the actors who weren't nominated for anything did extremely good work here, including Eddie Redmayne, Emma Watson, Michael Kitchen, Julia Ormond, and of course Judi Dench. And I'd like to give this movie bonus points for not playing "Candle in the Wind" over the closing credits.

Availability: It's certainly not everywhere, but it wasn't too hard to find, either. I had a few options and wound up driving about 50 minutes for it.

Nominated In:
Actress in a Leading Role: Michelle Williams did an amazing job as Marilyn. She perfectly walked the very fine line of offering a recognizable portrayal of an iconic figure without suggesting that she was about to go start an impersonation act in Vegas. This would have been a really easy role to overact, and she didn't. And really, years ago, who would have thought? Good on you, Jen Lindley.

Actor in a Supporting Role: I actually wasn't particularly impressed with Branagh's performance here. It was very broad and hammy, and one of the weaker parts of the movie.

Movies left: 46; Days left: 25
Have seen 25% of movies and 41% of nominations.
Movie posts I owe you: 9

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Oscar Project 2012: The Adventures of Tintin

Movie: The Adventures of Tintin

I'm a reasonably enthusiastic Tintin fan (though certainly not an expert), and I was pleased by how well this movie captured the flavor of the books and TV show. Overall, I thought the movie was well-done and a lot of fun, although it did drag slightly at times, and once or twice Tintin did something uncharacteristically dumb in order to set things for an action scene. But Jamie Bell did a great job voicing an iconic character, and Snowy was, as always, particularly adorable. I saw this in 3D and was glad I did, because the animation made good use of the technology.

Availability: This was more widely available a month or so ago, but it's not too hard to find.

Nominated In:
Music (Original Score): The score was by John Williams, and you know, I love the way his scores actually fit the movies rather than all sounding alike. (*cough*James Horner*cough*) This dramatic, sometimes cartoonish and old-fashioned score matched the movie perfectly.

Movies left: 47; Days left: 26
Have seen 23% of movies and 37% of nominations.
Movie posts I owe you: 9