There was a time, not that long ago, when Gervais was utterly unknown in America. He was where Steve Coogan is now. Actually, it would be quite a treat to have Coogan host! It may still happen. You will become an instant fan if you see him in “The Trip” but I horribly digress. Ah, a perfect time to mention the new Gervais project, “Life’s Too Short,” which begins on February 17 on HBO. The opening line from Gervais: “So, where was I?” And, later on, the greatest line: “And now for the queen of pop…not you Elton,” which brings up this…
SIR JOHN v. MADONNA
This was a great moment not only for Madonna winning for Best Original Score but for that glare from Sir Elton! Both artists were up for the award, Madonna for original music to her own movie and Elton John for a retread effort in a kid movie. On the red carpet, Sir John said that Madonna “did not have a f***ing chance of winning.” And, on the red carpet, Madonna described her coming to write the score as divine inspiration. When she learned about Sir John’s bitchy remark, she joking said that “those were fighting words” and then went on to win the award.
MICHELLE WILLIAMS WINNING FOR BEST ACTRESS
What a charming moment when Williams thanked her daughter for all the weeks she read bedtime stories to her in the voice of Marilyn Monroe.
KELSEY GRAMMER FOR BEST ACTOR IN A TV SHOW
Critics didn’t like this show, “Boss.” Maybe worth a second look or maybe the Hollywood Foreign Press got it wrong.
BEST SCREENPLAY FOR A MOVIE
Woody Allen! The Woodman is back.
JESSIC LANGE FOR BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
For another show that critics didn’t like, “American Horror Story.” And, again, the Hollywood Foreign Press just wants to support a show that may not be up to the task.
Now, I want to see this movie after getting a full understanding there’s a pooping in the sink scene.
MATT LeBLANC IS A WINNER
LeBlanc is back…on Showtime with “Episodes!” I don’t get cable but I should. This is a good note-to-self. Which leads me to another note-to-self:
HBO IS THE WAY TO GO FOR STUFF LIKE “BORED TO DEATH.”
I was just looking at the offerings on HBO and I need to finally see “Bored To Death” which is explained quite nicely here.
BEST COMEDY: “THE ARTIST”
Alright already, I need to get my ass over to see this movie.
HARVEY WEINSTEIN IS “THE PUNISHER”
Everyone calls him that and he seems to like it. Or maybe you need to be someone as big and powerful as Madonna or Meryl Streep to call him that. Anyway, all in fun.
Wins George Clooney a Best Actor award and wins for Best Movie. Gotta see that too.
Next up in the outstanding series from the DC Universe is “Justice Leauge: Doom” which is set to release on February 28, 2012 from Warner Home Video. The press release follows:
BURBANK, CA (Dec 12, 2011) – Earth’s greatest super heroes face foes on all fronts – using a plan initiated from within – in the all-new Justice League: Doom, the next entry in the popular, ongoing series of DC Universe Animated Original Movies. Produced by Warner Premiere, DC Entertainment and Warner Bros. Animation, the all-new, PG-13 rated film arrives February 28, 2012 from Warner Home Video as a Blu-Ray™ Combo Pack ($24.98 SRP) and DVD ($19.98 SRP), On Demand and for Download. Both the Blu-Ray™ Combo Pack and DVD will include an UltraViiolet™ Digital Copy,
Justice League: Doom finds Superman, Wonder Woman, Flash, Green Lantern, Martian Manhunter, Cyborg and Batman on their heels when a team of super villains discover and implement the Dark Knight’s “contingency plans” for stopping any rogue Justice League member. The story is inspired by Mark Waid’s much-heralded “JLA: Tower of Babel.”
Primetime television stars Nathan Fillion (Castle) and Tim Daly (Private Practice), the reigning voices of Green Lantern and Superman, respectively, join a group of eight actors reprising their famed Justice League cartoon roles. Fillion made his debut as Green Lantern/Hal Jordan in the recent Green Lantern: Emerald Knights, and took his initial DC Universe movie bow as the voice of Steve Trevor in the 2008 hit Wonder Woman. Daly originated his role as Superman’s voice in the landmark cartoon, Superman: The Animated Series. He has reprised the role in two DC Universe films: the 2009 extravaganza Superman/Batman: Public Enemies and the 2010 thriller Superman/Batman: Apocalypse.
The grand reunion of actors who provided the voices of the Justice League for the cartoon of the same name and its follow-up, Justice League Unlimited, includes Kevin Conroy (Batman: The Animated Series) as Batman, Michael Rosenbaum (Smallville, Breaking In) as Flash, Susan Eisenberg (Superman/Batman: Apocalypse) as Wonder Woman and Carl Lumbly (Alias) as J’onn J’onzz/Martian Manhunter. Bumper Robinson (A Different World, Transformers: Animated) joins the cast as Cyborg.
The Justice League faces two sets of villainous teams in the film – The Royal Flush Gang and a sextet of notable evildoers. The latter group includes three voice acting alumni of the Justice League animated series: Phil Morris (Smallville, Seinfeld) as Vandal Savage, Olivia d’Abo (The Wonder Years) as Star Sapphire, and Alexis Denisof (Angel) as Mirror Master. Also opposing our heroes are Carlos Alazraqui (Reno 911) as Bane, Paul Blackthorne (The Dresden Files) as Metallo, and Claudia Black (Farscape, Stargate SG-1) as Cheetah.
David Kaufman (Danny Phantom) also reprises his Justice League role of Jimmy Olsen.
The film is executive produced by Bruce Timm (Batman: Year One), and directed by Lauren Montgomery (Batman: Year One), who is also credited as producer alongside Alan Burnett (Batman: The Animated Series). Justice League: Doom is the final DC Universe film script from the late Dwayne McDuffie (All-Star Superman, Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths), who passed away in February 2011. Casting and dialogue direction is once again in the capable hands of Andrea Romano (Batman: Year One, Justice League).
“Justice League: Doom has all the classic ingredients of a great super hero film – a cavalcade of dynamic villains, internal strife amongst our heroes, treacherous twists and turns, and a cast that brings together some of today’s popular primetime television actors with many of the fans’ favorite voices from the original series,” said Hersin Magante, Warner Home Video Marketing Director, Family & Animation. “I think fans will embrace Dwayne’s McDuffie’s final DCU script, particularly as it has been nuanced by Bruce Timm and the Warner Bros. Animation team. Warner Home Video is proud to distribute Justice League: Doom as the next DC Universe Animated Original Movie.”
Justice League: DoomBlu-Ray™ Combo Pack has 3 hours of exciting content, including:
Standard and high definition versions of the feature film
UltraViiolet™ Digital Copy,
Sneak Peak at Superman vs. The Elite, the next DC Universe Animated Original Movie
Featurette – “A Legion of One: The Dwayne McDuffie Story” – The skilled writer penned some of the best stories which consistently entertained fans. From his early writing career to adapting the popular work of All-Star Superman, this is the story of Dwayne McDuffie, as told by his family and friends.
Featurette – “Guarding the Balance: Batman and the JLA” – Everyone has a weakness and so do superheroes, yet when they go rogue, their power can topple more than a few egos, they can shatter worlds. The Justice League is the most powerful organization of superheroes on the planet, but what if the Justice League went rogue, and decided to use their power for harm?
Mini-featurette – “Their Time Has Come: Cyborg and the DC Universe’s New Diversity” – 2011 will go down in DC Comics storied history as a year when a rich diversity of characters were re-introduced into the spotlight alongside Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman. One of the most celebrated of the re-imagined characters is Cyborg, who became the new Man of Steel in Geoff Johns’ altered universe storyline, Flashpoint.
Creative team commentary
Two bonus episodes from the Justice League animated series handpicked by Bruce Timm: Wild Cards, Part 1 and 2, written by Stan Berkowitz and Dwayne McDuffie
It is a necessary thing to aim the bar high when attempting to present the most remarkable expressions about 9/11. But we shouldn’t get so intimidated by the subject matter that we end up falling into stilted language and a stilted vision. I was reading The New York Times and was surprised by what I read in a think piece entitled, “Outdone by Reality,” by Michiko Kakutani. The writer couldn’t think of any novel that truly captured the raw feeling of 9/11. The one that comes to mind for me is “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close” by Jonathan Safran Foer. Kakutani does mention it but dismisses it within the portion of his article he entitles, “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.” The problem with that novel, for him, is that it resembles the structure of Gunter Grass’s “The Tin Drum,” which also has as its protagonist, a boy named Oskar. I would simply say that is part of the art of the novel. But no, for Kakutani finding the words is oh such a struggle. I don’t think so at all. In fact, Foer’s book does a remarkable job of not being on a high horse, shrugging one’s shoulders and weeping because the words aren’t there.
The words are there! You just need to organize your thoughts. The character of Oskar, a very precocious 9-year-old, speaks for the turmoil felt by so many after the 9/11 tragedy. In this case, Oskar lost his father that day. It’s a very symbolic and effective construct. Oskar is a mess. He finds a key among his father’s belongings. For most of the story, he is seeking the lock to that key. We seek our own answers too. Are they all at the same level of intensity? Of course not. You could be someone living on the Upper West Side or in Kansas City and not have lost anyone in 9/11. The connection to the event, for most of us, is what we consume from the media. Are we all traumatized by the event, rendered mute? No, that would be nutty in the extreme and highly prententious at the least. Anyway, I am veering off the topic. I just think Mr. Kakutani had a job to do: write a think piece for The New York Times. And it reads as such. Take from it what you will. It’s just human nature. You can live in close proximity to where a major event occurred and still have a, say, provincial view of it. For Mr. Kakutani, it was the installation in 2005 of Christo’s “The Gates,” a series of saffron draped gates that dotted Central Park, that he acknowledged as a successful work of art that addressed 9/11, albeit indirectly. Well, that is Kakutani’s neighborhood. He let down his guard and enjoyed the art. Now if he could just go back and give Mr. Foer’s book another chance, assuming he ever read it in the first place. Well, he can always see the movie starring Tom Hanks and Sandra Bullock and complain about how off the mark that movie was to healing our collective wound. It’s a major motion picture. It probably will miss the mark but it could spark a better understanding for many who have not even heard of the book yet, much less its paying tribute to “The Tin Drum,” both an excellent novel and film.
Relativity Media presents “IMMORTALS.” It comes out on, now get this, 11-11-11! This is a sword and sandal epic that pits an evil monarch (Mickey Rourke) against a rebel peasant (Henry Cavill). “Immortals” is directed by Tarsem Singh (The Cell, The Fall) and produced by 300‘s Gianni Nunnari and Mark Canton along with Ryan Kavanaugh.
Here is the synopsis from the press release:
“On 11/11/11, witness the 3-D epic battle as mere men become Immortals. Eons after the Gods won their mythic struggle against the Titans, a new evil threatens the land. Mad with power, King Hyperion (Mickey Rourke) has declared war against humanity. Amassing a bloodthirsty army of soldiers disfigured by his own hand, Hyperion has scorched Greece in search of the legendary Epirus Bow, a weapon of unimaginable power forged in the heavens by Ares.
Only he who possesses this bow can unleash the Titans, who have been imprisoned deep within the walls of Mount Tartaros since the dawn of time and thirst for revenge. In the king’s hands, the bow would rain destruction upon mankind and annihilate the Gods. But ancient law dictates the Gods must not intervene in man’s conflict. They remain powerless to stop Hyperion…until a peasant named Theseus (Henry Cavill) comes forth as their only hope.
Secretly chosen by Zeus, Theseus must save his people from Hyperion and his hordes. Rallying a band of fellow outsiders–including visionary priestess Phaedra (Freida Pinto) and cunning slave Stavros (Stephen Dorff) — one hero will lead the uprising, or watch his homeland fall into ruin and his Gods vanish into legend.”
It’s hard to go wrong with Mickey Rourke. On top of that, you’ve got John Hurt who gave a great performance, although perhaps unnecessary, in the last Harry Potter spectacle. Anyway, this one should be fun. If you’re superstitious, then definitely go see it on 11-11-11.
It was at Comic-Con that news of a movie based on the work of cartoonist Jeffrey Brown has caught on.
Well, it won’t be another “Scott Pilgrim” as far as having a studio spend $60 million only to make $30 million at the box office.
This is the logline for “Save the Date”: “a comedy centered on two very different sisters.” That seems to add up to, from what I can tell, an indie movie with an indie budget and perhaps aspirations to being a new generation’s answer to the Woody Allen classic, “Hannah and Her Sisters,” a comedy-drama centered on three very different sisters. Well, maybe something sort of like that.
It is really cool to see this come about. “Save The Date” stars Lizzy Caplan (“Cloverfield”) and Alison Brie (“Mad Men”).
The Hollywood Reporter’s review suggests you’ll want to take a long cold shower after viewing THE DEVIL’S DOUBLE, a movie about the depraved world of Saddam Hussein’s son, Uday, “The Black Prince,” and his double, Latif Yahia. The movie is loosely based on the autobiography of Yahia who had to endure the pyschotic and violent prince or face the consequences. Even with that threat, Yahia still manages to have an affair with one of Uday’s mistresses, Sarrab, played by Ludivine Sangier. Directed by Lee Tamahori (DIE ANOTHER DAY) and screenplay by Michael Thomas (THE HUNGER, SCANDAL), this movie is an intense, perhaps too instense, portrait of decadence. The poster is priceless and it is definitely an intriguing scenario. But, based on the above mentioned review, this movie digs deep on the sensational and sickening and fails to explore what is going on inside the mind of the prince’s double. That’s too bad since Dominic Cooper is supposed to deliver a kick ass performance playing both the prince and his double. And this movie has one very golden poster with a decided wink to Al Pacino in SCARFACE.
THE DEVILS DOUBLE goes into wide release on July 29, 2011
THE IMPERIALISTS ARE STILL ALIVE! is the movie of the moment. While other artists and writers may try too hard to make sense of a post-9/11 world, this movie appears to get it with a more gentle approach.
Written and directed by Zeina Dura. Starring Elodie Bouchez. Opens in NYC, April 15 and then to wide release.
Just when I thought that Natalie Portman’s outfit was going to be the very best thing about this show, it turned out that Ricky Gervais, as host, was wonderfully hilarious and it’s a shame that he couldn’t have just kept on going uninterrupted. The Hugh Hefner joke was great: “When his wife-to-be discovered Hefner was 84, she said that he lied about his age. She thought he was 94!” After a few interruptions to present awards, another really good joke: “And now, here is Ashton Kutcher’s dad, Bruce Willis!” What good timing for me since I just happened upon “Extras: The Illustrated Scripts: Series 1 & 2.” I’ll have to let you know how much I enjoyed that in a later post. “Extras” was a pure work of genius, a sitcom that came after the original “The Office” and well before the mega-fame that Gervais now enjoys. Of course, it was also lovely to see Portman win for Best Actress in “Black Swan.” She seemed to be channeling Sally Field’s “You really like me!” speech at the Oscars when she mentioned her fiancé, Benjamin Millepied, and said he really does enjoy sleeping with her. Ah, well, an odd moment but she managed to say it and make sense.
Best TV mini-series went to HBO’s “Boardwalk Empire” and not, perhaps to the dismay of fans of comic books, AMC’s “The Walking Dead.” But then there’s the win for “Big Bang Theory” for, and this is a mouthful, Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series — Comedy or Musical, to Jim Parsons. This is a show which, over the years, has been celebrated, whether in reality or not, as a geek fave. Or maybe the attraction to the show by geeks is genuine. What really did look for real was the support for Jim by fellow actor, Kaley Cuoco. Those two should get a room.
Something different and substantial that rang true for me was the win for Paul Giamatti as Best Actor in the movie no one has heard of yet, “Barney’s Version.” My take on the Hollywood Foreign Press’s goal is to promote the best in movies, not necessarily the most hyped, so this win sounds very sound to me. When was the last time you considered a novel by the great Mordecai Richler? See this movie, loosely based on his life, and then read one of his works. I’ve never heard of “Barney’s Version,” as most likely you haven’t either, but now you have, at least for the moment. Will you go out and see it or rent it? I will!
“Social Network” won as Best Movie as well it should! It also won for Best Screenplay, Best Director and Best Score! Very good, indeed. What are you doing if you haven’t seen this by now! And how about the movie’s great screenwriter, Aaron Sorkin? This is one very dapper gentleman. Very cool, very smart and oh so modest. He has a brief role in “The Social Network” and he laughs it off in the DVD extras. But he was actually good. I think I might buy the DVD as well as the soundtrack. That was very cool to see Trent Reznor up on stage accepting his award.
Last good Ricky Gervais joke: “I’d like to thank my family. And a big thank you to God for making me an atheist.”