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Entries in Madonna (73)

Monday
Aug252014

The Best Film of 1989 That Wasn't

Glenn here to discuss a lil something from 1989, but first a divergence to the modern day.

Last night’s MTV Video Music Awards were like stepping into a pop culture gulag. It’s easy to get misty-eyed thinking about VMA ceremonies of years past, when the network actually showed music videos and the form felt truly like art. Despite being aware of last night’s winner, “Wrecking Ball” by Miley Cyrus the icky Terry Richardson, I don’t claim to have near enough knowledge of modern music videos to truly complain. It does seem harder to imagine Neil Young, Peter Gabriel, or Pearl Jam winning these days though, doesn’t it? Are there brilliant works that just aren’t being recognized?

It’s been some time since videos were genuine pop culture moments and the internet certainly doesn’t help. Beyoncé appears to be the only one who’s been able to recreate the buzz of sitting around to watch the premiere of a new Michael Jackson or Madonna video. Most importantly, however, formative years are no longer spent watching music videos hoping to find our new favorite song and reveling in visual genius, rather we leave that to YouTube, iTunes and Spotify while we binge-watch sitcoms on Netflix instead.

Which brings me to 1989. If it weren’t for 1989 we wouldn’t have David Fincher. The future Oscar-nominated director had successes before ’89, but his two collaborations with Madonna that year – “Oh Father” and “Express Yourself” – as well as “Vogue” a year later feel like true moments of breakthrough genius. Whenever I tell fans of David Fincher that they should thank Madonna they balk, but isn’t it kind of true?

“Express Yourself” lost the video of the year award to Neil Young’s “This Note’s For You”, but much like a lot of Madonna’s music career, time has proven that she wasn’t just a momentary flash in the pan spurred on by a public wanting what’s new and shiny. Fincher’s video took liberal inspiration from Fritz Lang’s 1927 silent sci-fi classic Metropolis and gave it a slick and sexualized make-over (before blue filters were over-used). For mine, it remains the best thing David Fincher has ever directed – although, ever the contrarian, I don’t quite know if his maturing directorial instincts are for the better. Rather I find myself getting less excited for each new Fincher film and the very insular heterosexual male worlds they appear to inhabit. Will Gone Girl will change that?

Madonna has always been obsessed with cinema, old and new. She and Fincher would prove that again most famously one year later with “Vogue” with its recreations of the Golden Age of Hollywood as well as Isaac Julien's Looking for Langston. Every cent of Express Yourself's then record-breaking $5mil budget is on screen and it’s heightened, boldly stylized aesthetic is the exact kind that Baz Luhrmann was recreating with Moulin Rouge! over a decade later. From the rain-soaked underclass below to the sensual art-deco with modern twist of Madge’s world up top, “Express Yourself” surpasses even some of the work nominated for art direction and cinematography Oscars that year. Who remembers the sets of Driving Miss Daisy, you know? In a neat twist, Tim Burton’s Batman won the former category, itself also inspired by Metropolis. And remember when they went via satellite to present awards in England? Yikes!

The overt homoeroticism. The power of the pussy. The rally cry of the woman. It’s certainly a video that informed my early years a lot, and would go on to inspire my predilection for excessively stylish cinema as well as bold interpretations of eras. The “Express Yourself” video holds up better than most films of 1989, but perhaps works best of all as a beacon not only for Fincher’s career, but as an encapsulation of where cinema could and eventually would go in the following decades from Quentin Tarantino to endless remakes and reboots. By repurposing Metropolis, everything old was new again. Something we still see the effects of today.

Saturday
Aug162014

"Sing out (Madonna), Louise!"

A happy 56th birthday to the Queen Herself. I was out for drinks with two friends the other night (Hi, Sue & Jordan!) and somehow the conversation turned to Madonna -- I can't remember how it got there -- and the Best Actress for Evita Golden Globe was discussed. 'Her one shot at an Oscar' ...but then of course she wasn't nominated. (1996 was an overstuffed year in Best Actress of course but even if it hadn't been, The Academy probably would have resisted.) But of course it wasn't her only shot at Oscar. They've snubbed her repeatedly in that Best Original Song category though two songs she sang but didn't write won the actual gold man ("Sooner or Later" from Dick Tracy by Stephen Sondheim and "You Must Love Me" from Evita by Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber). 

Her original songs from the movies in preference order:

 

  1. "Into the Groove" for Desperately Seeking Susan (1985) 
  2. "Live To Tell" for At Close Range (1986)
    I'm not sure if this was officially disqualified but it would have been for the same reason as the infamous rejection of "Come What May" from Moulin Rouge! (It was written for another film altogether but switched movies) 
  3. "Crazy For You" for Vision Quest (1985)
  4. "Die Another Day" for Die Another Day (2002) - Golden Globe nod
  5. "Beautiful Stranger" for Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me (1999) - Golden Globe nod
  6. "Who's That Girl" for Who's That Girl (1987) - Golden Globe & Grammy nods
  7. "This Used To Be My Playground" for A League of Their Own (1992) - Golden Globe nod
  8. "I'll Remember" for With Honors (1994) - Golden Globe & Grammy nods 
  9. "Causing a Commotion" for Who's That Girl (1987)
  10. "Masterpiece" for W.E. (2012) - Globe win
    disqualified from Oscar - too late in the end credits 

And I don't even want to talk about Truth or Dare (1991) not winning a Best Documentary nomination when it's one of the best docs ever made... or at least in the top 5 most entertaining. And while we're Oscar dissing, how is it that Stephen Sondheim's rousing "More" from Dick Tracy missed a nomination? Did they only submit the one song or was it the way Warren Beatty edited its production number to smithereens so there was barely any of it there -- one of the weirdest directorial decisions ever when there was clearly a big festive Madonna/Sondheim production number filmed?

Madonna having a bit of a Joan Crawford moment in her recent "Revolution of Love" short film which I'll admit I didn't 'get' at all. Rare for me with a Madonna project.

Madonna's dreams to become "A Real Actress" (I love that she has a Moulin Rouge! "Satine" connection!) seem to have ended at the same time her marriage to Guy Ritchie wrapped and the only movies she's made since have been behind the camera with Filth & Wisdom and W.E. But she'll always have the music. If you haven't yet read it you should check out this excellent essay from Savage Garden's Darren Hayes on 'why the world needs another brilliant Madonna album'. And hat tip to Erik at Awards Watch (who've been holding a Madonna Week) for pointing that one out. I hope she writes a killer song for a movie again soon, a song so strong that it would be shameful for the Academy to ignore. 

Thursday
Jul242014

Get On Link

Towleroad The Imitation Game (we just discussed the trailer) isn't the only Alan Turing focused artwork in the ether. The Pet Shop Boys just debuted their opera Breaking the Code (yes, opera) about the man.
Theater Mania there's a stage adaptation of Shakespeare in Love in the West End. Here's a review
Vulture interviews True Blood's Nelsan Ellis on the lame actor who wouldn't make out with him on True Blood and his role in Get On Up


Kenneth in the (212) Ryan Gosling joins the waxworks at Madame Tussauds
MNPP freaks out for a John Waters retrospective this September. As well we all should.
Variety big weekend expected for Lucy. I guess this means Scarlett Johansson's Black Widow solo film will get a greenlight
Boy Culture Wonder Woman in Madonna drag. LOL
Awards Daily Heart of the Sea, the Ron Howard/ Chris Hemsworth post-Rush collaboration is test screening
/Film new poster for Mad Max: Fury Road 
Superhero Hype Batman's new costume displayed at Comic Con... but I'm sorry it looks so creepy without someone in it
AV Club Project Runway begins its 13th season tonight

And please to enjoy the Venice Film Festival Lineup. They're sharing some titles with TIFF like Good Kill, The Humbling, 99 Homes, and Red Amnesia. But ther opening night film Birdman is all theirs. Feel the envy. I'd do a whole post as with TIFF but I'm not going to Venice *sniffle* whereas I might be a TIFF and also as you read this I am fulfilling my obligations as a citizen via Jury Dutyzzz. No, for real. Feel for me as I sit in the rooms waiting for my name to be called or not.

Thursday
May222014

Mm Mm Oh Oh... I'm All Linked Up 

Towleroad Harvey Milk stamp unveiling live at 3PM today!
John August's screenwriting podcast talks to the professionals about writing superheroes, masculinity and rebooting past franchises. Featuring: Conan the Barbarian, Captain America and Batman among others
The AV Club suggests that the only appropriate director for the Elvis biopic is... David Lynch?

It’s an almost biblical rags-to-riches tale infused with elements of horror, farce, and even science fiction, and while many have tried to bring it to the screen, there’s yet to be a definitive biopic.

Verité looks back at naughty precode gem Jewel Robbery (1932) with William Powell and Kay Francis
Gawker more 'celebrities reading mean tweets about themselves' feat. Julia, McConaughey, and Emma Stone 
Madonnarama V magazine features Katy Perry and Madonna in conversation for their summer spectacular
In Contention I forgot to mention The Search in my Cannes collection last night, so here's Guy Lodge on that reported misfire from the team behind The Artist
Extra Angelina Jolie & Brad Pitt promise that their reunion will be "experimental and raw"... though that means so many different things to different people. I think she basically means low-budget and human-oriented
Empire for a limited time you can listen to the original score of the original Godzilla (1954) by Akira Ifukube

Two Essentials
Are you a struggling actor? Bitter Gertrude's "Why You Didn't Get Cast" is a must read about the casting and the audition process and building a career in a competitive field. I used to work in Human Resources and I would tell my friends these same things many times about non-showbiz job hunts.

Remember that absurd moment when Tom Cruise jumped up and down on that couch on Oprah? Amy Nicholson in a great long read over at LA Weekly  called "How YouTube and Internet Journalism Destroyed Tom Cruise, Our Last Real Movie Star," posits that it didn't happen. Not in the way we remember it at all. A provocative read even if you don't believe that Cruise was our 'last real movie star' (which I do not, while conceding that movie stars that large are rare beasts.)

Monday
May122014

The Darling Buds of May: All the Way Mae

[Editor's Note: In the interest of keeping things fresh, we aren't doing the traditional "May Flowers" series this year but this spin-off, spearheaded by abstew (who you just heard on the podcast) though I'll also be chiming in, featuring characters named that way. - Nathaniel.]


Full Name:
Mae Mordabito aka "All the Way Mae". It's not just a name, it's an attitude.

Film She Starred In: A League of Their Own (1992) The hit film from director Penny Marshall (Laverne!) about the real-life All-American Girls Professional Baseball League. Co-stars include Geena Davis as Dottie, Tom Hanks (There's no crying in baseball!) as the drunken manager Tommy Dugan, a pre-Tank Girl Lori Petty as Dottie's sister Kit, Rosie O'Donnell as Mae's best friend Doris, and David Strathairn.

[more stats after the jump...]

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
Mar262014

The Temple of Link

Vulture Pharrell on his Oscar loss and Frozen's "Let it Go"
Cinema Blend super depressing think piece about Chris Evans planned retirement after Captain America and why our franchise culture kills an actor's passion
Empire Madonna is not done directing. Next up: Ade: A Love Story based on the novel by Alice Walker's daughter

Guardian wonders when we'll start seeing gay parents in family films from Disney
Variety True Detective will compete in drama rather than in miniseries at the Emmys. Interesting move, right? I still think the Emmys need to start making rulings on this sort of thing just so there's consistency, rather than letting the shows decide. 
The Wire FWIW this is the article that seems to make the most sense as to why HBO is doing that
Film School Rejects Plans for Prometheus 2 move forward. Rumors of multiple Michael Fassbender sound perfect to me. Fill the screen with him.
Salon on Wes Anderson and the art of Twee "It's not easy being twee"
What Culture on 18 screenplays every aspiring writer should read. Some interesting choices / points but it's VERY man's man oriented. Obviously written by a guy who doesn't get into female protagonist cinema because I don't know how you make a screenplay list and don't include All About Eve
St Paul Lutheran Church Get this. Oft employed character actor James Rebhorn (Homeland, The Talented Mr Ripley, Far From Heaven) wrote his own obituary before he died. It's beautiful

From CinemaCon in Vegas
i09 sees and loves footage from Luc Besson's "insane" Lucy starring Scarlett Johansson as a drug mule turned superpowered killer. They liken it to Kick Ass which is unfortunately for me a superpowered deterrent.
In Contention on Angelina Jolie's Unbroken preview - I haven't drawn up my "april foolish" predictions yet but I think I'm probably less bullish on this one than most. I keep thinking Seabiscuit. Not that that film wasn't an Oscar hit but that type of inspirational power of human (or animal) spirit isn't as easy of an Oscar sell as it once was, I'd wager. 

P.S. And in case you haven't heard Jonathan Groff (Looking, Frozen) and Lucy Liu will announce the Tony Award nom this year on April 29th.

P.P.S. I'm not going to link to any of the many articles about the possible reboot of the Indiana Jones franchise (a.k.a. Indiana Jones 5 or 6)  because the only way to end reboot culture and get some actual NEW material up in here is for the media and the public to start ignoring these creatively bankrupt cash-ins that desperately want to keep giving us things we've already had.

What happened to youthful rebellion, I ask? Why do kids today want to see watered down versions of their parents favorite heroes instead of getting their own? Katniss aside, it's ALL their parents heroes over and over again.