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Entries in Madonna (62)

Wednesday
Dec212011

Jessica Chastain Geeks Out Around Celebs, Loves Madonna

I had a really fun chat with the suddenly ubiquitous Jessica Chastain recently. We had to reschedule twice as she galivanted 'round the Globe.

Jessica in Morocco earlier this month!

I'll post tomorrow but given that she's been racking up the precursor award nominations for The Help and winning critics prizes for the rest of her films, I had to ask her about her virginal prize this year, which she received in Venice... from MADONNA.

What a heady way to start your breakthrough year. Here's what she had to say about Madonna.

The first song I always think of is "Like a Virgin" [Laughs] I remember being a little girl and watching that music video. My aunt was obsessed with Madonna. I remember learning to dance and it being so inappropriate. I didn't even know what it meant "like a virgin" but I remember the dance moves and "touched for the very first time", all of that stuff!


There's something about Madonna. I look at her now and her whole career and all of the incarnations she's had and forms of self expression and it's so empowering, especially for a woman. I look at her and think if I could have a smidgeon, a small percentage of the power she has within herself, the strength and desire to tell a story through song, through film? That's what i aspire to.  

Meeting Madonna.

Meeting everyone.

Working with Brad Pitt...

How is she handling being thrown into this world of superstar celebrity?

I geek out on people all the time. I've embarrassed myself in front of Meryl Streep! I've embarrassed myself in front of Zach Galifanakis! I stutter a lot when I first meet people. When i first met Helen Mirren I think I only said 'Hi. Nice to meet you' and three hours later 'Goodbye.' I am not the most comfortable in the beginning!"

She tells me she has to push herself through the uncomfortable shyness. Push away, Jessica, push away. Given the year you've had and the career that's likely to follow, this will clearly need to change.

more Jessica | more Madonna | more interviews

P.S. If you've never seen clips of that award she received in Venice and Madonna's presentation you can do so after the jump.

Click to read more ...

Monday
Dec192011

39 Original Songs Aim To Have Oscar Singing Along...

If you've ever read Inside Oscar, you'll know that the Best Original Song category at the Oscars has been infuriating people since time immemorial. They regularly snub instant classics and even when a great movie song is nominated it will usually lose. The music branch gets far less flak from the media than other controversial Academy subcategories like the Documentary group or the Foreign Language Film nominating committee but that's only because everyone knows that songwriting has very little to do with the actual art of cinema ... unless you're writing an original musical. Brett McKenzie's work on The Muppets aside, that really only happens once a decade or so.

Four other quirks to know. 

  1. The music branch HATES Madonna as a songwriter (the list of classic songs snubbed is alarming and her W.E. song "Masterpiece" has already been jettisoned) but likes her as a singer (both times she has sung other people's material -- Evita and Dick Tracy -- wins followed).
  2. They actually have an average point system to determine nominations rather than a  hierarchal ballot like most categories so you can theoretically torpedo someone you don't like by giving them a bad score.
  3. Three, a maximum of two songs from any movie can be nominated so if you are the only person who wrote an original musical that year, you can't hog the category even though you did more work than anyone else.
  4. They can't even be trusted to let the original performers perform them on the ceremony (Hi Beyoncé!) so don't get too excited about seeing Robbie Williams, Elton John, Zooey Deschanel, Lady Gaga, Jordin Sparks, Melissa Manchester, or any of the other celebs who sang this year's eligible tunes.

 

I'm rooting for Captain America's "Star Spangled Man" because it's a) awesome and b) actually used for narrative purpose rather than end credit pleasantries. Both are so rare in this category! So watch it get shut out.

Here's the eligibility list with as many music videos as I could find after the jump...

Click to read more ...

Thursday
Dec012011

President Linkin'

Oh look! via the Film Stage via Splash via Twitter or some such, it's Daniel Day-Lewis on the set of Steven Spielberg's Lincoln (written by the often genius Tony Kushner)

©Michael Phillips / Splash

According to Jeff Sneider he hasn't dropped the accent off camera since filming began. We are glad that Daniel Day-Lewis decided to be an actor again but we also hope they let him cobble his own shoes for these roles so he can indulge in all of his creative pursuits simultaneously.

The Awl Choire Sicha wonders why dudes can't have sex in movies anymore
The Onion "everyone giving up on John after latest movie recommendation."
Thompson on Hollywood Viola Davis to be honored at the Santa Barbara Fest... which is, as you know, a hotspot for Oscar campaigns. 
Madonnarama So it's true. Madonna will be singing on the soundtrack of W.E. (which I was suppose to see yesterday but oops. my schedule lately. blargh) on a song called Masterpiece. Before you get all hot and bothered about "Oscar nomination!" remember that no matter how genius the song -- and she's written some classics for the movies -- the Oscar music branch hateth her. (No, I can't fathom why.)

Ooooh, an animated tribute to Drive (I'm having ADD today. Can you tell?) It's vaguely spoilery except the chronology is kinda off.

tribute to drive from tom haugomat & bruno mangyoku on Vimeo.

 

[hat tip to First Showing]

Super Punch offers up the best comic book covers of the year and a running gag of Thor Goes Hollywood movie referencing wins "best marketing stunt". It is pretty fun. Don't you love this Loki as Mark Zuckerberg bit to your left? You know what's.
The Hairpin remembers Rita Hayworth, scandals and all. 
Animated Short Predictions 10 finalists have been announced so I reconfigured that particular Oscar chart. Boy was I way off base on that category. 
KTLA Speaking of short films, here's a video bit on African Chelsea, one of the buzziest contenders for Live Action Short. It's only 7 minutes long.  

Did I tell you that I was suppose to interview Jessica Chastain today but she had flight troubles or something? It didn't happen. Me sad.

Rope of Silicon Hi res photos from Ridley Scott's Prometheus
In Contention Guy Lodge makes a please for Kenneth Lonergan's Margaret. That's going around. There are even petitions. I stupidly didn't carve out time for it during its blink and you miss it NYC week and now there's no screener. Argh! 

Finally, I look forward to John Waters ArtForum "TOP TEN FILMS" list every year because John Waters has such an inimitable point of view. He writes and thinks fun eccentric things about movies and he used to make fun eccentric movies. True to form his list is eclectic and interesting and it's nice to see Pedro Almodóvar get props for a movie that's been weirdly underdiscussed. I giggled at Waters take on The Tree of Life.

You’d think I’d hate this film, and I almost did—until I realized it’s the best New Age, heterosexual, Christian movie of the year.

But then I had to gag, and not in the good way, when he honored Kaboom as "well written". Ugh. I hate that movie. I want Gregg Araki to grow up again. Mysterious Skin and then REGRESSION. No fair!

Saturday
Oct292011

The Whole Nine Links

Hollywood.com Frightening visual fusions of voice actor and cartoon characters
Stale Popcorn on Melissa McCarthy doing Divine for EW. He doesn't mention it but two Drag Race alums are in the ensemble photo. Go Pandora Boxx!
Boy Culture Madonna and Lola promote the new "Material Girl" contest. If I liked reality TV I would die from wishing they had one.
In Contention looks back at the Oscar glory of Titanic before it's 3D rerelease
Grantland interviews character actor Richard Jenkins (The Visitor, Rum Diary, Norman)
Film Studies For Free collects academic essays on the "philosophy of horror". I may definitely read some of the links offered if I can find the time because, as someone who has always been puzzled by the ardent love of this genre, I should look for answers to this question: "Why are those of us who enjoy the genre so attracted to watching things that, in real life, would be repellent to us?"
Gemma Correll "the neverending circle of creative woe" -- so perfect!

Bullett Mary Louise Parker is not ready to quit Nancy Botwin (Weeds). Writes a letter to her signature character instead. 

I hope you are doing better than the last time I saw you. I can't imagine you have changed much despite incarceration, fetching little recidivist that you are. You know I mean that with love. 

This is fun but I wish she was ready to quit her. Would love to see her do something new -- MLP not Nancy.

Indiewire honors Like Crazy with this top-grossing indie romance list in the US. Revealing. That'll be a tough list to crack, I think. Notice how 80% of them are Oscar nominees of some sort. I added the global gross since IndieWire didn't.

1. My Big Fat Greek Wedding - $241 (worldwide $368)
2. Brokeback Mountain - $83 (worldwide $178)
3. Atonement - $50 (worldwide $129)
4. Lost in Translation - $44 (worldwide $119)
5. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind  - $34 (worldwide $72)
6. Amelie (2001) - $33 (worldwide $173)
7. (500) Days of Summer - $32 (worldwide $60)
8. Garden State - $26 (worldwide $35)
9. Vicky Cristina Barcelona - $23 (worldwide $96)
10. The Kids Are All Right (2010) - $20 (worldwide $34)

Ugh, I hate being reminded that Eternal Sunshine wasn't the #1 blockbuster of 2004!

Tuesday
Oct252011

London: W.E., Oslo and Japan

David here, reporting from the final week of the London Film Festival. If there's one name guaranteed to grab my attention, it's...

The sight of Madonna's name heading up movie credits is a slightly surreal one, and it's difficult to imagine the icon standing behind a camera, and so W.E.'s worst foible is an understandable one from such a deified person. Re-edited after a poor reception at previous festivals, there is a fair deal to admire here, but all those flashbulbs must have gone to her head, because the photography is stuffed with dramatically posed shots, as if its being filmed with a still camera. Yet it's in the camera work that the film digs up shards of emotional truth amongst the narrative cliches, suggesting that Madonna might prove a worthwhile director. When the camera moves, it does so with a defiant tactility, a visual sense alive with feeling and clarity. This story of a late-'90s neglected wife (Abbie Cornish) in New York turning to the story of Wallis Simpson (Andrea Riseborough, superbly poised) for comfort and reflection is the stuff of clunky parallels with little sense of historical ambiguity. The soundtrack is alarmingly overloaded. But the immediate, reactive sense of the photography delves through the physical to the emotional roots, scoring unpredictable truths. (C) more articles on W.E.

Oslo, August 31st is like two pages ripped from a diary; one covered with words, the second blank and sodden with tears. After his first feature, the textured novelistic Reprise, director Joachim Trier follows in Louis Malle's footsteps by adapting Pierre Drieu La Rochelle's Le feu follet, a melancholy tale of a man debating suicide. Anders Danielsen Lie, one of the two leads of Reprise, is given the luxury of a film to himself ...only his character, Anders, isn't one to luxuriate. The film's first half is full of words. Anders attempts to spread his wings, testing the waters of the outside world as he breaks from a spell in rehab. A discussion with his friend Thomas (Hans Olav Brenner) stretches imperceptibly to twenty minutes, dense with completely natural musings, arguments, and agonising admissions that absorb both characters and viewers. As Anders spirals into the night, and into August 31st, the film shifts into sensory expression, the lens focus shifting lucidly, the soundtrack slowly emptying to mournful desolation. Far from easy to watch, and tearfully inconclusive, this is nonetheless another quiet triumph from Trier. (A-) more articles on Oslo August 31st

two brothers in "I Wish"

Two brothers on a quest to repair their family. It's a story out of 1980s Hollywood cinema, and I Wish does ring with the cliches of quest narratives like Stand By Me or The Goonies. Hirokazu Kore-eda, a festival favourite thanks to films like Nobody Knows and After Life, directs this bright tale which centres around the supposed miracle that occurs when two bullet trains pass each other. Koichi and Ryu, each stuck with a parent on opposite sides of Kyushu, plot a voyage to witness the miracle and wish their family back together. Where Kore-eda betters his Stateside influences, though, is in his generous characterizations of the adult characters, who lack the intimacy we're granted with the vibrant kids but feel alive with both warmth and foibles. Inevitably, the film cycles through familiar ideas, but the wheels are so smooth it scarcely matters. The achievement of the quest isn't the thing, but the journey, and you're unlikely to find a more heartwarming, vibrant trip all year. (B+)

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