many bells down

She can sing, but can she act?
May 5, 2006, 2:44 pm
Filed under: Celebrity, Movies, Television

American Idol winner Fantasia will play herself in a Lifetime movie.  The made-for-TV movie will be based off of Fantasia's biography, Life is not a Fairytale.

A few years ago my friend Melissa (henceforth known as M. Middy) and I created a drinking game based around Lifetime movies.  The idea was that if you could correctly predict upcoming events or plot points, you had to take a shot.  Because Lifetime movies are highly predictable, M. Middy and I inevitably ended up five sheets to the wind.  Even though there's really no guesswork involved in the Fantasia story thanks to the media blitz that is American Idol, that is in no way going to stop me from playing the Lifetime Drinking Game ™.  And I'll be more than five sheets to the wind.

Additionally, Dwayne Wayne from A Different World is going to play one of Fantasia's parents!  Awesome!


United 93
April 28, 2006, 4:10 pm
Filed under: Movies

United 93.jpgSince the first time I heard United 93, the tale of the courageous passengers who took down one of the flights hijacked on September 11, 2001, was being made, I have pondered whether or not I would go and see the film.  Or whether anyone would go and see it.  Is 9/11 still too fresh in our minds and our hearts?  Is this tragedy something we should even be making movies about?  Some movie theaters actually pulled the trailer because patrons found the imagery disturbing.

The film is begin dubbed a docu-drama, although it is purportedly not concerned so much with the theatrics/dramatics of what happened that day as it is showing the events as they unfolded (and the drama inherent in that) and honoring the sacrifice United 93's passengers made.  It is filmed in real time and uses no Hollywood stars.  Flight controllers and air personnel play themselves. 

United 93 has been getting fantastic reviews – despite the fact that most reviewers admitted that they did not want to see it.  Lisa Schwartzbaum of wrote,

[Writer-director Paul Greengrass] keeps a cataclysmic story scaled to the vulnerable men and women involved. The result is a movie experience that's undeniably agonizing — but also unexpectedly bracing in ways I couldn't have prepared for. … Here's a drama about the most politically charged crisis of our time that grants the dignity of autonomy to every soul involved. [more]

Kurt Loder at MTV. com says, "We know what's going to happen, but now we are right there with them, and we experience their dread and their angry desperation in a direct and harrowing way."  He calls the effect of the entire film "emotionally overwhelming." [more]

Joel Siegel of Good Morning America said in his review that he "can't recommend you see this movie. Only you will know if you can." [more]
James Verniere calls the film "a cathatric work of art. …  a brilliant piece of realistic filmmaking and a tribute to the pluck of ordinary Americans who find themselves facing extraordinarily dire circumstances." [more]

I have no idea if I'll see this film.  Just thinking about it fills me with palpable dread and anxiety.  Seeing as how I cry when I read about it (I am a big cryer) and how I remember every single detail about that day as if it had just happened yesterday (the frantic calls to family members who worked in the financial district, the classmates who lost their loved ones), I'm not sure it's the best thing.  Still, I would like to see it.  I think it's an important film and the right kind film.  It's not Todd Beamer played by Tom Cruise with a glossy orchestral soundtrack and overdramatic dialogue; it's the complete opposite, a realistic look and a tribute to those people who lost their own lives to save others.  Real life heroism is so much more powerful than Hollywood heroism.

I'm interested to hear what you think.  Is it too soon?  Will you go see it?

The best movie ever.
April 27, 2006, 4:21 pm
Filed under: Celebrity, Movies

The NYT crossword puzzle and Jon Stewart?  This is quite possibly the awesomest thing to happen to American cinema.  Ever.  And I. Can't. Wait.

Broadway musicals are the new movies!
April 26, 2006, 3:27 pm
Filed under: Broadway, Movies is reporting that Legally Blonde, first a novel by Amanda Brown and then a movie starring Reese Witherspoon, will open on Broadway in April 2007.

It looks like musicals are to movies as pink is to black…that is, they're the totally new and trendy thing!  (That could totally be an SAT question!)

I do love Legally Blonde the movie, but I'm not sure all these movies-turned-musicals (instead of the other way around, my goodness!) are a very good idea.  It will be interesting to see how this plays out on stage.  I think Witherspoon should reprise her role as Elle Woods!  Thanks to Walk the Line, we know she can sing; she can act and maybe she can dance.  She's a shoe-in!  If she did it, the show would definitely be worth seeing.

“Did I listen to pop music because I was miserable? Or was I miserable because I listened to pop music?”
April 25, 2006, 1:17 pm
Filed under: Broadway, Movies, Music, News

This just in: High Fidelity, one of the funniest and greatest movies of all time, is coming to Broadway in December:

The $10 million musical has a score by Tom Kitt and Amanda Green and a book by David Lindsay-Abaire, whose play "Rabbit Hole" recently completed a critically praised Broadway run.

[Jeffrey] Seller said he decided to produce "High Fidelity" after hearing composer Kitt and lyricist Green (daughter of legendary lyricist Adolph Green and actress Phyllis Newman) perform four songs from the show at a 42nd Street club.

"I thought, `This must be my next musical,'" Seller said. "It's a great story about a guy who can't figure out how to hold on to a girl."

I am so excited about this I can hardly stand it!  The movie is hysterical (see title quote for example, and go out and rent it right now!), and I'm sure I'd love the book too if I read it.  I'm definitely going to catch this bad boy in previews!

Brokeback Island
April 12, 2006, 1:23 pm
Filed under: Movies, Television

I am an uber fan of Lost, and I love all the parodies surrounding it too.  I stumbled across a new one this morning…I apologize if you've seen it before, but it was so funny I laughed till I cried!  I just had to share.

In honor of Wednesday night and Lost, I present to you the trailer for Brokeback Island.

It's proof that with the right kind of music and the appropriate use of slow-mo, anything can look romantic!

Spelling and Starbucks go well together
April 11, 2006, 1:25 pm
Filed under: Food, Movies

Usually film and movie promotion is limited to limited-edition plastic cups from fast food chains and action figures in your local retail store.  But Starbucks, ever the pioneer of something in the entertainment/coffee world, is running a really unique promotion for the spelling bee/slice of life movie Akeelah and the Bee.  They have bright green flash cards and even coasters featuring winning spelling bee words and their definitions.  It's like 10th grade vocab-quiz cram sessions all over again – and I love it! 

Interestingly enough, the movie is also "co-presented" by Starbucks.  According to this article as, Starbucks Entertainment President Ken Lombard said the film was chosen because it is "compelling and inspirational, it was very fitting with Starbucks from a brand perspective.  Lionsgate was the right partner. They are very innovative. We were very impressed with the quality of films they select."

I find the promotion especially fitting because I have long found Starbucks the perfect place to Scrabble – and hey JJP, now you won't even need to your cheat sheet.  Starbucks has provided that for you!