Archive for January, 2009

AGE INAPPROPRIATE VIEWING: 29 MOVIES YOU SAW TOO YOUNG

Posted in Film on January 31, 2009 by Miranda Wilding

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I honestly can’t think of any motion pictures that I saw as a little girl that scarred me for life.

But people always said I was terribly precocious. I was definitely an old soul.

However, EW’S illustrious readers said that there were a number of flicks that they saw too young that haunt them to this very day.

I guess some of them may contain material that is rather intense for a pre teen. If you’re under the age of 10 at first viewing, then it may be hard to shake.

Here are the most interesting examples from the best films:

FLASHDANCE
THE ROSE
THE EXORCIST
ANIMAL HOUSE
PURPLE RAIN
E.T.
ALIEN
PULP FICTION
THE SILENCE OF THE LAMBS

To hit the inevitable gallery, please go here

STYLE TRANSFORMATION: THANDIE NEWTON 1995 – 2008

Posted in Glamour on January 30, 2009 by Miranda Wilding

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THANDIE NEWTON is one of the most beautiful exotic creatures to ever grace the planet.

Why isn’t this woman a bigger star? She has charisma and talent to burn.

I think what truly sets Ms. Newton apart from the vast majority of modern actors is her aristocratic bearing. Everything about her is classy and tastefully refined.

She’s the quintessential princess.

No great surprise that THANDIE’S mother is a Zimbabwean royal in the Shona tribe. It would appear to be her birthright.

As far as her fashion sense is concerned, she always looks spectacular. THANDIE knows how to make clothes work for her slight frame. The colours and styles she selects are fabulous. She knows far more about making an impression than 90% of the famous women that are currently in the spotlight.

In so many different ways, she reminds me of AUDREY HEPBURN at the height of her fame. AUDREY was an accomplished performer and an eminently regal fashion icon.

Exactly like THANDIE.

To see THANDIE’S IN STYLE slideshow, please go here

THE ACADEMY AWARDS

Posted in The Oscars on January 30, 2009 by Miranda Wilding

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As anyone who either knows me well – or reads CP regularly – can attest, I’ve been an enormous OSCAR aficionado since childhood.

Oh, yes…

I’ve been watching the big show annually since I was a 10 year old with a voluminous pony tail. It’s always been a very big deal in the Wilding houselhold.

That’s a long time. Nearly 20 years.

Lots of grand memories that I’ll never forget.

So it was an enormous thrill to give my definitive take on this year’s ACADEMY AWARDS and to discuss the state of the race as we look forward to the inevitable events of FEBRUARY 22.

To find my article (featured over at BRITANNICA BLOG), please go here

KATE WINSLET: NOMINEE TO OSCAR WINNER?

Posted in The Oscars on January 29, 2009 by Miranda Wilding

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That is the question of the day.

Will KATE WINSLET take home an OSCAR this year on her sixth nomination?

I don’t consider myself a fan…and even I want her to win. She’s far more deserving AND due than anyone else in her category.

I mean…hell, I just gave KATE my BEST ACTRESS award.

It would be dreamy if the ACADEMY decided that that would be a lovely turn of events at their ceremony.

But, until that envelope is opened, there is absolutely no way of knowing.

EVER.

EW’S DAVE KARGER (who knows more about this game than almost anyone else out there), has some thoughts on KATE’S current OSCAR odds.

To find DAVE’S article, please go here

STYLE TRANSFORMATION: MICHELLE WILLIAMS 1998 – 2008

Posted in Glamour on January 29, 2009 by Miranda Wilding

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MICHELLE WILLIAMS is absolutely adorable. She has also turned out to be an exceptional actor with superlative gifts.

She’s come a long way from the DAWSON’S CREEK days.

Truthfully, though I was aware of who she was, I never paid much attention until BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN. Since then, she has greatly impressed me with the work that she’s done.

Her style has certainly evolved over time. She seems to have discovered her glamourous side and the experimenting she does with her wardrobe generally turns out well. Her instincts are right on the money.

I think MICHELLE has an exciting future ahead of her. She makes excellent choices – in terms of career and fashion.

To check out MICHELLE’S IN STYLE slideshow, please go here

CINEMATIC PASSIONS’ 2008 ACTING AWARDS

Posted in My Awards on January 28, 2009 by Miranda Wilding

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Some of these were very close calls. But I don’t believe in ties.

No guts. No glory, baby.

What I found is that, despite the fact that this cinematic year was greatly inferior to the embarrassment of riches that was 2007, there was no shortage of fantastic performances.

So I will now give tremendous credit where it is due and award the most awesome acting that I’ve seen this past year.

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BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
JAVIER BARDEM – VICKY CRISTINA BARCELONA

The genius of this particular performance is that it operates superbly on a wide variety of levels.

JUAN ANTONIO is an exceptionally fascinating handsome charming man with a surplus of seductive sex appeal. In his opening scene, he attempts to pick up two gorgeous American women and invites them to a nearby town for the weekend – wonderful food, wine, sightseeing, great sex.

It’s a testament to JAVIER’S fabulous artistic skill that he claimed that a brazen move like that was far beyond anything that he would ever have contemplated off screen.

But underneath the bold macho charisma and seemingly unshakable self confidence is a true romantic with a very vulnerable heart. JUAN ANTONIO also possesses his own unique sense of honour.

He genuinely adores women. The reason he goes through so many of them is because he’s terrified to be alone.

JAVIER was not only utterly convincing but he allowed you to see that JUAN ANTONIO was a complex person driven by many things besides the obvious.

It’s a great multilayered blend of comedic forcefulness and dark dramatic mystery.

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BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
HAYLEY ATWELL – BRIDESHEAD REVISITED

HAYLEY ATWELL is both a young star on the rise and a bold, bright revelation.

As the powerfully enigmatic JULIA – who enters CHARLES RYDER’S life and then unwittingly destroys it – she is the epitome of grace and classic elegance. You can understand why anyone would be romantically obsessed with her.

She’s like a princess in a fairy tale. Only more drolly amusing, intelligent and strong willed.

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is, of course, CHARLES’ complete undoing.

But what good is being a beautiful woman if you can’t tempt somebody?

Ms. Atwell is a promising newcomer who should have a long, successful career. I genuinely anticipate her future efforts.

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BEST ACTOR
SEAN PENN – MILK

SEAN is one of the greatest actors to ever set foot in front of a movie camera. With his perfect portrayal of gay rights activist HARVEY MILK, the bar has been raised even higher.

I am completely in awe of him…

The subtle makeup and the brown contact lenses assist in the thorough transformation. But SEAN also has the gruff East Coast accent, the body language and all of the mannerisms down. There is not one single solitary second that reminds you of SEAN PENN…or any other character that he’s ever played.

You can fill paragraphs full of words like amazing, astonishing and incredible. But they would never be enough.

In decades full of remarkable work, this is definitely the pinnacle.

When you have an artist like SEAN PENN, that’s genuinely saying something.
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BEST ACTRESS
KATE WINSLET – REVOLUTIONARY ROAD/THE READER

I was originally going to give this award to KATE simply for REVOLUTIONARY ROAD. Though she soars to fabulous heights in THE READER, I think her work in RR is even better.

But who are we kidding really…?

I finally decided to go along with the ACADEMY. Both of these parts are actually lead roles.

Though I have long admired her talent and tremendous versatility, I have never been a fan per se. But this intensely moving one two punch can definitely not be ignored.

In THE READER, KATE does something nearly impossible. If HANNA is not a monster, she does some very questionable things – the least of which is to seduce an innocent 15 year old boy who is decades younger.

Yet you worry about her welfare. Hope that she’s going to be all right.

You actually sympathize with her. KATE involves you in the story and makes you care deeply.

In REVOLUTIONARY ROAD, I found myself easily relating to the glamorous goddess APRIL WHEELER.

KATE creates a woman who is strong and independent, but who ultimately was born into an era where the life that she wants is not going to be easily available to her.

In her early 30s, her crumbling marriage and her two children are simply weighing her down. She sees her dreams of an artistic career moving further from her grasp at every turn.

APRIL longs to break free in some way and get her autonomy back. My favourite scene of the entire movie is when she does.

In a nightclub booth, she sits with her married friend Shep. APRIL’S husband Frank has taken Shep’s wife home. Shep worships the ground that APRIL walks on. He would do anything for her – a fact that she is completely aware of. Just like she knows that the sun will come up tomorrow.

She sits, smoking. Her body is tense under her gorgeous halter dress. Finally her mind is made up – irrevocably and for all time.

She strides determinedly to the dance floor and fixes him with her intense emerald gaze. “Let’s do it,” she huskily intones.

This bombshell has far more on her mind than dancing…and she has set the groundwork for what is about to happen next.

I firmly believe that KATE will be remembered for that movie. It’s the kind of legendary performance that film stars are always associated with.

CINEMATIC PASSIONS’ MEMORABLE PERFORMANCES OF 2008

Posted in My Awards on January 27, 2009 by Miranda Wilding

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I just wanted to put up a post that honours some of the great acting that I’ve seen this year. Not only is this a subject that I know something about but a lot of excellent work has a tendency to get lost in the shuffle.

So it would do me good to have a discussion for the actors’ benefit – whether they’ve won a barrelful of awards or not.
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HEATH LEDGER – THE DARK KNIGHT

Though I never liked the film, I found HEATH’S incendiary turn awe inspiring. He reminded me of Byron: mad, bad and dangerous to know.
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LEE PACE – MISS PETTIGREW LIVES FOR A DAY

LEE PACE has the looks and bearing of a 40s matinee idol. In his (all too) few scenes in MISS PETTIGREW, you can not take your eyes off of him.

Though LEE’S character MICHAEL is clearly the perfect man for her, DELYSIA LAFOSSE (AMY ADAMS) has two other lovers on the go and she’s reluctant to give them up. She is determined to be a star of stage and screen no matter what. It’s not her fault that men are just so…helpful when it comes to her career.

But MICHAEL – a passionate Brit – has been patient too long. It’s been a year. He’s not putting up with any more of this jazz. He’s mad for this wild American redhead. But he is totally and completely exasperated by her behaviour.

Enough’s enough.

After he tells her off and plunks her perky self down on a nearby piano (hot as hell), MICHAEL has no hesitation in speaking his mind.

He’s leaving London and sailing for New York tomorrow. With her or without her.

“Marry me or we’re through.”

I had never seen LEE PACE before. It was a long scene with plenty of challenging dialogue…and he was mesmerizing. That was some introduction.

I’ve heard marriage can be quite the bore. But I am a true romantic. I was hoping that DELYSIA would say yes.

If it were a mistake, DELYSIA could always be MICHAEL’S first wife.
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MATTHEW GOODE – BRIDESHEAD REVISITED

MATTHEW GOODE’S portrayal of CHARLES RYDER is utterly fascinating.

As the innocent with no spirtual concerns or religious ideals to complicate his simple existence, CHARLES falls under the powerful spell of the Marchmains, staunch Catholics of immense wealth. They are so very different from him in terms of lifestyle, class and upbringing.

He has no idea – as an idealistic adolescent – how much the Marchmains will change him and how they will ultimately leave their mark on him.

FOREVER.

MATTHEW is letter perfect. The story is CHARLES’ and you see it through his eyes. You are raw with his suffering and his inability to turn the clock back.

You identify so much with CHARLES’ situation that your heart thoroughly breaks for him at the end.

MATTHEW has a rare talent.
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BRENDAN GLEESON – IN BRUGES

BRENDAN GLEESON is brilliant. There isn’t anything he can’t play or any character that he can’t bring successfully to life.

He’s an actor’s actor.

In IN BRUGES, he’s KEN – half of the dynamic duo that drives the engine in this awesome flick. For an Irish criminal who’s spent decades living by his wits, he is far more cheerful and humane than he has to be.

KEN is a regular guy. He has some decency. He just runs on his own code of honour.

Yet another fabulous performance to add to BRENDAN’S repertoire.
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COLIN FARRELL – IN BRUGES

If BRENDAN GLEESON’S KEN is a loyal, responsible yellow lab, then COLIN FARRELL’S RAY is the vulnerable puppy dog in IN BRUGES’ dangerously twisted scenario.

RAY is hilarious. If he’s not looking for women, then he’s trying to find people to punch out. Or turning the air blue with his endless Irish cursing.

RAY’S tough exterior masks a soft heart. (Actually, RAY and KEN are two of the nicest hit men you’d ever run across in the whole of Europe.)

RAY has – for him – committed an unforgivable sin. Though it was completely accidental, RAY wonders if God will ever take pity on him now. Things being what they are, you can fully expect that incident to come into play before IN BRUGES reaches its climactic conclusion.

Does it? You’ll have to see it to believe it…

COLIN is proving himself consistently over time. He is absolutely fantastic in IN BRUGES.
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REBECCA HALL – VICKY CRISTINA BARCELONA

I’ve seen VCB seven times. I couldn’t help it. It spoke to me.

I all ready resemble SCARLETT JOHANSSON (similar features, same hair, green eyes, smoky voice like hers, identical body type) but her character CRISTINA could be my twin.

Some of the dialogue that WOODY wrote for her has been said by me. Word for word. I am a spirited, independent, impulsive, free thinking romantic.

I have zero interest in a menage a trois or sleeping with any morons immediately (you’ve got to walk your talk and beg for a bit before CATWOMAN will rock your world, sweetie – if you can take it), but otherwise, it all rings very, very true…

I’m a great fan of SCARLETT. She’s very good in this picture.

I had never seen REBECCA HALL in anything else. Barely even paid attention to her the first couple of times.

But, as I commenced viewing this movie repeatedly over several months, I began to discover something. Whether anyone is aware of it or not, REBECCA’S performance is arguably the best work by a female in the film.

You start out thinking that VICKY is practically the antithesis of CRISTINA…and that she’s very happy with her boyfriend. She’s getting married soon. Everything is coming up roses.

Except it’s not.

VICKY is much more complicated than you immediately understand. She may seem outwardly conservative, tight and a bit dull. She’s anything but.

Her degree is centred around the Catalan lifestyle. There is a free spirit – as well as a fiery passion – burning inside this woman. It’s just aching to get out.

When the sparks start to fly and she impulsively sleeps with JUAN ANTONIO before the weekend is out, it doesn’t come as a complete surprise. You can see that, with this girl, there is much, much more than you would ever expect.

When JUAN ANTONIO begins to pursue CRISTINA in earnest even after being intimate with VICKY, you feel her pain completely. But even marrying Doug doesn’t help matters.

It’s all going to hit the fan. No matter what.

REBECCA HALL is an exciting presence with a exceptional future in front of her.
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SALLY HAWKINS – HAPPY GO LUCKY

SALLY HAWKINS in HGL is sheer acting genius. From minute one, she’s excellent and magnificently engaging. But there are many subtleties that she has built into POPPY’S personality.

POPPY isn’t just cheerful and bubbly. There’s endless depth to her. She easily comprehends people’s sadness and grief. POPPY feels deeply for other individuals and, with enormous empathy, she tries to help whenever she can.

But the big splash comes at the end. When her driving instructor (who has a wicked crush on her) attempts to bully her and then smooth it over, she’s having none of it. He crossed the line. There is no turning back and she wants nothing more to do with him.

Not even in a professional sense.

So this giggling sprite who appeared to take nothing in her life seriously (not even herself) actually was a determined young woman with an iron will.

When she was done, that was it.

And she was done…

I bow to SALLY. She is a goddess of the highest order….