Category: Misc


Pit PonyEllen Page breaks free from the mainstream with the roles she choses. He role in Juno snagged her the nomination for a best actress Oscar for 2007.

Page has been acting since she was ten. She got her start in the Canadian television drama and movie “Pit Pony”, about the families of coal miners in the early nineteenth century. She told Barbara Walters that it was not her intention to be a big movie star but she happened to be “short have brown hair [she looked] like a poor kid from the turn of the century”.

Page made her American debut when she landed the role of Halley in the dark film, Hard Candy. The story pits a fourteen year old girl against pedophile Jeff played by Patrick Wilson. Page stated in and interview with IGN that fell quickly in love with the script, “I found it just incredibly engrossing and obviously original. And then on top of that to read a role written for a teenage girl with so much passion and intelligence, that was extremely refreshing”.

Hard Candy

Hard Candy had a lot of controversy surrounding it. The film showed the dark side of the Internet, presented Jeff (Wilson) as a somewhat charming predator who endures torture by Halley.

Ellen Page was one of three actresses to play teen Kitty Pryde in the X-Men trilogy. Pryde is a mutant capable of phasing through walls. The actresses playing pride changed for every film first, X1 had Sumela Kay and Katie Stuart was in X2. The role of Kitty was notKitty Pride really substantial to the plot until three. Kitty came close to breaking up the relationship between Rogue and boyfriend Iceman. She also played a pivotal role in protecting Leech from Juggernaut. Page was excited about the project abd described the role for About.com, “Kitty’s involved more and has a bit of a subplot with a certain other mutant and we’ll see. It’s all fun. I get to fight in the end.” There is no word whether Page will reprise this role in X-men Origins: Wolverine. Most likely not considering this film is set before Wolverine connects with the X-men. Kitty was probably still in diapers according to this time line.

Juno garnered Page a lot of media attention. She played the cynical and witty, Juno, a pregnant teen with plans to adopt her baby to yuppie suburbanites. The film won 37 awards including Best Original Screenplay and tallied 21 nominations.

Page has completed two projects since the release of Juno. Page filmed Smart People with actor Dennis Quad about a widowed professor who finds love and gets an unexpected visit from his brother. Smart People will be in theaters in early April. The Snow Angel follows the dramatic life of an unconventional woman, Hagar Shipley. The film is set to be released in May.

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The details of these two actors’ careers and death are completely different (not to mention 15 years apart) but there are some eerie similarities.

Brandon Lee died from an accident with a gun on the set of his final film, The Crow. Brandon was the son of martial arts actor Bruce Lee. His death was supposedly linked to a family curse conceived because his father also died young. Bruce Lee died at the age of 32 while filming Game of Death. Circumstances around Brandon’s death are sketchy at best, a “dummy” bullet lost its tip and hit him in th abdomen. Brandon was rushed to the medical center in Wilmington but doctors could not help him.

There is still some mystery surrounding the death of Heath Ledger, star of Brokeback Mountain. Reports say that numerous drugs were found around the actor’s bed where he was found. Enews wrote, “It is still a mystery for them who gave the two powerful painkillers Oxycontin and Vicodin to Ledger. The mix of the sleeping-pills and the anti-anxiety drugs, even though found in a small quantity in his system, were lethal for the actor.”

The similarities are scarce but I felt the need to make this comparison based on a few random facts. They were both 28 years old when they passed away. They both died in tragic and somewhat shady accidents. In their last completed films they both play major comic book characters.

I think what really sets this tangent is the physical similarities and makeup of their characters. All that setup for this, sorry.

Joker VSCrow

SNLDebateSaturday Night Live’s debate sketch featuring a furious Clinton and idolized Obama brought up controversy for the candidates and the show. SNL came back on the air after a three month hiatus due the the writer’s strike. The SNL cast proved they were ready to jump right into the political scene.

The democratic race is really close and may have candidates looking for every opportunity to state their case. Senator Hillary Clinton used an SNL skit as an example of how the media presents a bias toward Obama. Clinton felt she was not receiving equal treatment at the debate held in Texas this month. Clinton told moderators, “In the last several debates I seem to get the first question all the time, I don’t mind. I’ll be happy to field it. I just find it curious if anybody saw `Saturday Night Live,’ maybe we should ask Barack if he’s comfortable and needs another pillow.” The Daily Show took it a step further this week when they joked that Clinton’s paranoia was not wrong as they reported from Anti-Hillary HQ.

Tina FeySNL tried to level the playing field when host Tina Fey pledged her support for Clinton. Fey stated that while Hillary may be considered a bitch, “Bitches got things done, yo, and that’s why Hillary would be a good president. So I’m sayin, it’s not too late, Texas and Ohio, get on board! Bitch is the new black!”

The idea of media bias may have to do with celebrities sharing their opinions with the press. Obama has definitely rallied a lot of celebrity backing. Everyone from Oprah Winfrey, Matt Damon and comedian Stephen Colbert have pledged their support along with a slew of others. While Hillary has her own list of supporters she also sports a short list of celebrities willing to come out against her for her stance on the Iraq war. I expect (and hope) voters rely more on a candidate’s presentation or stance on a particular issue than celebrity testimony. I am sure celebrity endorsements makes a difference to some though. It may simply be a matter of exposure. Celebrities can reach an audience not normally tuning into debates or the nightly newscast. It is like the old saying, ‘no press is bad press’.

FredSNL is also in the forefront for casting actor Fred Armisen from Chicago in the role of Obama. The choice has some viewers up in arms. Bloggers argue that the role should have gone to one of the casts many black actors.

The media backlash is a bit of a surprise considering this is a common trend for SNL. Darrell Hammond played Reverend Jesse Jackson and Billy Crystal was cast as Sammy Davis Jr. Crystal’s impersonation is considered the most flawless in SNL history.

This is just SNL up to their old tricks. Is it wrong? -Probably. Is it offensive? -To some. I’d be really interested to hear what people had to say about his performance and whether the actor’s race really makes a difference.

Truth 1Recent “Moment of Truth” contestant Lauren Cleri maybe heading for divorce because of her honesty. The show is a new low for television. USA Today said it correctly when they stated, “[Fox Reality] pursues bad taste with a zeal unrivaled in the industry”.

The show pits contestants against a polygraph and they are rewarded for telling the truth. That is fine and dandy but contestants have led anything but exemplary lives. They have cheated on their spouses, stole from their jobs, admitted to gambling problems and much more.

Contestants are so mesmerized by the chance to be on television and the thought of half a million dollars that they are willing to embarrass themselves and put themselves in ruin. Players do not consider that fact they could lose their jobs, their spouse or worse. The crowd could tell Monday that Cleri was going to be honest even if it ended her two year marriage to Frank Cleri. Host Mark Walberg even asked the contestant to stop but who knows if that is a genuine plea or merely a part of his job.

cleri momentContestants know what they are signing up for and should hardly act surprised about the results. According to an article in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, “Contestants’ friends and family are interrogated thoroughly. “They research your whole life,” says Christie Youssef, 22, who admitted she’s a virgin in the second episode. “I didn’t have any idea of the scope until afterward.”

All the questions are answered in advance when the player is connected to a polygraph. Contestants are just not aware of the results. They also have to put up with shocking twist, like when Cleri was read a question by her ex, Frank.

A polygraph is not a perfect tool that magically detects lies. While the lie detector is hardly flawless it is the best tool available but still should not be considered by any means a mind reader. New York polygraph expert Joel Reicherter explained how the machine worked in an article with The Columbian. Essentially, the polygraph monitors whether a person is trying to “‘beat the test by clenching muscles. The collected data is fed into the examiner’s laptop computer and charted. The program includes a comprehensive database of medications that affect the test, so those can be factored.”

Players unfortunately seem to be getting themselves into more trouble by admitting to the truth rather than merely attempting trying to beat the test.

Hopefully predictions about the show are correct and it will be pulled because of faltering ratings.

Be Kind Rewind takes on a light hearted subject in the mist of an onslaught of dramatic movies. Michel Gondry’s film veers away from the current trend in theaters. The film is experimental and uplifting while other top rated movies like No Country for Old Men and There Will Be Blood have been horrific and bloody.

Be Kind Rewind follows the plight of Mike (Mos Def) to help his guardian’s, Mr. Fletcher (Danny Glover), failing video store. Half-wit Jerry (Jack Black) unknowingly erases all the tapes when his brain becomes magnetized. In an effort to save the store, Mike and Jerry set out to “swede” popular titles including RoboCop and Ghostbusters.

Director Michel Gondry ventured a bit from his serious dream-like style as seen in The Science of Sleep and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. Be Kind Rewind did maintain a lot of imaginative qualities and reminded me of seeing a group boys playing the backyard. The movie plays out like every kid’s imagination comes to life.RoboJB

The actors seemed to interpret their roles like they were playing kids. It was hard to determine whether Mos Def was really in his mid 30s or a sniveling 12 year old. Mike came off as whiny and powerless to the whims of others around him including Jerry. Jack Black has made a career of being a big kid or immature, however you feel the need to interpret it.

The film had a good message which was appealing after weeks of mostly seeing blood and violence in the cinema. It was a great reminder to me why film is fun; may the imagination of film making live another day.

Every Fall a new lineup of shows emerge which audience can pick their favorites including the quirky Arrested Development. Although, some are innovative shows that break free from the sitcom formula they have little chances for survival.

Arrested DevelopmentTV execs are now relying on turning shows that have some cult appeal directly to DVD, on demand or online venues. When shows that have a loyal following slump in the ratings producers purposely cancel the show with plans to later release it.

In an interview with the Seattle Post-Intelligencer Paramount Home video Vice President of Publicity, Martin Blyth said, “There’s no question that studios are running out of catalog theatrical movies to release. There are only so many special edition revisits you can do. Television catalog in addition to the new television product is taking up the slack.”

There is further hope for the future of one tragically missed series, Arrested Development. Fans cry out for rumors of a movie version to come true. MSNBC’s host Keith Olbermann even got into the action with his segment “Come On”.

A previous post I did seemed to attract some viewers interested in details about Daniel Day-Lewis’s life. He is known for his unique method acting often finds it hard to separate himself from his character. Rumors circulated that while filming My Left Foot he refused to get up from his wheelchair often requiring the staff to carry and spoon feed him. This behavior may seem a little eccentric but it has ushered some great performances. He mentions in an interview with CinemaBlend.com he finds it hard to say goodbye to some of his characters.

It seems Daniel can adapt any character with great intensity but reserves his private life from the media. He carefully chooses his roles and has a reputation for dropping out of the entertainment industry with large time gaps between films.

Daniel Day-Lewis seems very connected with the characters that he creates and that it can be quite eerie at times. His public persona reflects an articulate person with an interesting upbringing.

There Will Be Blood reflected a lot of religious themes. Daniel did not like that interruption, noting that it was too broad. In an interview with The Wall Street Journal Daniel stated, “People already have made certain connections and invited us to think about it almost as if it’s a parable, a cautionary tale, a story that somehow has a clear reflection in our contemporary world,” he says. “But our work is a much narrower field of focus. And it’s vital for us that we, that in telling our story, we do it only with the intention of 096_daniel_day_lewis.jpgtrying to imagine that world, to create that very particular world, that very particular society within that world.”

Details on his own religious beliefs are scarce. He was born Posh, Jewish, and Irish but grew up in London. His Irish heritage attracted him to work on In the Name of the Father. He told the Wall Street Journal, “I did believe very strongly in the importance of telling that story about the Guildford Four, and probably my raising, my education, my cultural background led me to that place. But I choose not to dwell upon that when I’m working .”

Daniel Day-Lewis seems to maintain his religious beliefs have little to do with choosing the role in There Will Be Blood. He has mentioned in an interview from 2002 with poet Eileen Myles he considered himself agnostic.

Eileen Myers: Do you believe in god?
Daniel Day-Lewis: I’m still not sure. I suppose I’m a die-hard agnostic. I don’t know. Do you?
EM: I think I do, because I like the feeling of saying so. I grew up very educated to believe — Catholic School and all that. I bumped up against religion again some years later, and took it on when I would take anything on. Then I just started to think, “Maybe I do believe.” I like praying.
DDL: I never took the habit.
EM: The habit of prayer or the habit of religion?
DDL: I certainly prayed from time to time, but it was not something that I was brought up to do. We prayed at school, but I had no real religious education. Most of my contemporaries in Ireland are ferocious lapsed Catholics who exercise as much energy in despising the religion as they would in staying with it — it’s a full-time job. I think I’m a pagan, probably. If I ever took to religion it would probably be pre-Christian, but I’m quite ritualistic about clothes.

Edit: I am not quite sure what the interest has been behind his religion. It either is the themes of There Will Be Blood or Daniel Day-Lewis’s response to anti-gay protesters reacting to tributes to Heath Ledger for his role in Brokeback Mountain.

Daniel told the press, “We should leave [Heath] alone and we should leave his family alone to suffer their unimaginable grief in private and it’s not going to happen”.

He felt that the best way to stop the protesters was to ignore their demonstration. He said, “We should just stop encouraging people to have greater and greater interest in raking over every detail, which is none of our business anyhow.”

Japanese Vs American Horror

In deciding a victory in this it’s necessary to understand all the components of a horror movie. There should be a distinction between horror movies and a new genre that I refer to as “torture porn”. Movies like Hostel and The Hills Have Eyes have little in terms of plot in exchange for gore, blood and violence. Those are mainly an American development and compete among themselves for the most demented slaughter. I for the most part exclude those in my analysis and center more on classics films.

Here is a breakdown of some elements that have become a staple of the genre. Though all these elements are rarely all packed in one movie there is not one I can think of that excludes any of these:

Psychotic Killer: Viewers may not know the origin or motive of the villain but for some reason One Missed Call(usually fully explained by the sixth sequel) he wants to kill little Sally down the street.

Teenage Girls: -Either the bad girl who dies after having sex, or the heroine girl next door every movie has at least one. Japanese films have a habit of featuring screaming schoolgirls.

Monsters: This is a broad category ranging from Gamera and Godzilla todawnofdead.jpg Dracula and Romero’s zombies. In Japan, monster movies are so broad that they encompass their own genre.

Curse/ Ghost: This is prevalent in Japanese horror and probably much more scary to them considering their culture. They believe quite fanatically in ghost and curses. I think some fear is lost in the transition. They could be trapped in a house or your computer but either way these spirits want revenge.

Jump Scares: Is it the neighbor’s cat waiting around the corner or the psychotic killer? The creepy soundtrack tells people the latter. This is a cheap parlor trick is a staple of American films though it makes some appearances in Japanese movies.

The Creepy Kid: Damien, Rosemary’s baby and Reagan started the trend. They are followed by the girl in The Ring and that funny meowing kid in The Grudge. Moral of the story being don’t have children, most have some relation to the devil.

Japanese films that make their way into American theaters have more original screenplays. An onslaught of remakes have hit the United States in recent years. Most of them are literally just translations featuring the same effects, storyline and actors as the original. American produced films have either been remakes or sequels. Overall America has the most memorable features from Psycho to The Omen which unfortunately have been, excuse the pun, done (and redone) to death.

My vote in this battle goes to the Japanese. The future of horror genre lies in the capable hands of Japanese directors like Takashi Miike.

rs997american-idol-judges-rolling-stone-no-997-april-2006-posters.jpgTelevision has been invaded by a complete lineup of reality shows like American Idol. Reality programs bought the studios some time during the writers strike but everyone can already sense the trend will continue. Studios like the cheaply ran options like American Gladiators and only have to spend money on a select few programs.

A couple of series have created a dynasty that I am afraid will never die. American Idol continues its seventh season manufacturing another set of pop icons. Big Brother starts its ninth season doing whatever it does, what that is I am still not sure. Survivor may be running out of exotic hot spots. My bet is they will soon have to send the guests to Survivor Disneyland.

office-with-toby.jpgSitcoms have had a fair run but the market for new ones is quickly dying out. 30 Rock and The Office have a stronghold in the genre. Those two cant hold it down forever.

Sitcoms for the most part have become formulaic drones. I am just hoping for a third comedic option. Don’t make me choose between the two anymore.

I feel like I am stuck in the middle of Idiocracy. Soon we will all be laughing at the hit program Ow! My Balls!.

Rest in Peace HD

There was an official announcement today that put thebourne_identity_hddvd_box.jpg final nail in HD’s coffin. Although HD was the more affordable option, a reported $229-329 versus the $1000 Blue Ray (or the $600 PS3) it finally admitted defeat.

Toshiba even had a limited offer to have players available for $100 at Walmart.

Friday Walmart changed the deal and switched entirely to Blue Ray. In addition, Best Buy and Netflicks recently announced their switch to Blue Ray after months of stocking both.

Toshiba stands to lose millions when they leave the DVD market.

Another blogger has speculated about the possible outcomes for Toshiba. -And no word yet why Toshiba’s presence in the market can’t save them.

-At least I got to see the Bourne Supremacy in HD.