Posts Tagged ‘darren aronofsky’

Two Blondes Countdown to the Oscars: Best Director

February 26, 2011

The Nominees:

Darren Aronofsky Black Swan

David O. Russell The Fighter

Tom Hooper The King’s Speech

David Fincher The Social Network

Joel Coen and Ethan Coen True Grit


WHO WE THINK WILL WIN

Jessica:  Tom Hooper

Alison: Tom Hooper

WHO WE WANT TO WIN

Jessica:  I want Darren Aronofsky to win for Black Swan.  The movie takes so many turns and you’re never quite sure what is and isn’t reality in a delightful way.  Even after the movie ended I spent a while in my head trying to sort out what was real and I like movies that leave you still dissecting what went down hours after they have ended.  In Black Swan, those plot pirouettes (Get it?  Because it’s a ballet movie!) are due to Aronofsky.

Alison: I’d be happy with either Tom Hooper or Darren Aronofsky. I’ve always been an Aronofsky fan, and Black Swan is like no movie I’ve seen before. And The King’s Speech is pure filmmaking excellence.

Two Blondes Watch Their TiVo: The 81st Annual Academy Awards

February 23, 2009

Two Blondes watch their TiVo and mostly ramble about themselves:

ALISON SAYS:

THE PRE-SHOW

I watched a lot of the Oscar pre-show on E! and I mean A LOT.  I am pretty sure I’ve lowered my IQ by many points, but at least now I know that Anne Hathaway loves sushi and that puppies look really cute in little workout outfits.

I did find it amusing when Ben Lyons had a fake sword fight with several actors from Role Models and Ken Jeong wouldn’t quit hitting Ben and Ben yelled out “I don’t have health insurance.”  Later Ben assured his mother (on the air) that he was kidding and does have health insurance and not to worry.

Why is Debbie Matenopoulus orange?  I’m worried she’s not taking the right vitamins.

Was anyone else super creeped out by E!’s digital switching of actresses’ heads during the pre-show?

56827706I don’t want to make fun of Philip Seymour Hoffman.  He’s amazingly talented and why should he give a darn as to how he looks?  The thing is, he wore a knit cap to the Oscars.  A knit cap.  The kind I’d wear to Ralph’s along with sweatpants and a soup-stained flannel.

THE OSCARS

I’m a fan of Hugh Jackman’s.  The man is sexy, talented and kicks ass playing Wolverine.  But I didn’t think a guy that good looking could be funny as well.  I was wrong.  He was great and his opening number made me laugh.  I have also gained a newfound respect and appreciation for Anne Hathaway after her “musical interpretation” of Nixon.

Tina Fey & Steve Martin as presenters = hilarious to the point of almost snorting Coke through one’s nose (Coke as in Coca Cola, not the kind typically associated with Hollywood).  Tina Fey looked stunning, proving once again that life is not fair if one woman can be that talented, successful, funny, and still look that hot.
Even though I may have wanted WALL-E to win for Best Original Screenplay, it did make my heart warm to watch the talented Dustin Lance Black make his acceptance speech.  Usually it takes a happy, curious robot to make me tear up, but Dustin’s heartfelt words really moved me.  Jessica was also looking for a tissue to dab at her eyes.

I read an interesting quote from Simon Beaufoy who won for Best Adapted Screenplay for Slumdog Millionaire.  The screenwriter said of his goal for the script: “I wanted to get (across) the sense of this huge amount of fun, laughter, chat, and sense of community that is in these slums. What you pick up on is this mass of energy.”  I think he accomplished that goal with his script.

large_wall-eWALL-E won for Animated Feature Film!!!  Yay!!!  If you noticed a blonde woman hooting and hollering a couple blocks away from the actual Oscar ceremony, that was me.  I love, love, love this film and love, love, love Andrew Stanton and Pixar for making it.

Ben Stiller’s Joaquin Phoenix impression cracked me up.  I’m not sure if all of America was in on the joke or not, but Jessica and I were amused.  After it, my mom called during a commercial break to ask if I agreed with her that this was a bad Oscars show.  She felt liked everyone didn’t know what they were doing. I disagreed, but also explained a live show will always have glitches and that the crazy behavior in the last segment had been part of the act.

3303212977_dc2d582494-1I have not laughed out loud so much as I did during James Franco and Seth Rogen’s video segment.  Those two dudes are funny.  Though who really stole the show was cinematographer Janusz Kaminski with the line, “They made me do it, Mr. Spielberg.”

Okay, it wasn’t actually part of the Oscars, but it ran during them… the Tim Gunn Tide commercial.  Only Tim Gunn could make a laundry detergent ad classy.  Tim Gunn, you rock.

Danny Boyle’s Tigger jump during the acceptance of his Oscar was adorable.  He seems like a genuinely nice guy.  I’m happy he won, but I still wish Darren Aronofsky had at least been recognized for his work on The Wrestler.

Heath Ledger won the Oscar he deserved.  Jessica pulls out more tissues to dab at teary eyes as his family accepts the award on his behalf.

Kate Winslet wins.  I am very happy about this one.  I really respect this woman’s choices as an actress.  As for some of her male fans, they’ve gotta be worried that now that she’s won an Oscar, will she stop being nude in her movies?

hatersDuring his acceptance speech, Sean Penn mentioned some hate groups who had been protesting outside the Oscars.  Jessica and I actually ran into these people on Sunset Blvd.  As you might have guessed, they were weird and full of hate.  One woman was wearing an American flag as a sarong.  These haters had so many different signs with so many different messages, I found it confusing as to who they were wanting us to hate.  One person was holding a sign with a picture of Obama with horns, like he was half dragon.  I’m not sure if that’s meant to be insulting, but all I can say is it would be freaking awesome if we had a half man/half dragon for president.  No other country would ever want to f*ck with us, if they knew we could send a fire-breathing politican their way.

ph2009022300172It’s really amazing to watch a movie like Slumdog Millionaire take the world and the Oscars by storm.  And you could see this level of excitement and passion in the eyes of everyone who worked on the film.

JESSICA SAYS:

I’m mostly confused by E!’s coverage.  For instance, a cooking segment in evening gowns?  I don’t know who the woman leading this segment is, but she is wearing gold lamé, for God’s sake.

Marnie Norton, who is apparently a handbag designer, has turned the pre-show on E! into QVC.  She even did some Vanna White-inspired hand gestures.  Is this really the best coverage they could come up with for Oscar day?

Sal Maseka has recently retired from some sort of factory job; that’s just my assumption after seeing the giant gold watch he’s sporting.

Debbie Matenopoulos just said she is ‘scared’ of using blue or green eye makeup because she has brown eyes.  Scared?  What is she talking about?

Miley Cyrus is lobbying to be nominated for an Oscar next year.  Yes, I just said Miley Cyrus.  I know.  It seems ridiculous to me too.  I have no idea what this movie she’s talking about, but I will eat my hat if Miley Cyrus is nominated next year.

Now for a brief bit of comments on fashion:

Tim Gunn, I adore you.  You are the classy, sophisticated gay uncle I never had.  I also completely agree with something I heard you say on Good Morning America this week – your review of a dress depends on who is wearing it.  You gave the example of Tilda Swinton last year in the black velvet number.  You are totally right.  She is bohemian, so it is totally fitting that she wore an unusual dress.  She did it again this year, and I liked how she looked.  I don’t think everyone has to wear a jewel-toned dress with diamond drop earrings to look beautiful.

I loved Anne Hathaway’s dress.  Mr. Jay (America’s Next Top Model guru) instructed us on what we’re supposed to call those discs sewn on her dress and I’ve already forgotten.

I feel like a lot of people are going to hate-on Marisa Tomei’s dress for looking like napkins, but I really liked it.

Oh Miley.  She said the dress she’s wearing was the first dress she saw.  Miley, dear, you should have kept looking.  It reminds me a foil Christmas tree my grandma has.

Kate Winslet looks beautiful, as I had hoped.  Her hair is a bit pageant-y, but I still like it.

OSCAR CEREMONY

Opening number:  OK, I kind of find Hugh Jackman a little more adorable now (who knew that was possible).  And Anne Hathaway.  She and I should totally be friends.

I like the idea of having previous winners come out to give special little shout-outs to the five nominees, but this is going to be a really, really long show if they do this for every category and I’m not sure I really care to see five previous sound mixing winners (no offense guys).

Best Supporting Actress:  Penelope Cruz wins, not entirely surprising.  She was cute in her acceptance speech.  I still haven’t seen Vicky Cristina Barcelona, so I can’t really comment any more than that.

I LOVE TINA FEY.  I truly do.  She looks so pretty tonight.  Pretty, funny, smart; Tina, call me!  Let’s hang out, eat sandwiches, and play Rock Band.

Best original screenplay:  Milk.  That was a nice acceptance speech, but it will totally piss off those angry hate people Alison and I saw on the corner of Sunset and Highland.  Good for you!  I’m not even sure what they were protesting.  Something about fetuses, Barack Obama having horns like a ram, and saying the people who lost their homes in the recent fires deserved it.  God bless freedom of speech.

Best adapted screenplay:  Slumdog Millionaire.  I was a bit surprised here.  I expect it will take home the big prize, but the writing wasn’t necessarily one of the reasons I enjoyed Slumdog.

Best animated feature:  WALL-E.  I’m glad this won because it would have not been an enjoyable night with Alison, if it didn’t.  There would have been tears.  Copious tears.  She’s kind of obsessed.

Best animated short:  OK, Sir-I-don’t-know, just speak Japanese if you can’t speak English. Oh wait; you redeemed yourself by saying, “Domo arigato Mr. Roboto.” Styx totally rules!

sarah-jessica-parker-2009-oscarsSarah Jessica Parker can’t walk in her dress.  That seems silly to me.  I know fashion isn’t always practical, but she is struggling to walk the few steps from backstage to the podium.

Art direction and costumes are cool and integral to making a film excellent, but SNORE.  Those acceptances speeches are boring!

Another win for The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.  This is almost as boring as watching The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.

Ben Stiller as Joaquin Phoenix was pretty funny, but I imagine there are going to be a lot of people watching this show that will have no idea what that was about.  It you were confused, check out this clip from Late Night with David Letterman:


Cinematography had to go to Slumdog Millionaire.  If you saw that movie, you would know that there is no way any other movie could have won.  Cinematography made that film.

One of the funnier moments of the night so far came from watching James Franco watch himself kiss Sean Penn.

OK, I love musicals.  I really love them, but I didn’t love the ode to musicals.  I was also kind of annoyed at how obvious it was that Beyonce was singing to a pre-recorded dub.

Heath Ledger won.  I knew that would make me cry…and it did.

I like the sparkle curtain.  I don’t like the ceiling lights with tassels.  It feels a bit too much like a cocktail lounge.

The cast of Slumdog Millionaire and Danny Boyle are pretty adorable every time someone wins from their movie.

I’m very pleased Kate Winslet won, as I had hoped and predicted.  I still haven’t had a chance to see Milk, but I was amused the Sean Penn acknowledged how difficult it is to support him at times.  It is, Sean.  For instance, when you couldn’t take Chris Rock’s joke about Jude Law.  I’m glad you showed tonight that you can actually laugh.

Slumdog Millionaire takes home the big prize to little surprise.  I enjoyed the parts of the show with Hugh Jackman, but the middle of the show really dragged and this is coming from someone who is a bit of a film nerd.

And now we leave you with a picture of traffic during the Oscars.

oscar-traffic

Two Blondes Make Predictions: The Oscars

February 21, 2009

Two Blondes shake their glittery Magic 8 Ball and make some predictions about the Oscars:

ALISON SAYS:

pixar_walle1BEST PICTURE:
Who I think will win: Slumdog Millionaire
Who I want to win: WALL-E
I can’t describe how much I love WALL-E.  It’s one of the only films in my life to make me cry (my heart is normally protected by a hard stone cover).  I’ve never seen a character as loving, fragile and as wonderful as that goshdarn little robot.  I’m sure admitting this publicly will take away what little “street cred” I have (if any), but I can’t refrain from gushing over WALL-E.  Even my cell phone has a ring that involves that little robot yelling out “EVE-A.”

DIRECTING:
Who I think will win: Slumdog Millionaire
Who I want to win: The Wrestler, but Darren Aronofsky isn’t even nominated.
Dear Academy,
WTF?
Alison

frozen_river_melissa_leoACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLE:
Who I think will win: Kate Winslet
Who I want to win: If you’d asked me five days ago, (before I received Frozen River on Netflix), I would have called it a tie between Meryl Streep and Kate Winslet.  But now after having watched Frozen River, I’ve gotta put the tie between Melissa Leo and Kate Winslet.  I’d also go so far as to call Melissa Leo’s performance almost as raw and gritty as Mickey Rourke’s (of course the films couldn’t be more different, but there’s something to both performances that struck a nerve with me and exhibited a lack of vanity).

ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE:
Who I think will win: Marisa Tomei.  And I hope she says “See?!  It wasn’t a fluke.”
Who I want to win: Marisa Tomei, followed closely by Viola Davis.  Both women blew me away.

wrestler-aronofsky-promo-01ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE:
Who I think will win: Toss up between Frank Langella and Mickey Rourke.
Who I want to win: Mickey Rourke.  He’s fucking amazing in The Wrestler.
Mom, I’m sorry to swear, but it’s the truth.
I also wish there was a “Shout Out Best Actor” Oscar category that could be given to Ben Burtt for creating the voice and sounds for WALL-E.

ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE:
Who I think will win: Heath Ledger
Who I want to win: Tie between Heath Ledger and Phillip Seymour Hoffman.
Both were stunning performances.  An honorable mention for funny must be given to Robert Downey Jr. for Tropic Thunder.  I can’t imagine any other actor pulling off what he did in that film.  I don’t think that means he should get an Oscar over the other nominees, but I’m sure glad he’s being recognized.

WRITING (ADAPTED SCREENPLAY):
Who I think will win: Slumdog Millionaire
Who I want to win: Doubt
I loved Slumdog Millionaire, but I think I loved it because it moves you while you’re watching it.  Afterwards, after the music and lights have faded, you wonder about some holes in the script and story, but it was still a film that made you sad and happy and in between throughout, so you forgive those flaws.  But in regards to Doubt, it performs on every level.  I can’t think of any weakness in it.  The script is pitch perfect.

walle_lgWRITING (ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY):
Who I think will win: Milk
Who I want to win: WALL-E.
Have I mentioned I love WALL-E?  Cause I do.  As I type this, I can look to my left and see a little WALL-E figurine sitting on my desk.  And every time I look at it, my heart swells.

ANIMATED FEATURE FILM:
Who I think will win: I’m really not sure, but Kung Fu Panda did sweep the Annie Awards.
Who I want to win: WALL-E.
You may have noticed a theme of me loving WALL-E.  On a sidenote, I do think Kung Fu Panda is wonderful and one of the best films DreamWorks has made.  I also find it really exciting how many animated films there are that are entertaining for audiences of all ages.

ART DIRECTION:
Who I think will win: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button or Changeling
Who I want to win: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button or Changeling

slum-dog-millionaireCINEMATOGRAPHY:
Who I think will win: Slumdog Millionaire
Who I want to win: Slumdog Millionaire
Every nominee should get a gold star in my humble but accurate opinion.  They’re all beautiful films.

COSTUME DESIGN:
Who I think will win: No idea.
Who I want to win: I’m not sure who I want to win, but I really want all of the dresses Kate Winslet wears in Revolutionary Road and all the hats Angelina Jolie wears in Changeling.  Can someone please arrange that for me?  I’d be your best friend forever!

FILM EDITING:
Who I think will win: Slumdog Millionaire
Who I want to win: The Dark Knight

MUSIC:
Who I think will win: Slumdog Millionaire
Who I want to win: WALL-E
While I loved the music in Slumdog Millionaire and have downloaded the album on iTunes, it’s the music in WALL-E that moved me and continues to move with every viewing in a way I’ve never experienced on any other film.  As I’ve said, I love that little robot.

SOUND EDITING:
Who I think will win: WALL-E
Who I want to win: WALL-E

SOUND MIXING:
Who I think will win: WALL-E
Who I want to win: WALL-E

benjamin_button_poster_lgVISUAL EFFECTS:
Who I think will win: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Who I want to win: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button and WALL-E
No matter whether you’re a Benjamin Button lover or hater, you can’t deny what the visual effects department accomplished in the film.  Visually, the film is a masterpiece, as is WALL-E.

*You may have noticed that there were quite a few ties in my choices.  I obviously suffer from indecision and an intense love of good filmmaking.  Also, it’s really hard to decide when you’re aware of how much work, blood, sweat and tears went into every film.

Congratulations and best wishes to all the nominees!
XXOO Alison

JESSICA SAYS:

BEST ACTOR:
My pick, were I an Academy member, would be Mickey Rourke and I’ll be shocked if he doesn’t win.  I haven’t seen The Visitor or Milk yet, so I can’t speak to Sean Penn’s and Richard Jenkins’ performances.  Running a close second here is Frank Langella.  If anyone can step in front of Rourke, it’s Frank Langella as Richard Nixon.  He is fantastic and already has a Tony for this role.  However, I’m giving the upper hand to Rourke because, besides the fact that he gave an outstanding performance, there is nothing folks like more than an underdog.

heath_ledger_joker_9BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR:
OK, I recently changed my mind on this one.  I think Heath Ledger will win – it’s almost absolute at this point.  He was a great actor and it truly is a shame we won’t get to see any future work from him.  He was great in The Dark Knight.  However, I’ve decided my vote (if I got one) in this category would go to Philip Seymour Hoffman.  The more I have reflected on it, the more I really am astounded by his performance in Doubt. ( I haven’t seen Milk or Tropic Thunder.)

kate-winslet-the-reader-3BEST ACTRESS
Kate Winslet.  My reason is the same as everyone else’s (I presume).  She is great in The Reader, but I’m also picking her for all those times she hasn’t won yet.  Plus, she’s totally awesome and will give a killer acceptance speech.  I totally respect the fact that she makes no bones about wanting to win.  You should want to win. ( I haven’t seen Frozen River.)

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS:
This is the category that is notoriously hard to pick, e.g. the last time Marisa Tomei won.  Personally, I would vote for Amy Adams in Doubt, although I loved Viola Davis and Marisa Tomei too.
BEST DIRECTOR:
Danny Boyle for Slumdog Millionaire.  It is rare that Best Picture and Best Director don’t go hand and hand, so…

slumdog_millionaireBEST PICTURE:
Slumdog Millionaire.  It will win, but Frost/Nixon is deserving as well.

OTHER CATEGORY PREDICTIONS:
Best Editing – Frost/Nixon
Best Foreign Language Film – Waltz with Bashir
Best Sound Editing – WALL-E (watch the DVD extras-they’re great)
Best Sound Mixing – The Dark Knight
Best Adapted Screenplay – Doubt
Best Original Screenplay – WALL-E

oscar_sallykirkland1

OTHER PREDICTIONS:
I predict Sally Kirkland and Faye Dunaway will inexplicably be in attendance.  They have both been at the previous two ceremonies and have served to only make me fear the ageing process that much more. I can only hope they reappear so I can read what Go Fug Yourself has to say about an ensemble like this:

I predict Renee Zellweger, if she attends, will usurp Jessica Simpson and Lindsay Lohan as the new most talked about weight issue.

Two Blondes Go To A Movie: The Wrestler

January 28, 2009

Two Blondes review movies and ramble a lot about themselves:

JESSICA SAYS:

Normally, if you said to me, “Jessica, do you want to go see that new Mickey Rourke movie about professional wrestlers,” I would politely decline and then reevaluate why we are friends. That was until I saw the preview for The Wrestler before The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. I was intrigued. It actually looked good. Really good. Guess what? It totally is good.
Nine 1/2 Weeks was the only Mickey Rourke movie I had seen before now and I had never seen a Darren Aronofsky film. I know, I should totally see Pi and Requiem for a Dream and I want to, I just haven’t made it around to them yet (especially Requiem for a Dream; it stars my pretend boyfriend, Jordan Catalano…ahem, I mean Jared Leto. He’s so pretty.). What I did know about Mickey Rourke was, and I don’t know how to say this politely, but…OK, forget polite, the freak show that was his face after too much or just really bad plastic surgery.  But hey, I still enjoy Kathy Griffin even with somewhat distracting plastic surgery. I loved that Aronofsky made the decision to follow Rourke from behind for the first few minutes of the film. It had the combined effect of letting you get into the story without the distraction of Rourke’s face, while at the same time building tension for it’s arrival. mickey-rourke-ba1

The fact that I really enjoyed this movie is all the more remarkable when you consider that I abhor professional wrestling. My grandpa and my cousin, David, used to watch it when I was a kid and it scared the bejeezus out of me. Randy ‘Macho Man’ Savage, Jake the Snake, and of course, Hulk Hogan. I would try to watch with them, but I just couldn’t stand it. Even though I knew it was ‘fake,’ I found nothing enjoyable about watching a man hit another man with a folding chair. You don’t have to have any opinion on the WWF to appreciate this film.

Marisa Tomei is great. I never saw My Cousin Vinny, but I know there have always been rumblings that she didn’t deserve her Oscar for it. She deserves any accolades she gets for this part. Not to mention that every inch of her body is on full display in The Wrestler and she looks damn good. It’s fair to say that her performance is naked in every sense of the word, which is a pretty remarkable thing to watch.

I was really moved by this movie. If broke my heart a little, so if you’re looking for a pick-me-up, this is not the film. I won’t give away the specifics of the ending, but I will say I was pleased with it. Not everything is tied up with a little bow for you. For a change, an American film gives the audience’s intelligence the benefit of the doubt. Thank you.

I recommend seeing this film as soon as possible. Mom, if you’re reading, be warned that there are squirm-inducing injuries in this film–think staple gun. *Shiver*

ALISON SAYS:

It took me a while to finally sit down and write my review for The Wrestler. 45% of that may be contributed to procrastination and a new fascination with Hulu.com (yes, I know I’m behind the times, but I had an old computer up until recently that didn’t work well with Hulu). Anyway, my point is besides the 45% procrastination, there was also the 55% (is that math right?) that had to do with wanting to do this film justice and being able to put into words how I felt watching this film. The word “wrecked” comes to mind.
I never thought I’d be so moved by a film about a guy who spends his time in tanning booths and lycra, especially one starring Mickey Rourke. But that is why Darren Aronofsky is a genius (not that I’m not a genius, but on the genius scale, I would put Aronofsky just a tad higher). And that is also why I am saddened that Aronofsky wasn’t nominated for an Oscar for Best Directing. I haven’t seen The Reader or Milk yet, and of the other films in that category that I have seen, they were excellent movies and directors who proved why they’re at the top of their game. But nothing comes close to the surprising (some might say shocking) performance that Aronofsky got out of Mickey Rourke. I can’t imagine any other film feeling as real and heartbreaking as this one does. Aronofsky is a master at this, as can be seen in Requiem For A Dream, an amazing film.

leapThe Wrestler is gritty. It seems like a cliché word to use, but it fits. The graininess of the footage and the close-ups of Rourke’s surgery-ravaged face. Every bleak detail of Randy ‘The Ram’ Robinson’s life broke my heart. There’s something about a over the hill, tanned, strangely chiseled man with bleached hair putting in a hearing aid or wearing bifocals that wrenched at my heart like nothing I’ve ever felt in a film before. Mickey Rourke deserves every accolade coming his way. I only hope he learns from the tragedy of the character he plays in The Wrestler, and uses some of that wisdom to deal with his rebirth as a movie star. Praise must also be heaped on Marisa Tomei. It took guts and fearlessness to play that role. I’m not just talking about being almost nude in the film. Tomei shows she is an Oscar worthy actress, along with still having an amazing body.

Sidenote: I found it interesting the script was written by Robert D. Spiegel, former Editor in Chief of The Onion, of which I am a big fan. I was also surprised he wasn’t nominated for an Oscar for Best Screenplay.

Personal note: I used to watch wrestling on TV with my dad as a kid. Maybe that’s why I was so moved at seeing what some of my childhood entertainers may have turned into.

LA Viewers: Go see it now! It’s worth paying full price at the Grove or Arclight for.

Translation for non-LA natives: This a film worth seeing in the theaters.

d_aronoksfy_-_the_wrestler_low_3