Film/Arts/Satire*
(*homocinematically inclined)

Friday, November 30, 2007

I Want My Gay TV

AfterElton.com has posted the results of their recent poll asking readers to pick their favorite gay TV characters, and they are, overall, both surprising yet predictable. Not to mention controversial, considering some of the comments posted on the site in its aftermath.

Seems some readers aren't too happy with the top two picks, Brian Kinney (Gale Harold) from Queer as Folk and Jack MacFarland (Sean Hayes) from Will and Grace. These two characters, they say, are representative of the two worst stereotypes of gay men, that of the sex-obsessed narcissist and the flamboyant queen. Granted, those are indeed stereotypes that are too often relied on in depicting gay characters on television (and movies and ...). However, stereotypes are based on truth and, guess what, there are sex-obsessed narcissists and flamboyant queens out there in the world (you could say "some of my best friends are"). Furthermore, quite a few of the top 25 (and those who voted for them?) could also be labeled as such.

What seems to have been forgotten is that the original question wasn't "which character best represents gay men on TV" (which, assuredly, would have netted far different results), it was "which character is your favorite"; in other words, this was a popularity poll, guys, and both QAF and W&G were, like it or not, extremely popular shows (it is worth noting that these two series also had the most characters in the countdown, with five and three respectively). Brian and Jack, regardless of their flaws (or maybe because of them) were (and, apparently, still are) very popular characters.

Inspired by AfterElton's list, I've posted a bonus MD Poll this week, asking you to pick your favorite gay TV character from their top ten. You can find the extra poll in the sidebar to the right, beneath the regular poll (which you can still vote on too, if you haven't already). Like always, the bonus poll will run for a week, so be sure to check back next Saturday for the final (controversial?) results.

UPDATE: This poll is now closed. Click here for the results, and click here to vote in the latest MD Poll.

Link via AfterElton.com.

Awards Watch: The Satelllites

The International Press Academy announced today their nominees for their 12th annual Satellite Awards ... and don't worry if you've never heard of them. This offshoot group of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association is even wackier in their choices then the HFPA is with their more well-known Golden Globes. Kristopher Tapley at Variety's Red Carpet District blog sums them up appropriately by calling them the "let's nominate everyone" awards (literally; in addition to movies and TV like the Globes, they also hand out trophies to DVDs and video games).

Such mostly forgotten films as The Lookout, Stephanie Daley and Goya's Ghosts are included, while biggies like Into the Wild, Charlie Wilson's War and Sweeney Todd are nowhere to be found (the latter two may not have been screened in time, which just makes these even more irrelevant). Granted, some movies we don't want to be forgotten, like Zodiac and 3:10 to Yuma, were remembered, but then again, it doesn't really matter much in the big race anyway, as this untelevised event makes as much impact as a "fart in a windstorm", as Big Edie used to say.

Again, like the Globes, the oddest thing about the Satellites is the category placement, i.e.: what they deem a drama or comedy/musical (I'll be chiming in on the Globes recent decisions on that matter in a future Awards Watch). For example, there's always the question of where to put the music biopics; are they a drama (yes) or musical (no, but they are often called that anyway by these two groups). Apparently, there is no hard and fast rules for this, as this year we have Marion Cotillard as Edith Piaf in La Vie en Rose competing for drama, while Cate Blanchett's turn as Bob Dylan in I'm Not There is in the comedy/musical race (to make it even more confounding, their categories are reversed for the Globes). In the meantime, such Movie Dearest favorites as Hairspray and Enchanted are snubbed in one way or another (although they did get four and two nominations, respectively).

The awards (pictured above ... hey, does that thing get Direct TV?) will be presented December 16. See the comments section below for a quick look at the full list of movie nominations.

Links via PressAcademy.com and Variety.com.

Brokeback Jake as Broadway Joe

He's played a bubble boy, a Santa hat-sportin' marine, a nerdy cartoonist and, you know, a gay cowboy (actually, bisexual ranch hand is more apt), and now Jake Gyllenhaal will portray Hall of Fame footballer Joe Namath in an upcoming biopic.

Although it remains to be seen if the life of the former New York Jets quarterback is worth reliving on the silver screen (sounds more like TV movie material to me), it does give us a good reason to see our boy Jake all butched and beefed up again (yeah, like we need a good reason for that).

And while Namath himself tried his hand at acting, one hopes that they leave out the grueling behind-the-scenes dramas of such forgettable attempts as C.C. and Company and Chattanooga Choo Choo. However, you know we're all waiting to see Jakie reenact Joe's most (in)famous onscreen appearance. "Somehow, everything looks better through BeautyMist" indeed.

Links via Variety.com, Imdb.com and YouTube.com.

Is This the Best You Can Do?

Over at NewNextNow, one of the many LOGO Online sites (how many do they need, anyway?), they are running several polls to determine the best in gay pop culture, circa 2007.

You can place your vote in the usual categories, such as "best gay movie" (where Eytan Fox's The Bubble is currently leading) and favorite gay character on a TV series (go Kevin Walker of Brothers and Sisters!), or more ... how do I say this ... superficial ones, like the "cutest male pop star" or "favorite gossip blog".

By the time it gets to "favorite Facebook application" (huh?) or one of many questions about Britney Spears, you may just want to write off '07 and hope (pray) for a better '08.

Poster Post: Winter Wonderlands

If you can't wait until next Friday to see Nicole Kidman, Daniel Craig and Ian McKellen as a bear (no, not this kind of bear) in The Golden Compass, then I have good news for you: the new fantasy adventure is having a special sneak preview in over 800 theaters nationwide tomorrow night. (Visit Fandangoto find out where it is playing in your area.)

And if that still isn't enough for you, you can watch these two new exclusive scenes from Compass, as well as read recent interviews with director Chris Weitz and star Kidman (where she also discusses her other new movie, Margot at the Wedding). And as for all those religious types who are pooh-poohing the film without even seeing it, they might want to gain some perspective by reading this. Or not, you know how that kind can be ...

Click here to buy Golden Compassposters from Amazon.com.
Links via YouTube.com, Yahoo.com, MTV.com, WashingtonPost.com and Cinematical.com.

Tune in to TCM: Jolly Holidays

Turner Classic Movies is celebrating the month of December in seasonal style with a collection of holiday favorites, including Reginald Owen in A Christmas Carol (9), Robert Mitchum in Holiday Affair (23, 24) and Barbara Stanwyck in Christmas in Connecticut (23). On the 2nd you'll find the original Shop Around the Corner (with Jimmy Stewart) and its musical remake In the Good Old Summertime (with Judy Garland), while Robert Osborne serves up a batch of his picks on Christmas Eve, including Cary Grant and Loretta Young in The Bishop's Wife and Bing Crosby and Ingrid Bergman in The Bell's of St. Mary's. Christmas Day finds three epic tales of the Christ (King of Kings, The Greatest Story Ever Told and Ben-Hur), and who could pass up a marathon of Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers musicals on New Year's Eve.

The lovely and talented Irene Dunne is the Star of the Month, with 28 of her films airing over each Thursday. In addition to her five Oscar nominated performances (Theodora Goes Wild and The Awful Truth on the 20th; I Remember Mama, Love Affair and Cimarron on the 27th), the channel will show Thirteen Women (6), wherein Irene is terrorized by -- Myrna Loy!, and James Whales' Show Boat, wherein Irene dons black face.

Other TCM salutes next month include director William A. Wellman (every Wednesday), John Ford (his Fox films, 10 and 11) and John Gielgud (4), while Broadway legend Elaine Stricht takes on Guest Programmer duties on the 3rd. December 7th finds a tribute to the "day that will live in infamy", and don't miss the Movie Dearest pick of the month, The Opposite Sex (3), the musical remake of The Women starring June Allyson, Dolores Gray, Joan Collins and Ann Miller.

Numbers in parenthesis are the airdates for each program; check the TCM schedule for showtimes in your area.

Links via TCM.com.

Out in Film: Alan Cumming

Idol worship: Alan Cumming, actor/puckish provocateur.
- What he's known for: A string of memorably mischievous characters on stage and screen.
- When did we first notice him: The mid-90's were the Cumming years, with his sit-up-and-take-notice roles in Circle of Friends, GoldenEye, Emma and Romy and Michele's High School Reunion.
- Other choice roles: The Great Gazoo in The Flintstones in Viva Rock Vegas; evil kiddie show host Fegan Floop in the Spy Kids movies; the blue-skinned, teleporting mutant Nightcrawler in X2: X-Men United.
- Renaissance man: Co-wrote, co-directed, co-produced and co-starred in the movie The Anniversary Party with Jennifer Jason Leigh.
- Awards on his mantel: A Tony Award (among many others) for his enigmatic Emcee in Cabaret; the Vito Russo Award from GLAAD.
- What else has he done: More musicals with Annie and Reefer Madness on TV and Threepenny Opera on Broadway; several guest spots on TV faves Frasier, Sex and the City and The L Word; voices Chuck on Rick & Steve, the Happiest Gay Couple in All the World.
- Side jobs: Author of the novel Tommy's Tale;creator of his own fragrance, appropriately named "Cumming".
- Bet you didn't know: Originally aspired to be a veterinarian; got his first big break on a Scottish soap opera.
- Yes, it's true: Married his partner, artist Grant Shaffer, earlier this year in London; he is probably the only actor to have worked with both Stanley Kubrick and The Spice Girls.
- Nickname: "Uppin Cumming", appropriately.
- Can we quote you on that: "The fact that somebody like me is a sex symbol, it's kind of good I think, because it's not like I'm a big muscle man or any of those things that normally are treated as sex symbols. It's quite a good kind of thing for skinny people."
- And another thing: "I'm not sure if you could say what I did in Cabaret was dancing. I thought of it more as rubbing my genitals to a beat."
- Where you can learn more: In his autobiography, appropriately titled Cumming Soon.
- Where we can see him next: Taking on two fantastic literary characters and one historical one: first, he reimagines the Scarecrow in the freaky Wizard of Oz mini-series Tin Man, airing on the Sci Fi Channel next week (check out the trailer here); then he'll be the Mad Hatter to Rebecca Romijn's Alice in a Wonderland update appropriately titled Hatter; and finally, will play Adolph Hitler in the animated comedy Jackboots on Whitehall.

Links via Imdb.com, YouTube.com, Amazon.com, CummingTheFragrance.com, SciFi.com and HollywoodReporter.com.

MD Poll: Come December

As 2007 draws to a close, one thing is on every movie fan’s mind: “I can’t wait to see (fill in the blank)!”

Are you jonesing for Juno? Sweatin' bullets for Sweeney? Anxious for Atonement? Well, now's your chance to vote for the most eagerly-awaited movie release of December in this week's MD Poll, located in the sidebar at right.

Voting will run for a week, so be sure to check back next Friday for the results!

UPDATE: This poll is now closed. Click here for the results,and click here to vote in the latest MD Poll.

MD Poll: The Foulest One of All

Leave it to Movie Dearest readers to pick the Disney villainess who caused all that trouble just because she wasn’t invited to a party.

Maleficent, the devilish diva from Sleeping Beauty, received the most votes (34.3 % of 105 total) to be named your favorite bad girl, with The Little Mermaid's Sea Witch, Ursula (now back on Broadway), placing second. The original wicked queen (from Snow White, that is) came in third, while Cruella de Vil has to share fourth place with the two most recent inductees, HSM 2’s Sharpay and Enchanted’s Narissa.

For the complete rundown, see the comments section below, and the next MD Poll will be posted shortly.

Click here to vote in the latest MD Poll.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

For Your Consideration

As the awards hype is kicking into high gear, you may wonder: what exactly is an "Oscar movie"?

That's a good question. And here's the answer.

Link via YouTube.com.

Full Frontal DVD

As Chris Carpenter notes in his recent article for the Long Beach Blade, this was the year of the full frontal (and can I have a "hallelujah" for that): Viggo Mortensen in a nude smack down in Eastern Promises, Emile Hirsch going nature boy in Into the Wild, the entire cast of Naked Boys Singing! ... well, gettin' nekid and singin'.

If you missed these cinematic displays of the male member in theaters, or just want to freeze frame them to your heart's content, all three are heading to DVD soon (and can be pre-ordered from Amazon.com below):
As for our Sapphic sisters and straight brethren, you can get your dose of boobies and all that ... other stuff ... thanks to this list of the best "ladies only" nude scenes of 2007, courtesy Mr. Skin, the site made famous in Knocked Up.

Links via GayBlade.com and MrSkin.com.

No Flash in the Pan

It took about two decades, but the 1980 sci fi adventure Flash Gordon is getting some love at last. The campy/ homoerotic Dino De Laurentiis production attempted to give the vintage serial hero a big screen blockbuster. Alas, it crashed and burned upon its initial release, but has since gained a cult following among those of us who love a good bad movie. We love its pathetic special effects, its rockin' theme song, its Sam J. Jones in a leather diaper.

Flash ("Ah-aah!") finally got a DVD releaseearlier this year, and now we have a deluxe action figure line from designer Alex Ross. In addition to Jones' Gordon (clad in his tight little crimson and black tank top), there's Max von Sydow as the merciless Ming, evil emperor of the planet Mongo. Now all we need is Timothy Dalton's Prince Barin, and you can reenact scenes from that other movie, Flesh Gordon, which is so bad ... no, it's just bad.

Click here to purchase the Alex Ross Flash Gordon Movie 7-Inch Figures Wave 1 Setfrom Entertainment Earth.

Links via Imdb.com, YouTube.com and Amazon.com.

You Are 38, Going on 17 ...

When you imagine Zac Efron older, say, 18 years from now, how do you picture him? Well, according to the casting director of his next movie, 17, he'll look a lot like Matthew Perry.

That's right, in Zac's upcoming Big-in-reverse flick, Perry (in what can only be described as an odd career choice for a former Friend) will portray the "before" version of Zac's character; that is, before he wakes up in the body of a teenager and goes back to high school to "bond with his kids". Knocked Up's Leslie Mann co-stars as the wife of Matthew/Zac (lucky bitch ... at least in the "after" scenes).

The comedy will start filming early next year for a 2009 release.

UPDATE: Oh La La has onset pix of Zac's new look for the flick.

UPDATE 2: Apparently, the movie has gone through a title change and now will be called Seventeen Again. And no, it is not now a prequel to 18 Again!

Links via Imdb.com, HollywoodReporter.com, OhLaLaParis.com and MTV.com.

The Latest in Theaters: Savage Love

Slim pickings this week, with only one wide release ... and that one stars Jessica Alba. However, we'll start things off with the two Oscar-baiters (and recent Indie Spirit nominees) that are opening in limited release this weekend:

- First up is The Savages, starring Philip Seymour Hoffman and Laura Linney as estranged siblings who most overcome their differences when their father (Philip Bosco) falls ill. The critics are already loving this one, written and directed by Tamara Jenkins, and all three stars are gaining awards buzz.

- Next is The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, Julian Schnabel's biopic about Elle France magazine editor Jean-Dominique Bauby (Mathieu Amalric), who, when paralyzed by a stroke, dictates his memoirs, one blink at a time. Cynics could call it My Left Eye, but the French film (also starring Emmanuelle Seigner and Max von Sydow) is reportedly devastatingly moving and cinematically beautiful (it won the Audience Award at the recent AFI Fest).

- Hayden Christensen undergoes heart surgery, only he is Awake during the whole thing ... and hears the doctors planning to murder him! Sort of a medical version of Sorry, Wrong Number (if Barbara Stanwyck was asleep through the whole thing, that is), this thriller co-stars Jessica Alba, Lena Olin and Terrence Howard, who apparently is in everything this year (this is his fifth movie so far, with one more to go next month).

Fandango - Search movie showtimes and buy tickets!
Links via Imdb.com, AVClub.com, Variety.com, CNN.com and AwardsDaily.com.

Broadway Back in Business

The Broadway strike is over: after 19 days, the striking stagehands will return to work tomorrow night and all the lights will soon be back on on the Great White Way. Local One, the stagehand union, and the League of American Theatres and Producers reached a tentative agreement late last night that will see all the shows that were shut down going on starting with Thursday night's performances.

Such shows as A Bronx Tale, A Chorus Line, Avenue Q, Chicago, The Color Purple, Grease, Hairspray, Legally Blonde - The Musical, The Lion King, Mamma Mia!, The Phantom of the Opera, Rent, Monty Python's Spamalot and Wicked were all affected by the strike, while Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas was able to reopen last week due to a Supreme Court injunction. To celebrate its reopening, Chicago (currently starring The Sopranos stars Aida Turturro and Vincent Pastore) will be offering special ticket prices for their first pre-strike show.

Disney's The Little Mermaid, which was in the middle of previews when the strike started and subsequently postponed its planned December 6 opening, should be announcing its new schedule shortly.

UPDATE: And here it is: The Little Mermaid has resumed previews, and will have its official opening January 10.

Links via Playbill.com.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

The Barber and the Baker

The Sweeney Todd onslaught has begun ... first, two more poster images above, which means there's now like, 722 of them. Note the Saw-like body parts sticking out of Mrs. Lovett's meat pies ... cool, in an "ew" kind of way.

A slew of film clips, featurettes and behind-the-scene footage popped up over at IESB.net this week (Playbill.com has a rundown of their contents if you want to wait and see the movie spoiler free), including Stephen Sondheim in a mini-"making of" and the first extensive looks at Alan Rickman and Sacha Baron Cohen in character. Meanwhile, the CW aired a brief promo recently, wherein Johnny Depp describes the movie as Tim Burton's "giant salute to classic horror films".

Playbill also has the track lists for the two versions of the upcoming soundtrack album (currently available for pre-orderfrom Amazon.com). If you can't wait that long though, you can hear some of the music now by visiting the movie's official website, now live and filled with image galleries and various downloads, including countdown banners like the one sitting near the bottom of this page. And for you Depp fans, you can enter for a chance to meet the demon barber himself at Sweeney's own My Space page (and while you're there, check out Movie Dearest's very own page as well).

Click here to buy Sweeney Toddposters from Amazon.com.
Links via IESB.net, Playbill.com, YouTube.com, LATimes.com, SweeneyToddMovie.com and MySpace.com.

They're (Not) Your Dreamgirls

We've all seen "And I'm Telling You I'm Not Going" performed by the two Jennifers, Holiday and Hudson (and even Jake Gyllenhaal), but how about Katherine Hepburn, Rosie O'Donnell and Little Edie? Those three and more are embodied by the multi-talented mimic, Christine Pedi in this performance of the classic Dreamgirls showstopper. (Not to spoil it for you, the full list of women Pedi performs as is listed in the comments section below).

Not to be outdone, Hugh Jackman channels both Sheryl Lee Ralph and Peter Allen in his high-kickin' take on "One Night Only" at the 2004 Tony Awards. Watch for appearances by the casts of Avenue Q, Wicked and even Fiddler on the Roof, gettin' down with their Anatevkian bad selves.

However, by far the most surreal of Dreamgirls covers is this little number from the NBC 60th anniversary special circa 1986, wherein such then-current network stars as Nell Carter, Bea Arthur and Charlotte Rae croon "Family". Even little Punky Brewster shows up.

Click here to buy Dreamgirlson DVD from Amazon.com.
Links via ChristinePedi.com and YouTube.com.

Women We Love: Carol Channing

Object of our affection: Carol Channing, actress/jazz baby.
- Why we love her: For her oversized personality and truly unique performing style that has proved, time and time again, that bigger is always better.
- Awards on her mantel: Tony Award for her signature role, Dolly Levi, in Hello, Dolly!; Golden Globe award and Oscar nomination for her "raspberry"-spouting Muzzy in Thoroughly Modern Millie. She is also the recipient of two honorary Tony Awards.
- Other choice roles: Onstage, was the original Lorelei Lee in Gentleman Prefer Blondes and its sequel, Lorelei; on film, played gangster Jackie Gleason's wife in the cult comedy Skidoo.
- She was robbed: When it came time to immortalize them onscreen, she was overlooked by the Dolly and Blondes moviemakers in favor of younger actresses.
- What else has she done: Appeared in numerous TV variety series and specials, game shows and Broadway-based programs, including six appearances on The Love Boat as your cruise director Julie's sassy Aunt Sylvia.
- Yes, it's true: She and fellow Broadway legend Ethel Merman (who was one of Carol's replacements as Dolly) loathed each other, but reportedly became friends while filming "The Love Boat Follies".
- Bet you didn't know: Early in her show biz career, was a model in Los Angeles; her trademark blonde bob is actually a wig -- she is allergic to bleach.
- What a trooper: Never missed a performance as Dolly, a role she reprised in two Broadway revivals and several national tours.
- You go girl: An advocate for gay rights, she was the celebrity hostess of Hollywood's Gay Pride Day in 2002.
- Can we quote you on that: "I'm terribly shy, but of course no one believes me. Come to think of it, neither would I."
- Random punchline: "Corn? When did I eat corn?"
- What is she up to now: Most recently appeared in the documentary Show Business: The Road to Broadway.
- Where you can learn more: At "The Official Website of Carol Channing".

Links via Imdb.com, YouTube.com and CarolChanning.org.

Monthly Wallpaper - December 2007: Holiday Movies

To celebrate the upcoming holiday season, next month's Movie Dearest Calendar Wallpaper celebrates, naturally, our favorite "Holiday Movies".

Perennial favorites It's a Wonderful Life, Miracle on 34th Street, White Christmas and the 1951 version of A Christmas Carol are present, along with some other vintage holiday fare, like Barbara Stanwyck's Christmas in Connecticut and Cary Grant's The Bishop's Wife, plus Judy Garland and little Margaret O'Brien in the Christmas sequence from Meet Me in St. Louis. Contemporary movies are represented by The Nightmare Before Christmas, The Polar Express and my personal fave, A Christmas Story. There's even the golden turkey Santa Claus Conquers the Martians, just for the heck of it.

All you have to do is click on the picture above to enlarge it, then simply right click your mouse and select "Set as Background". (You can also save it to your computer and set it up from there if you prefer.) The size is 1024 x 768, but you can modify it if needed in your own photo-editing program.

And you might want to pick out your favorite out of these too ... there just may be a question about that in the near future ...

He's a Dancing Man

After 10-weeks of competition, a Brazilian racecar driver defeated a British Spice Girl and an all-American Osmond to be named the winner of this season's Dancing With the Stars.

Helio Castroneves, two-time Indy 500 victor, became the third athlete in a row to win on the popular program, besting Mel B and Marie Osmond in the finals last night. His professional partner, Julianne Hough, also won last season with Olympic speed-skater Apolo Anton Ohno.

The duo performed an encore of their Mask-inspired quick step, and viewers also got an eyeful of soap stud Cameron Mathison when he doffed his shirt after a reprise of his Superman Paso Doble.

Click here to shop the official Dancing with the Stars store.
Links via AP.google.com and ABC.go.com.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Awards Watch: The Indies

The 2007 award season has officially begun with the announcement this morning of the nominees for Film Independent's Spirit Awards. Honoring the year's best in indie cinema, the awards may not directly influence the Oscars overall, but they can give a boost to potential contenders in the big race.

Best Feature nominees The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, I'm Not There and Juno lead the field with four nominations each (along with The Savages, which was not nominated for the top prize). It was also announced that I'm Not There already scored a trophy, the group's first Robert Altman Award, which will be presented to directing nominee Todd Haynes and his ensemble cast, including supporting nominees Cate Blanchett and Marcus Carl Franklin. Rounding out the top five is A Mighty Heart and Gus Van Sant's Paranoid Park, leaving strong contenders Before the Devil Knows You're Dead and Lust, Caution out in the cold. (At least they got some love in other categories; other notable indies such as Away from Her (too Canadian), Into the Wild (too expensive) and Lars and the Real Girl got zip.)

Heart's Angelina Jolie and Juno's Ellen Page are the frontrunners for Best Actress, but The Savages' Laura Linney, Waitress' Keri Russell and Margot at the Wedding's Nicole Kidman were surprisingly left out, as was Rescue Dawn's Christian Bale for Best Actor; Don Cheadle in Talk to Me and Frank Langella in Starting Out in the Evening lead that category. Additionally, Film Independent apparently has no problem with all the English in The Band's Visit; it is competing in the Foreign Film category, alongside Once and Perseopolis.

The Spirit Awards will be presented February 23 (the night before the Oscars) and broadcast live on the Independent Film Channel. See the comments section below for a quick look at the full list of nominations.

Links via FilmIndependent.org and IFC.com.

Red and Green ... Mostly Green

Billed as the "next great holiday classic" (yeah, we'll see about that), the new DreamWorks animated special Shrek the Halls premieres on ABC TV tomorrow night.

Featuring the returning vocal talents of Mike Myers, Cameron Diaz, Eddie Murphy and Antonio Banderas, the 30-minute program tells the tale of Shrek wanting to spend a nice, quiet Christmas with the Mrs. and the kids. Why a big green ogre wants to celebrate a Christian holiday is beyond me, but his plans are waylaid by some unexpected visitors, namely Donkey and Puss in Boots.

Naturally, Shrek gets all Scrooge-y, but something tells me that he (like every other protagonist in a TV X-mas special) eventually comes around to learn (all together now) "the true meaning of Christmas".

Shop the ABC TV Store.
Links via Animated-News.com and ABC.go.com.

Poster Post: Philip Seymour Hoffman Edition, Part 2

Chris Ware's striking poster illustration for The Savages (click to enlarge). Tamara Jenkins' new dramedy stars Laura Linney and Philip Seymour Hoffman as siblings who must care for their ailing father (opens in limited release Friday).

Links via LATimes.com and Imdb.com.

The Latest on DVD: What'll You Have?

New DVD offerings are a bit slim in this lull between Thanksgiving and the December holidays, but there are still plenty of tasty dishes to sample on this week's menu:

Click on the above links to purchase from Amazon.com, unless otherwise noted.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Awards Watch: The Leading Ladies

The distaff side of the lead acting categories is shaping up to be an interesting race this year, with several possible spoilers from the often overlooked comedy and musical genres.

Five women are sure to be the finalist in the Golden Globes' separate category for Best Actress in a laugher or tuner this year: Amy Adams (Enchanted), Nikki Blonsky (Hairspray), Helena Bonham Carter (Sweeney Todd), Ellen Page (Juno) and Keri Russell (Waitress). The question remains -- who will break through to the Oscar top five? Right now, your best bets are on Adams and Page.

On the dramatic side of things, a host of previous winners are seeking another date with the golden boy: Halle Berry (Things We Lost in the Fire), Cate Blanchett (Elizabeth: The Golden Age), Julie Christie (Away from Her), Angelina Jolie (A Mighty Heart), Nicole Kidman (Margot at the Wedding) and even Jodie Foster for her Death Wish-ish The Brave One. Past nominees back for another try include Keira Knightley (Atonement), Laura Linney (The Savages) and Naomi Watts (Eastern Promises). However, the surest thing is someone who has never been nominated, let alone won: Marion Cotillard, who has wowed the critics and art house fans by channeling chanteuse Edith Piaf in the French biopic, La Vie en Rose.

Links via LATimes.com.

Toon Talk: Some Enchanted Evening

Much has been said about the contemporary “fractured fairy tale” genre that pretty much started with the first Shrek and has continued with not only its two sequels (and counting), but with other such films as Ella Enchanted, Hoodwinked and Happily N’Ever After. The declining quality of most of these projects prove that there may not be much material left to mine from taking familiar fairy tale types and slapping them with a post-ironic sensibility. Disney’s latest feature film, Enchanted, may look on the surface to be just such an enterprise, a last gasp of the genre by the frequent target of the like itself, but that is far from the case.

Instead of merely lampooning the conventions of fairy tales, Enchanted embraces them, transporting them, like its animated heroine, into a modern world without loosing the innocence, the magic inherent in such stories. It is truly a fable for our times, one likely to be embraced by audiences (of all ages) yearning for the type of romantic fantasy that the fair maiden Giselle dreams for, a happily ever after that goes on and on.

The film, a hybrid of animation and live action, romantic comedy and musical fantasy, begins in the animated land of Andalasia ...

Click here to continue reading my Toon Talk review of Enchanted.

UPDATE: Enchanted is now available on DVD from Amazon.com.

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