Monday, January 25, 2010

Extraordinary Measures and healthcare

Harrison Ford and Brendan Fraser hash it out.

"97 percent of people will not have the courage to post this as their status update. Women are dying of breast cancer and this is wrong. For the 3 percent who post this, it is an important issue. Only 3 percent of people will have the courage to take this stand. If you are one of them, post this as your status update for an hour to pass it along."
Status updates like this are showing up on Facebook like wildfires. And like everything else about this ever-present social network, they have fans and detractors.
I read an article recently that summed it perfectly for me: slactivism. You post an update, but have you really "done" anything? Will any minds be changed because of what you had the "courage" to post?
My husband and I have further wryly noted to each other that these "controversial" statuses are rarely things that people would ever come out against. Really, do you know anyone who roots for cancer?
I would call "Extraordinary Measures" a slactivism movie. You go to it, feel good that you feel bad for those poor people, and go on with your life.
The problem was, I didn't have that reaction at all.
The film is competently acted - after all it features Harrison Ford, albeit in a completely made-up character in a "true story." But that's only part of the issue, as far as I am concerned. This is the first movie that made me not want to jump up and cheer, but jump up and poll the audience's political views.
The audience, besides my son and I (who was assigned the film for his freelance movie reviewing job), was composed entirely of elderly people. The film centers on a family with two children with a terrible genetic disease called Pompe disease. In simple terms, the disease chokes the body to death by enlarging organs to the point where the person cannot breathe. Persons afflicted do not live past childhood.
Treatment, as you can imagine, is quite expensive. The Crowleys manage because Mr. Crowley (Brendan Fraser) works at a pharmaceutical company (one of the more interesting, and actually true, elements of the story) at the beginning of the film. They meet an eccentric scientist (played by Harrison Ford) who may hold the key to curing their children.
At one point Aileen Crowley (played by Keri Russell) says plainly it costs $40,000 a month to care for the children. It was at this point I simply wanted to stop the film and start questioning the audience.
What if these people were poor and had no insurance? What if they were black or Hispanic? Would I hear sniffles then? Would you clap at the end then? What if they needed the government healthcare I have seen elderly people (granted, maybe not these exact elderly people, but maybe, who knows) on television screaming their heads off about?
It's no longer a nice Hollywood movie with well-behaved, pretty white children with means. What then?
I realize slacktivism is easier. You get your happy ending, and you can go home to Fox News. But I'm just asking questions. Isn't that what they do on Fox News, too?

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Screen Actors Guild Awards

A bunch of people talk about being actors to introduce this show instead of Ricky Gervais fake (or real?) pissing everyone off. This seems to go over better.

Best male actor in a TV comedy series: Alec Baldwin ("30 Rock"). Don't they call lady actors actresses? Not any more! Larry David did not clap for him. Probably sick of him winning... Alec thanks the union, and reminds us all that negotiations are coming up. Oh swell. No more strikes!

Christoph Waltz and Diane Kruger introduce the first nominated film ensemble, "Inglourious Basterds." Nice dress, Diane.

Anna Paquin has boooobs and she wants you to see them.

Best female actor in a TV comedy series: Tina Fey ("30 Rock"). Why can't I have hair like that? She wanted to tell NBC that they are very happy. Cute.

There was a "Team America" clip in the funny moments montage. Did you see it?

Best TV comedy ensemble: "Glee." What is funny about people singing obviously lip-synced songs? Just askin'. (I personally laughed at every clip but theirs, did anyone else notice that too?)

The second nominated film ensemble is "Precious."

Best male actor in a film supporting role: Christoph Waltz ("Inglourious Basterds"). I see he remains committed to his "making the speech related to the event" with his convoluted Screen and Actor and Projectionist speech. Still, he's so sweet.

Felicity Huffman is screwing up again?! UNREAL! Alec Baldwin saves the day. Take that conservatives!

Best female actor in a drama TV series: Hollywood love them some Julianna Margulies ("The Good Wife"). "My parents have been so supportive of every role ... well, except 'Snakes on a Plane'...."

Best male actor in a drama TV series: Michael C. Hall ("Dexter").

The third nominated film ensemble is "An Education."

Best ensemble performance in a TV drama: "Mad Men." It was nice to see "Mad Men" get something again!

Blah blah blah blah Ken Howard, no Haiti doesn't have anything to do with tonight, and George Clooney doesn't want any more attention for the telethon.

Sandra Bullock finds Betty White annoying. Here here! "She named four shows after herself - most people would give up after three ....." Wow, there was a time when Betty White was not really old. She has been around forever, hasn't she? Betty came up and the first thing she says about Sandra Bullock is "Isn't it wonderful to see how far a girl as plain as her can go?" Plus she has made at least three sex jokes in her speech, which is hilarious and more gracious than anything else tonight so far. She is 88!

Best female actor in a TV movie or miniseries: Drew Barrymore ("Grey Gardens"). Her entire speech may be composed of the word "um."

The fourth nominated film ensemble is "The Hurt Locker." Also, I think Jeremy Renner is wearing a velvet suit.

Best male actor in a TV movie or miniseries: Kevin Bacon ("Taking Chance"). The guy who helped Kevin learn how to act like a Marine is on his third tour of duty. No fun.

Sigourney Weaver got to do the death montage. So she's got that going for her.

Best female actor in a film supporting role: Mo'nique ("Precious"). She is getting more confident.

The fifth nominated film ensemble is "Nine." And after Mo'Nique's powerful speech, these skinny minis and their little dresses all look a little silly.

Best male actor in a film lead role: Jeff Bridges ("Crazy Heart"). I just saw this film and Bridges is very good in it, but I am getting a little worried about "Up in the Air" and "The Hurt Locker." These two films aren't getting the awards they deserve. "Bone turned me onto a great singing coach ... he does it over the phone ..." This guy is about 93% The Dude.

Please, for the love of God, keep Warren Beatty away from the actresses!

Best female actresses in a film lead role: Sandra Bullock ("The Blind Side.") Wel, well, now she's beaten Meryl Streep. It is ON. I predicted this week that she would beat Meryl Streep at the Oscars this year. Mark My Words.

George Clooney said he was on "The Golden Girls" in 1986 and he thanked Betty White for her discretion.

Best ensemble cast is: Inglourious Basterds! What a shocker! I couldn't help but cheer, even though it was still a disappointment for "The Hurt Locker." Who doesn't love an underdog story? The cast of "Nine," maybe.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Lost meets 24

I found this on It's a 24-style real time video of the Lost plane crash a fan made from clips from various episodes. It is pretty well-done, and should leave you anxious for the premiere, which is in 12 more days.

Lost returns at 8 p.m. Feb. 2! See you there!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

How can they not find 10 movies?

In honor of this blog post, which states that Motion Picture Acedemy members are struggling so hard to find 10 movies to name to the newly expanded Best Picture category some are considering Sam Raimi's "Drag Me To Hell," I have decided to release my top ten movies of the year.

The Academy does not send me free screeners. I am just your average movie-loving normal person. I actually go out and SEE movies, or rent them. And I managed to find 10 good enough to make a list! Imagine if I was invited to premieres and received them free in the mail! Get off your duffs, Academy members! Check these out, anyway...

These are in no particular order, after the first three... It's just too hard. And my criteria, which I learned from my friend Josh Larsen (check out his list here) is does this film make me feel something? Does it stay with me after I have left the theater?

1. The Hurt Locker: The first war movie to really engage me, about a bomb diffuser who can't quite tone it down at the end of the day. On the edge of my seat from start to finish.

2. (500) Days of Summer: Joseph Gordon Levitt and Zooey Deschenal in a one-sided love story so real you'd swear they peeked in your windows. You may need a hug when it's over. Everybody's been through this.

3. Watchmen: Screw "The Dark Knight" (yeah, I said it). This film, based on a landmark graphic novel, gives us a peek at what the world might look like if there really were masked heroes. Who would want the job? Be careful what you wish for.

Inglorious Bastards: Quentin Tarantino's usual brand of insanity - this time contemplating a world where the Jews had defeated the Nazis. Audacious doesn't begin to cover it.

Up: Pixar never leaves home without the whole bag of tricks, but I would pay special attention to the way this film treats the lifetime love affair of Mr. and Mrs. Fredericksen. The short, silent montages of their relationship are more romantic and fulfilling than most of what passes for movie romances today.

Fantastic Mr. Fox: Simply the funniest, most surprising film to come from the mind of Wes Anderson (with some help from Roald Dahl). So light on its feet, and hysterically funny.

Up in the Air: You've heard it all, so I'll be brief. Watch the wedding scene and tell me that Jason Reitman is not on his way to becoming one of the great American film directors of the 2000s. Go ahead. I'll wait.

District 9: A sweet but bumbling civil servant (Sharlto Copley) walks into an alien slum known as District 9, and changes everything he and the world knows about these misunderstood "prawns." A dizzyingly original, thought-provoking picture, "District 9" will stay with long past its final heartbreaking image.

Where the Wild Things Are: Spike Jonze's underappreciated gem based on Maurice Sendak's classic book reflects the chaos of childhood and what it really means to be a wild thing at 9 years old. Does the fact that it connected with adults more than kids say more about them or about us?

Away We Go: As a vagabond young couple about to face parenthood, John Krasinski and Maya Rudolph give out-of-nowhere performances in Sam Mendes' funny, surprising journey about what a family is.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

It's Golden Globes time again!

Tonight, Golden Globes night, it had the nerve to rain, and all the stars were very, very brave about walking around in it and not complaining too much. There should be special awards just for that.

The Red Carpet is done and it's time for the first big award show of the year - the Golden Globes! As the show begins, I am becoming increasingly aware of NBC's crappy lineup. No wonder I only turn it on on Thursdays.

Ricky Gervais immediately lit into Steve Carell, so the night is off to a good start.

First award of the night: Best Supporting Actress - film: Mo'Nique ("Precious")

Best Actress in a Comedy - television: Toni Collette ("United States of Tara"). Tina Fey losing to "Glee" chick, OK, (even though I don't watch "Glee"). This, oh, come on! NO ONE WATCHES THIS SHOW!

Best Supporting Actor - television: John Lithgow ("Dexter"). A little reality sinks in as Lithgow thanks Michael C. Hall, who recently announced he has cancer.

Paul McCartney introduces the Best Animated Feature Film category with some genuinely funny banter. "Up" wins.

Kate Hudson looks like a cake wreck. And even though her film ("Nine") is supposed to be terrible, why is it I still REALLY want to see it?

Oh Ricky, you are such a loveable brat. I love you, anyway. Good God, Felicity Huffman has gotten so much less cool since got on "Desperate Housewives," that now she can't even read?

Best Actor in a Drama - television: Michael C. Hall ("Dexter")

Best Actress in a Drama - television: Julianna Margulies ("The Good Wife")

Boy, how cheeseball does that "Extraordinary Measures" movie look? Does Harrison Ford need to get out of the house THAT badly? It looks like Lifetime movie, at best.

Let me get this straight. CHER thinks Ricky Gervais is being tacky. Okee dokee.

Best original song - motion picture: "The Weary Kind," T-Bone Burnett and Ryan Bingham

Best original score - motion picture: "Up," Michael Giacchino

Every time I see a Luke Wilson AT&T commercial, I am just so very sad for him. Is he supposed to be a movie actor? Also, I don't care how many times you say "The Marriage Ref" is produced by Jerry Seinfeld, it's still reality trash.

Best Miniseries: "Grey Gardens." This drove me nuts at the Emmys too. No one saw this! No one cares about the eccentric unknown relatives of the Kennedys.

Best Actress in a Musical or Comedy - film: Meryl Streep ("Julie & Julia") She looks really pretty tonight. She was really delightful as Julia Child, too.

Best Actor - miniseries: Kevin Bacon ("Taking Chance")

Best Actress - miniseries: Drew Barrymore ("Grey Gardens"). What a charmer.

Best Screenplay - motion picture: Jason Reitman and Sheldon Turner ("Up in the Air"). What was the deal with that woman married to Ivan Reitman?

Best actor in a comedy or musical - television: Alec Baldwin ("30 Rock")

Best Foreign Film: "The White Ribbon"

Best drama series - television: "Mad Men." Peggy looks hot! This is a big award for so early in the night it seems.

OMG it's Taylor! TEAM JACOB!!! (That is for my niece Lauren) I could hardly love Joseph Gordon Levitt more. Isn't he adorable?

Best supporting actress - television: Chloe Sevigny ("Big Love") I do not like this woman. OMG Playtone?!? Did we know Tom Hanks produced this show?

Best supporting actor - film: Christoph Waltz ("Inglorious Basterds"). He seems like such a sweet, non-evil man.

I think Robert DeNiro just went off the teleprompter. It's during the part about Martin Scorsese having sex with film. Scorsese is being presented with the Cecil B. DeMille award.

Best director: James Cameron. Come on, say "Eywa has heard you!" He's kinda downplaying it. He is freaking speaking Na'vi though, which is so James Cameron! He'll never stop being James Cameron! His wife is a skeleton, by the way, yuck.

Best TV show: "Glee." OK, "Glee" is about the importance of arts education? That's like "The Office" being about Human Resource training. FAIL

Ah Mike Tyson, that loveable rapist! Maybe I'm the only one who remembers this...

Best Musical or Comedy - film: "The Hangover." Golden Globe-winning comedy "The Hangover." It was a really funny film.

Did Arnold just say "This is Avada"? What is Avada?

Ricky Gervais is afraid of Mickey Rourke!

Best Actress in a drama - film: Sandra Bullock ("The Blind Side"). She first took a swipe at Ricky Gervais for making a joke about the awards being bought off. It kind of made the rest of what she said sound a little less sincere.

Best Actor in a Comedy or Musical - film: Robert Downey Jr. ("Sherlock Holmes") "First I'd like to thank Susan Downey for telling me Matt Damon was going to win and not to bother to prepare a speech." I couldn't type fast enough, but look up his speech on youtube. My God, could I love him more?

Best Actor in Drama - film: Jeff Bridges ("Crazy Heart")

Best Drama - film: "Avatar" "Eywa has heard you!" Please say it this time! Just give it up for yourselves? Really, James? I think I'd rather you spoke Na'vi.

Ricky got some good shots in, although most of the people as expected, were not very good sports. I was a little surprised "Avatar" did as well as it did. It did not seem like an awards-y kind of film.
And I still wish James Cameron had said "Ewya has heard you."

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

The 'Lost' Supper

OK "Lost" fans, here we go. One month to go, and it's getting serious. I saw this done for "Battlestar Gallactica" too. Clearly Locke is the diety, but what else do we know? In the original Judas is on the left, and the reactions of the disciples are important. What does this tell us about the end of the series?

Let's speculate, Losties!

"Lost" returns at 8 p.m. Feb. 2 on ABC!