Wednesday, August 25, 2010

TIFF Preview: 127 Hours & Howl Trailers

For his newest film, 127 Hours, director Danny Boyle has once again brought something exciting and unique to TIFF this year.  With the delectable and extremely talented James Franco, need I say more?  Being deemed this year's It Boy at TIFF, James has two movies premiering at this year's festival, the second one being Howl, also starring the lovely Don Draper aka Jon Hamm and everyone's favourite drug-dealing mom, Mary-Louise Parker.  As if I need to add to my list of must-see movies.
"127 Hours is the true story of mountain climber Aron Ralston’s (James Franco) remarkable adventure to save himself after a fallen boulder crashes on his arm and traps him in an isolated canyon in Utah. Over the next five days Ralston examines his life and survives the elements to finally discover he has the courage and the wherewithal to extricate himself by any means necessary." (

I can't find the official TIFF description for Howl, but check out the trailer:

2010 Emmy Picks

Personal Disclaimer: I am completely obsessed with TV, but I openly favour cable over network shows, for their freedom of creativity and all-around disdain for recycled material.

If I sit and go through all the notable categories, I will literally be writing for days, so instead, I’ll just highlight on a few main categories that I have an opinion on.  As per usual, I expect the Emmy’s to mimic the Globes so we’ll probably see a lot of the same winners.

Outstanding Drama Series
Breaking Bad (AMC)
Dexter (Showtime)
Mad Men (AMC)
Lost (ABC)
The Good Wife (CBS)
True Blood (HBO)

The Outstanding Drama category is a tough one for me, and I’m thrilled that it has recognized Dexter, Mad Men and True Blood.  Although I love True Blood, the Mary Anne storyline was pretty far-fetched and annoying last season, while Dexter and Mad Men kept me wanting more. (and more and more). Dexter, for its ability to keep us on edge and managing to keep such a shocking twist under-wraps until the finale, and Mad Men, for taking us into a new era for its characters, with topics like divorce and depression, and Don’s ability to somehow, still make the audience love him despite his many shortcomings.  While we impatiently wait for season 5 to start, take a look what’s to come for our dear Dexter.
My pick: Dexter

Outstanding Comedy Series 
30 Rock (NBC)
Curb Your Enthusiasm (HBO)
Glee (FOX)
Modern Family (ABC)
Nurse Jackie (Showtime)
The Office (NBC)

What a great year for fresh, new, comedies!  This being the year of GLEE, I can’t ignore the fact that they’re the fan favourite, even with the gimmicky shift felt after the unnecessarily long, mid-season break.  But, as a diehard Nurse Jackie fan (Edie Falco, you will always and forever be my Carmela), I love the show’s ability to make serious issues absolutely hilarious, especially with Dr. Coop, who steals the show. (Peter Facinelli, yes ladies, Carlisle Cullen)  How this guy ended up being THIS FUNNY, I have no idea, but I find myself looking forward to every scene he’s in.  This year will, however, go to Modern Family, with a very interesting and funny portrayal of the modern-day idea of what a family is.  Don’t get me wrong, I watch and love Modern Family, but it’s sad that really off-the-wall, dark comedies don’t get credit where they should.
My pick: Modern Family

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series
Bryan Cranston on Breaking Bad (AMC)
Michael C. Hall on Dexter (Showtime)
Kyle Chandler on Friday Night Lights (DirecTV)
Hugh Laurie on House (Fox)
Matthew Fox on Lost (ABC)
Jon Hamm on Mad Men (AMC)

I’m torn between Michael C. Hall, whom I love as dark and demented Dexter Morgan and Jon Hamm, (my favourite sinner since Tony Soprano) from Mad Men.  Michael C. Hall will definitely take this one, he won the Globe, and he was phenomenal as his character has come close as he probably ever will, to feeling love and loss for (spoiler alert!) his wife, who he found brutally murdered in the season finale. 
My pick: Michael C. Hall

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series 
Lea Michele on Glee (FOX)
Julia Louis-Dreyfus on The New Adventures of Old Christine (CBS)
Edie Falco on Nurse Jackie (Showtime)
Amy Poehler on Parks And Recreation (NBC)
Tina Fey on 30 Rock (NBC)
Toni Collette on United States of Tara (Showtime)

This is getting super super long-winded so let me just highlight on a few other memorable performances this past year.  Toni Collette MUST WIN for Actress in a comedy, for her role in United States of Tara.  She’s amazing, able to channel various different characters switching at the drop of a hat.  And she won the Globe for her role, so deservingly. 
My pick: Toni Collette

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series
Sharon Gless on Burn Notice (USA)
Rose Byrne on Damages (FX)
Archie Panjabi on The Good Wife (CBS)
Christine Baranski on The Good Wife (CBS)
Christina Hendricks on Mad Men (AMC)
Elisabeth Moss on Mad Men (AMC)

We saw a different side of Christina Hendricks’ character this past season.  She had more than two dimensions, emotions which she had previously kept tightly hidden from her colleagues and lovers.  We saw beneath the surface at the first generation of the feminist, but with a twist.  Instead of hating men and being pro-woman, she uses what she has been given as a woman (ahem, those gorgeous curves!!!) to her advantage.  I love her. And her red hair.
My pick (duh): Christina Hendricks

Enough with the rambling, tune in this Sunday, August 29th to find out if any of my favourites take home a statue!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Sing for the Years - Aerosmith in Concert!

There was a moment the other night, early in the show, when my heart stopped, just for a second.  The amazing Steven Tyler was bumped by Joe Perry (accidentally, I hope) and landed in the audience.  At first, we couldn't tell if he was attempting to stage dive and grasp at the last shred of youth left inside him, but when security rushed to pull him back up on stage, we figured it was definitely an accident.  And in true Rockstar fashion, he got right back into Love in an Elevator.

Since last year, when Steven Tyler did in fact fall off the stage mid-concert, injuring his neck and back, Aerosmith fans everywhere have been on edge.  It's hard to see someone who you've always seen as so powerful, both in voice and presence, suddenly so fragile.

Either way, the show was amazing!  Pure electric energy, adrenaline pumping rock n' roll..  The set list was fantastic, as the band went on to play hits both old and new, including What it Takes, Cryin', Dream On, and their cover of The Beatles' Come Together.  And, the show gave each member the opportunity to shine on their own: With Steven's always-chilling vocals (how the hell can he still hit those high notes?!), Joe Perry's amazing guitar solos, and Joey Kramer on the drums, pounding us into submission.

The boys men of Aerosmith seem to transcend generations, somehow resonating even with today's youth. It's funny, this is one show I've been to where on one side of me there was a 14 year old boy and on the other was someone around 65.  And the fact that all the band's members are over 60 is such a testament to their agility and freaking ability make great music that we still care about today.  Aerosmith will forever be Cocked, Locked, and Ready to Rock.  

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

TIFF Preview: Black Swan Trailer

With TIFF less than a month away, excitement is mounding, and new films are being announced everyday.  First things first, Clint Eastwood has chosen to premiere his newest film, the spooky, Hereafter, in Toronto.  It's starring Matt Damon and Bryce Dallas Howard (Ron Howard's daughter), and with Eastwood directing, it's sure to be a great film, but I can't be sure until I at least see the trailer. 

And, I've finally seen the trailer for Black Swan:
"A psychological thriller set in the world of New York City ballet, Black Swan stars Natalie Portman as Nina, a featured dancer who finds herself locked in a web of competitive intrigue with a new rival at the company. Black Swan takes a thrilling and at times terrifying journey through the psyche of a young ballerina whose starring role as the duplicitous swan queen turns out to be a part for which she becomes frighteningly perfect. Black Swan also stars Vincent Cassel, Mila Kunis, Barbara Hershey and Winona Ryder." (

Thursday, August 12, 2010

The Artist Formerly Known As (James Franco)

Tomorrow, the highly anticipated movie Eat Pray Love opens in theatres, starring Pretty Woman herself, Julia Roberts.  But to be honest, the only thing making me take notice is the presence of the elusive James Franco, who I am so fascinated with right now. (and not just because he’s hot, which he is, obviously.)  I’m convinced we should all pay attention to what he’s doing, which seems so scattered and unintentional, but I can’t seem to write him off as another crazy (Joaquin Phoenix-style) attention-whore that Hollywood is famous for.  Why is he all over the place?  Can he not decide on a career?  Or is he just re-defining the boundaries of art and life.  Before I get too philosophical, let me highlight why I can’t get enough of James Franco.

On Freaks and Geeks, James played Daniel Desario, the bad boy who won the hearts of teenage misfits everywhere with his Dylan McKay-like persona, rebelling against everyone in his life, full of angst, and damaged to the point where all you wanted to do was save him from himself.  He was so rock’n’roll.  That show was kick-ass by the way and it’s a shame that it only lasted one season.  Judd Apatow directed it before his hit comedies (40 Year Old Virgin, Knocked Up).  You can see similarities in both his casting choices and a hint of comedy beneath the over-dramatic-ness of it all.  Love it.

He’s smart as hell.  If you are even remotely interested in him, make sure you check out this amazing article from New York Magazine (The James Franco Project), on how he’s got this insatiable thirst for learning and only sleeps like three hours a night.  Not because he’s busy partying or drinking himself into rehab a-la-Lohan, but because he’s concurrently completing three masters programs.  Who does that?!  He makes everyone else look like under-achievers.

His stint on General Hospital right now is so random.  Critics are wondering why someone with an already-successful film career would choose to work on a soap opera, where most actors start their careers.  I may be biased since I’m a crazy General Hospital fan but, isn’t he just expressing various art forms.  Acting in itself is still an art-form, no matter where you do it.  I guess the point is, no one knows why he’s choosing to do what he’s doing.  His ambiguity makes him a topic for discussion, and whether his actions are intentional or not, he’s still a mystery that remains unsolved.

Just for fun, check out the Freaks and Geeks intro, featuring my wake-up song, Bad Reputation, by the lovely Joan Jett!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

HBOhmygod, I love you just as you are.

In the world of TV, it’s not enough anymore to have a great story.  To survive in today’s environment, networks that are managing to come out on top are keeping up with what people want. 

HBO understands this, that interaction between viewers and the brand only helps to enhance the experience.  They manage to stand out from the crowd and connect with us right where we’re already spending our time, online.

Aside from the usual Facebook pages, they have character blogs and twitter accounts, that completely take on the behaviours of the characters we already love.  If you’re a fan, make sure you take a look at Vampire Jessica's (True Blood) and Lloyd's (Entourage) blogs. We all love to get a little something extra.

Also, fans of foursquare need  to check out my new favourite iPhone app, GetGlue.  HBO’s even gotten involved, giving out badges for ‘checking in’ to certain movies, music, tv shows, etc.  Not going to lie, but as an entertainment geek, I’m already obsessed with checking-in and offering my two cents.  GetGlue, it’s genius.

New movies and shows coming out should take notice, because people are watching!  Even Snoop Dogg, who recently wrote a song and made a music video dedicated to Sookie Stackhouse and the True Blood Gang!

Given that it’s a cable television channel, the buzz they’ve managed to create around True Blood is crazy.  Their poster teasers prior to this season got fans so interested that we were eagerly counting down till the first episode (or maybe it was just me).  And it doesn’t hurt that the product is genuinely good, although I may be biased.

Oh, and just to add to my love of cable tv, I totally got retweeted by the official Weeds Twitter account!  That's pretty cool when you're a fan.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

I LOVE the 80s! Hot Tub Time Machine, take me back.

If you love reminiscing about the era of Madonna, spandex and legwarmers (the FIRST time they were cool), then make sure you check out Hot Tub Time Machine.  To be honest, it's a big mess of crazy, but Craig Robinson (Darrel from The Office) and Rob Corddry (cop from Harold and Kumar 2), not to mention resident 80s child John Cusack, make the film actually pretty funny!

Although the story is one big slapstick with the essence of The Hangover, filled with impossible time traveling and grotesque humour, the journey is what makes this fun to watch.  Plus, there’s nothing better than watching middle-aged men going through mid-life crises, getting a flashback at their teenage years.

Beginning to end, there's so much from the 80s it's like watching a Wham! video.  There’s even a Sixteen Candles-esque scene with John Cusack and his lady love interest sitting on a counter top, gazing into each others' eyes over a candle.  Now if only the girl was Molly Ringwald!  But not the Molly Ringwald that exists today, on that dreadful show about teen pregnancy.  I mean the Molly us girls grew up idolizing, with the boy cut, and the freakin awesome sense of style (questionable today of course), epitomizing the 80s teenage girl.

It's only fitting that I refer back to the iconic scene from 1989’s Say Anything that made John Cusack forever that fresh-faced boy next door.  Talk about a not-so-modern day Romeo standing outside his Juliet’s window, with a boombox instead of a boring old soliloquy.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Top Picks for TIFF 2010

The other day, a friend asked me about what movies look good at TIFF this year, so I put together a quick breakdown of the films I want to see at this year's festival.

Directed by David Schwimmer (yes, Ross from Friends!), this movie is anything but the comedy we're used to seeing from him.
"A drama that examines the build-up and aftermath of a teenager's (Liana Liberato) seduction by an online sexual predator.  Clive Owen and Catherine Keener are perfectly cast as the grieving parents, but relative newcomer Liberato's slow-burning self-realization and climatic breakdown is undeniably heartrending." (

By now, I’m sure everyone has seen this trailer, which was shown (at least around Toronto) in theatres before Inception.  By the looks of it, we’re in for another fantastic crime film set in the dark and rough city of Boston.  As someone who’s obsessed with crime films, this looks captivating to say the least.  And, with a cast like this one: Jon Hamm from Mad Men, Ben Affleck, and Jeremy Renner (The Hurt Locker), and, looking at Ben’s last amazing foray into Directing (Gone Baby Gone), we are sure to be left with a bitter-sweet taste of the dead-end of South Boston.
“Four best friends who moonlight as bank robbers are busy dodging the FBI, but things get complicated when their leader falls in love with a woman behind the till. Directed by and starring Ben Affleck, The Town is a gritty exploration of crime and its consequences.” (

I’m a huge fan of ‘coming of age’ films, especially ones that are bizarre and awkward as hell, even though I’ve already come of age what feels like ages ago.  I think I love and will always love the spirit of teen angst and confusion about growing up.  Add funny-man Zach Galifianakis (The Hangover) to the mix and Keir Gilchrist, (Toni Colette’s gay son on The United States of Tara) I’m definitely expecting some dark humour of sorts.
"A teenager's week in the adult psych ward brings new meaning to 'coming of age.'" (

This is a must-see for me because I absolutely love Carey Mulligan in her Oscar-nominated role, An Education.  Plus, the trailer for this movie looks so fascinating in that it gives you just enough to keep you wanting more, but still leaves you confused as to what’s really going on with this weird Boarding School they go to.  Read my review from the premiere screening at TIFF 2010.
“Hailsham is an idyllic English boarding school, presided over by a strict but fair headmistress (Charlotte Rampling). Children are held to an imposing health regimen, have no parental contact and live in fear of leaving the school grounds. It soon becomes clear that something is not quite right at Hailsham. Young Kathy (Carey Mulligan) and Ruth (Keira Knightley) are fast friends; the former bold and confident and the latter soft-spoken and caring. They befriend Tommy (Andrew Garfield), a tormented and socially awkward boy prone to fits of anguish, and the trio hesitantly stumble their way into early adulthood under the guidance of their teachers, without ever having contact with the outside world. Now eighteen-year-olds, Kathy, Ruth and Tommy must leave Hailsham for The Cottages, a mysterious place outside the safety of their school, to learn the ominous future that awaits them. Confronted with a secret that threatens to tear their lives apart, they struggle to thwart their fate.” (

No trailer for this one yet!  Why so hush-hush?
“Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams turn in powerful performances in this portrait of two lovers at the beginning and end of a relationship.” (
It’s a very common nightmare to be buried alive, and it will be very interesting to see an entire film developing literally within a box.  One-man films are difficult to accomplish (remember Castaway- and even Tom Hanks had Wilson to keep him company). When conversations and interactions are one-sided and, it can be difficult to engage the audience, and with Ryan completely enclosed inside a coffin, this concept is so intriguing.  Imagine being claustrophobic and having to film this! Read my review from the Maple Pictures advanced screening.
“Ryan Reynolds stars as a civilian contractor who wakes up in Iraq, buried underground with only a Blackberry and a lighter. Astonishing one-man thriller.” (