Monday, February 28, 2011

Oscars Wrap-Up: What Went Wrong

As much as I've raved about James Franco as an actor, artist and all-around fascinating figure, the Oscars telecast last night did not live up to my expectations. Although, to be honest I don't know what we were expecting - neither James Franco nor Anne Hathaway are comedians and they obviously didn't write their own material. So many times last night, I wished Ricky Gervais would magically appear to save the show. Or maybe that Billy Crystal would just take over - his was pretty much the only part of the show that ended up laugh-worthy.

Anne Hathaway is annoying on her own and even more so when she's trying to be funny. The two didn't have even a little bit of chemistry although I never find her to have much chemistry with any of her co-stars. And today, the media is buzzing that James Franco was on something (perhaps some weed?) but I honestly think he just got progressively bored and tired - at times he could hardly keep his eyes open. The crazy over-achiever is already simultaneously enrolled in three grad programs right now and I read he doesn't get much sleep. But I mean, when you know you're going to host the Oscars...maybe you should stock up on the Visine and take a nap beforehand.

James did give his Twitter followers a backstage pass to the event, which was exciting for social media buffs like me. He even filmed his first appearance on-stage and posted it to Twitter right away so we could see what he saw, and get kind-of the same experience he had on-stage. That really is social media at its finest – rewarding your followers with exclusive material they won't find anywhere else.

Forget the terrible production and the bad hosting, the worst part of last night was Melissa Leo. I have a huge problem with winners acting all surprised when they were in fact the favourite to win. And Melissa Leo, who won Best Supporting Actress last night, basically should've had her award taken away for the terrible acting during her acceptance speech. I get that winning an Oscar is the Nobel Prize of acting, and that after a life-long career, it's a celebration, blah-blah-blah, but really?! She's pretty much won every Supporting Actress award this awards season so why was she SO shocked to win, and why did she have an emotional breakdown on-stage, complete with an F-bomb? Her 'surprised and overcome-with-emotions' act was just that - an act. It was so terribly fake, it made me completely forget how much I loved her performance in The Fighter. As it is, I'm annoyed with her after those 'Consider Me' ads she took out herself, to promote her Oscar nomination to the Academy voters. Not that she didn't deserve it but she basically pimped herself out to win an Oscar.

I had made my own Oscar predictions, and here's how I did – not very well, as it turns out!

Friday, February 25, 2011

Adele - 'Someone Like You' Live at 2011 BRIT Awards

Once in a while, a performance comes along that completely redefines music, that moves you, leaves you speechless and completely hypnotizes you into a dream-like state.

Adele's voice is capable of doing that and so much more. Her latest album, 21, was released just this week and already I can't get enough of it, especially the song "Someone Like You" and her cover of The Cure's "Lovesong".

Watch her BRIT Awards performance and prepare to be mesmerized.
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Bad Teacher - Cameron Diaz's Comedic Comeback?

Bad Teacher - It reminds me of the early days of Cameron Diaz comedies - the foul-mouthed, raunchy, not-afraid-to-be-dirty and ugly, like There's Something About Mary and The Sweetest Thing. The Cameron we fell for, but could still hang with. I actually want to see this one. Watch the trailer but be warned, Cameron be droppin' F-bombs like crazy!

Also in the movie, everyone's favourite friendly-giant, Jason Segal, who is a comic genius of today's Judd Apatow-loving generation. (I could watch him in Forgetting Sarah Marshall over and over again!) Plus, Phyllis from The Office - and who doesn't love anyone from The Office?!

Even Justin Timberlake doesn't seem too bad in this, although he needs to stop pretending he's a geek. He's too good-looking to simply put on a pair of nerdy glasses and try and convince us he's a loser. Then again, he was in NSync.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Hank Moody: The Californication Conundrum

Hank Moody - The epitome of 'tragically flawed', Californication's lovable loser is a chain-smoking alcoholic, a self-destructive sex-addict. Actually, scratch that - he's not so much self-destructive as he is destructive, since his destruction not only has to do with him but the 'loves' of his life: Karen and their daughter, Becca.

So why do we love him and continue to take his side, even when he does literally the unforgivable? Hank isn't exactly a stand-up guy, so why does the audience keep tuning in to see his never-ending downwards spiral? Why do all the ladies love him, and how is every single woman he meets, drawn to him, no matter how secure and independently successful she is? And despite how gorgeous Karen's new man (Michael Ealy) is, why do I keep hoping she'll go back to Hank?

As humans, we enjoy watching those around us fail, maybe because it makes us feel better about ourselves. We like train wrecks like Jersey Shore and Lindsay Lohan because they're far enough away from our realities that it's OK to watch and laugh at. Or, maybe we appreciate characters like Hank because they're not perfect and therefore we relate to them and their many flaws.

He is good-looking and has a way with words that's pretty swoon-worthy. And sometimes it's bad-ass that he's nonchalant about everything, even if that happens to include the two people he claims to love, Karen and Becca. Ultimately, I think we care because despite his shortcomings, he's a dad that would literally do anything for the few people he cares about.

Either way, despite his issues, we love him, and as Karen so eloquently explained to Abby, here's why:

“I think the world see’s Hank as this fabulous fuck-up. And I know that guy – I’ve spent a lot of time with that guy. But I’m better acquainted with the other guy. The one that listens and hears everything. The one that looks at you and sees right into your soul. The one that makes you believe in every fucking fairy tale that you’ve ever been told. Ultimately, I may not even be the woman who gets to enjoy the man that I know he can be, but I still want the best for him because I want the best for my daughter.” - Karen

Friday, February 18, 2011

2011 Oscar Predictions

With the elusive and always-fascinating James Franco hosting this year (oh yeah, and that Anne Hathaway girl from Princess Diaries too), I couldn't be more excited for the 83rd Annual Academy Awards. This year's films really pushed the envelope, emotionally and physically (although I probably say that every year). The Fighter and The King's Speech inspired us, reminding us about determination and going against all odds, The Social Network really spoke to the Facebook-obsessed society we have become, and Toy Story 3, well, it kind of just made me cry and want to be a kid again.

Just like every year, I do have some issues with the nominations - I'm still a bit pissed that Blue Valentine didn't get nods for Best Picture and Best Actor (Ryan Gosling). And I really did think The Town deserved a Best Picture nod too, but I don't know, maybe that's just because I have a thing for films about Baaahston.

Now that we're only nine days away, I've officially put down my personal Oscar predictions this year, to see how accurate I am come the morning after.

Get your own official Oscar Ballot and see how well you do.

Oh, and being a huge James Franco fan, I have to mention that he just joined Twitter! As if a 140-character limit would ever be enough for this overachiever; for his first tweet, he made a video. Love it.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

"a guy trying to keep it together while falling apart" - Californication

New additions to the season 4 Californication cast bring with them, added dysfunction and more misunderstandings to be had. This show's got so many familiar faces now it's like watching an episode of Entourage.

Zoe Kravitz - Yes, that's the genetically blessed daughter of Lenny Kravitz and former Cosby Show good-girl, Lisa Bonet (who now, weirdly goes by the name Lilakoi Moon...huh?). Zoe's the bad-ass, lead singer of Queens of Dogtown, Becca's band, and the daughter of Karen's dreamy, new, blue-eyed beau.

Carla Gugino - You may recognize Hank's new attorney, Abby, as the one-time agent-slash-girlfriend of Vince Chase on Entourage. It was inevitable that she would end up in Hank's bed at some point, since all seemingly-independent and powerful women tend to melt when it comes to him.

Michael Ealy - He's so pretty that I have a hard time looking away from his piercing blue eyes. Making his mark  in Barber Shop, and then later in Beyonce's 'Halo' video, Michael's doing double duty right now on Californication and on The Good Wife (that show's so hot right now).

Rob Lowe - Former brat-packer and West Wing-er, Rob's always kind-of, sort-of around in Hollywood, and is doing a bang-up job as the eccentric and absolutely whacked-out Eddie Nero. His best line so far, "I think we should kill someone tonight. I mean like a hobo or something."

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

The Vampire Diaries is Really Good - No Joke!

Unless you've been hiding under a rock the past couple of years, you're at least aware of the vampire phenomenon that's taken over. Just like the boyband craze of the 90s, it's everywhere, from tv to movies to books. Well, except for the fact that these vampires stories aren't just for kids - they seem to resonate with ladies of all ages. I credit this, not to the (very poorly written but somehow very addictive) Twilight books, but to cult classic of the last decade: Buffy the Vampire Slayer. You see, that's when vampires in pop culture shifted from being evil, one-sided creatures, to conflicted characters we could actually relate to. Like Angel (Buffy) and Brad Pitt (Interview with the Vampire), we loved them for always being in constant turmoil with their nonexistent souls. Just like we love a bad boy trying to be good.

Anyway, when you move aside all the gorgeous faces (and bodies!) in Twilight, minus Kristen Stewart's constant scowl and mumbling, there's nothing left besides author Stephanie Meyer's message of abstinence and avoiding temptation of the 'forbidden fruit'. Like, we get it, you can't have sex before marriage. If you do, you'll die. Well not quite, but that's how she puts it.

But whether you're Team Edward or Team Jacob, or in my case, Team Eric (True Blood), there are ways to get your Vampire fix without feeling like you're twelve years old. I've already raved about True Blood, but those without cable can still get their fix from The Vampire Diaries.

I'm not even joking when I say that The Vampire Diaries is a quality piece of supernatural television, right there in between the raunchy masterpiece of True Blood and the teenybopper crap-fest of Twilight. Now in it's second season, each episode is gripping from beginning to end, with vampires, werewolves and witches that seem to blend their supernatural lives with high school quite seamlessly.

It's compellingly witty, and each character is conflicted and colourful, (and not bad to look at either), with enough young men (and women) around to satisfy your need for both good boys and bad boys!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Shameless - Nice Day for a (Fake) Wedding

Showtime's Shameless seems to be following the general plot line that basically proves on a weekly basis that the Gallagher kids are NOT alright. Fiona continues to fall for adrenaline-inducing Steve even though she knows Tony's a better guy, Frank is a drunk (as per usual), and once again, this week's episode was filled with a scam (or three), with a fake wedding (in a bar!), a close-call car heist, and a third ball (or as Frank so eloquently put it, his 'third passenger').

Joan Cusack continues to steal the show with her loony-bin issues; every time she wholeheartedly attempts to venture outside her home, it's actually quite heartbreaking to see her fail and breakdown. I'm interested to see more on how her daughter, Karen, handles it. It's obvious she's destructive, sexually promiscuous and screaming for attention by attempting to seduce Frank (gross, even though she's got Lip). But she's a product of her environment, so to speak, with a fucked-up home life like all our principle characters. This past episode, we got to see past the humour and caught a glimpse of the helplessness and disappointment Karen must feel on a daily basis.

We were also introduced to a new (also-crazy) character, Veronica's brother (Anthony Anderson). Of course, only on this show would being Bipolar not be enough. Poor guy's got to have Tourette's and be a Pyromaniac too.

The preview for next week gets back to reality a little bit - or as real as Shameless could possibly get. Fiona's not actually the legal guardian for all her siblings, and she's not exactly doing a great job raising them despite all her efforts. There are severe issues underneath the comedic facade. We've already seen how damaged Debbie is, she did steal a toddler just so she could have someone to play with. Looks like we'll get more insight into Carl, so far the only Gallagher kid we've heard barely a few words from. He's already kind of creepy, microwaving gold fish so nonchalantly. Obviously he has some issues that aren't going unnoticed at school, even if he's being ignored at home.