Thursday, April 28, 2011

Where “The Tourist” Took a Wrong Turn

Despite the fact that I did not love this film the first time around, sitting on a domestic flight with little else to watch, I decided to give “The Tourist” another try. Starring an array of other cast members along with Johnny Depp and Angelina Jolie I decided to assess if I had missed anything during my first viewing - I mean just why and how did Depp and Jolie get nominated for Golden Globes in 2011?  I had to investigate

I figured in order to come to a conclusion; I would make a list of all the things I found irksome with the film as I was watching. This will therefore be a rambling running list as I watch.  As you can imagine, it didn’t take long to get me started: -

1.    Opening scene - Jolie's outfit right from the start - OMG who wears long length gloves for a morning/afternoon stroll these days; do they even make them anymore?  This opening scene with an over the top costume seems to be a metaphor for the film that I am watching “Over the top and nice to look at but highly indulgent”.  With the orange ribbon belt hanging from her waist doing nothing other than drawing attention to her bottom, I complete my first judgment by asking how it is possible to complete a train ride from Paris to Venice with only a clutch (stylish as it may be) bag?  I have been known to be resourceful with how much I can get in a hand bag however, where is a gal to put her change purse, cell phone and spare girly products?  Luckily for Jolie’s “Elise” she is carrying her passport.  I guess if I were planning to have a coffee in the morning with my long gloves on, I would carry my passport too!
2.    Depp is supposed to be a legit tourist from the US “Frank” traveling through Europe and yet again, little baggage to make this ambitious trip - ok ok I know I am being a little baggage obsessed but c’mon.  At least he did carry his bed knobs and broomsticks-esque pajamas- are they available at Walmart? Does any man in the US wear those anymore? Good to see that they can hold up a chase through Venice along roof tops without even a tear. I wonder if they have spandex in them?
3.    Following an implausible boat chase through the windy canals in Venice, Jolie's character drops Frank off in raggedy (as raggedy as Jolie can get if you get my drift) jeans and sweater, makes her way to the agency still wearing her long gloves albeit a different pair than on the train (maybe a “buy one get one free” deal?) and between parking her boat and making her way into the building manages to get an entire wardrobe makeover and hair do…but she is still wearing the same gloves. I just don't get it!!!
4.    Jolie's awful Cat walk type walk – I just can’t even say anymore
5.    Depp is supposed to be a small town schoolteacher and yet, he is able to waltz flawlessly.  I took ballroom dancing for an entire term at college along with one lambada class and I still can't shimmy let alone one, two, three
6.    Obviously much of the budget was spent on costumes for Jolie since thee are no people or extras around on the streets of Venice?  I've been and there are people everywhere ALL of the time
7.    Jolie looks like fashion Barbie for most of the film

In spite of the fact that I still found many things that irritated me, I have to say surprisingly, I did enjoy the film a lot more on second viewing.  Maybe because I could see it for what it really was; an over indulgent, over the top silly would-be blockbuster which is at it's core a story about the lengths people go to for love, perhaps or just a form of great escapism that manages to transport you to another world for 90 minutes or so.  The one thing I loved loved loved of course the fact that this is shot in Venice.  It's worth watching just for that

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Did Take a Page from Morgan Spurlock’s latest Docu-Flick “POM Presents the Greatest Movie Ever sold”?

Having recently been lucky enough to view a sneak peek of another great offering from the talented Morgan Spurlock (full review coming at shortly) of his recent movie, “POM presents The Greatest Movie ever Sold”, (opening 22 April), I was shocked to see this house and offer from all over the news today.  Apparently are looking for houses – your house in fact to turn into a billboard

I thought for a moment that Morgan Spurlock had not only conquered the “super size” but as a result of his latest documentary about branding, advertising and product placement that is financed and made possible by brands, advertising and product placement, that he had finally got under the skin of everyone else around him and inspired companies like to do the same only in reverse – find people’s homes to brand.  Adzookie’s offer goes something like this:
“We're looking for houses to paint. In fact, paint is an understatement. We're looking for homes to turn into billboards. In exchange, we'll pay your mortgage every month for as long as your house remains painted
Here are a few things we're looking for. You must own your home. It cannot be rented or leased. We'll paint the entire outside of the house, minus the roof, the windows and any awnings. Painting will take approximately 3 - 5 days. Your house must remain painted for at least three months and may be extended up to a year. If, for any reason, you decide to cancel after three months or if we cancel the agreement with you, we'll repaint your house back to the original colors.
If you're prepared for the bright colors and stares from neighbors just complete the submission form below. We review every submission. If your home meets our criteria, an Adzookie team member will contact you”

I guess this takes branding to a whole different level and has already been bombarded by offers from thousands of home owners from around the country.  It got me thinking; do these folk really want a Digiorno pizza painted all over Grandma’s window or are they just so happy to get help with the mortgage payments?  The latter for sure, no?!?

Of course, there is obviously no known link at this time between the two events mentioned here, however, this is a stark reminder of the economy today and the lengths to which companies will go to in order to get into our psyche.  So to those of you not prepared to have your house painted (or can’t because your homeowners won’t allow it) do go and watch the latest and “Greatest” offering from the Docu-master himself opening in theatres on 22 April.  At  least Mr. Spurlock only has to wear a branded (Ted Baker) suit

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Now Jennifer Anniston Really Has a Haircut to Hate

Some artistes are highly regarded for their impressive acting ability like Dame Judy Dench, Helen Mirren or Colin Firth (sorry all British) and others are known as great action heroes like Bruce Lee or Jason Statham.  Some may even make it big as comedians ala Sandra Bullock, Steve Carrel and Tina Fey (although “Date Night” wasn’t one of my faves), so it must be mighty hard waking up every morning and realizing that the only thing you may be remembered for in years to come is your haircut?  Poor Jennifer Aniston.
Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not a hater and I only dream of being remembered for anything (even my haircut) but c’mon to be thankless and unappreciative about the very thing that made you famous just doesn’t seem very fair to me.  In a recent article with Allure magazine, the “Rom-com” actress once termed “America’s Sweetheart” stated that she hated the “Rachel” cut calling it the "The ugliest haircut I've ever seen".   For those of you oblivious to what the “Rachel” was, the description is as follows: a bouncy, square-layered hairstyle introduced by Jennifer Aniston (created by famed hairstylist Chris MacMillan) in season one of the hit American sitcom “Friends” and named after her character, Rachel Green.
"Have there been disasters?”  Jennifer told the magazine “I think that's a very relative term with hair. Let's say there have been moments I'd rather not relive, like that whole Rachel thing. I love Chris [McMillan, her hairstylist], and he's the bane of my existence at the same time because he started that damn Rachel, which was not my best look. How do I say this? I think it was the ugliest haircut I've ever seen. What I really want to know is, how did that thing have legs? Let's just say I'm not a fan of short, layered cuts on me personally, so I don't love revisiting that particular era."
The cut was widely imitated and is still popular over 10 years later.  In fact, in 2010, six years after the show ended, a survey found the cut as the most popular among British women. 
Dull, lifeless, dry, listless; definitely not the words I would use to describe Jennifer Aniston’s hair but maybe her film career following the end of Friends – perhaps this is what Ms. Aniston would rather be remembered for? Films like “Rumor has it”, “Love happens” (I couldn’t even sit through the whole thing and I love Aaron Eckhart) or even “Rock Star”?
Anyways, I don’t think it matters because like others before her who were lucky enough to experience incredible fame as a result of an extremely popular TV series, eventually like her costars, Jennifer Aniston is not so far away herself from vanishing into obscurity fighting to stay relevant unless she can really pull one out. 
Given her film career doesn’t seem to be blossoming with her last few box office openings being luke warm at best “The Switch” and “The Bounty Hunter” for example, maybe she thought, we would care about her new haircut.  And care we did, Jennifer Aniston debuted a brand new, news worthy hair cut while in Spain promoting her new film “Just Go With It”. (BTW also tepid).  The inspiration to do the simple bob?   Her hairdresser Chris McMillan told Allure magazine: ‘There are so many long, layered hairstyles and—don’t get me wrong, I love that. But “The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills” all have that. You know what I mean? And what’s the opposite direction you can go in.” Apparently it’s a stylized bob.  ‘It was just time for a change,’ McMillan said. ‘We had a blast doing it.  I’m sure he did and perhaps he was offended by Aniston’s words about the Rachel and decided to get his own back giving her a “reverse mullet” instead?

Oh well, unless Maestro MacMillan can keep coming up with new hairstyles for our beloved Jen to keep her in the news, we may just end up seeing her on “Dancing with the stars” or “Celebrity Apprentice” in years to come after all.  At least we know she knows about the housewives

Thursday, March 3, 2011

I am Jack’s disgust at the expelling of Nine 6th graders for a “Fight Club”

Nine sixth-grade boys were expelled from Stewart Middle School in Tacoma, WA on Monday after officials at the School learned about their suspected participation in a so-called bathroom "fight club."

The News Tribune reported that “The fight club” came to light after officials at Steward Middle School in Tacoma viewed footage from a video on a student’s cell phone. One of the boys had supposedly recorded approximately 15 such fights using his phone. This leads me to believe that generation Z really does have a decreased ability to watch and retain information, for surely if this young member of our society had been a true fan of this incredible film (as I am), then said boy would have know not to keep a record.

"I was horrified. I kept expecting one of them to go into a wall. Those bathrooms are very unforgiving on a 12-year-old boy's body," an aunt whose nephew was part of this fight club told Fox News.

Tacoma Public Schools spokesman Dan Voelpel said the boys (friends albeit) would set up after-school fights in the boys’ restroom or at their own homes, to see who was the toughest. Voelpel added that the fights were timed and had specific rules, like “no hitting your opponent in the face”.

The boys were given “emergency expulsions” with the length of their punishment to be determined on a case-by-case basis. District officials also alerted school principals throughout the city to be on the alert for these kinds of incidents.

Stupid boys, wasn’t the first rule of Fight Club that “You do not talk about Fight Club” with the second being “YOU DO NOT TALK ABOUT FIGHT CLUB” let alone capture it on your cell phone for the world to see? 

So, I’m not advocating violence in any way, shape or form and I don’t know how bad these fights really were because it is never ok to have organized fighting unless it is in a ring and someone is being paid a lot of money. Certainly young boys should never be egging each other on to see how much they can hurt one another but I think I am having a few problems with the expulsions (which I think is rather dramatic) for a number of reasons:-

  • These were friends – isn’t this what all 11/12 year boys do? The fighting was by consent - I mean are we so na├»ve to think that boys don’t fight? In their bedrooms, in the playground, in the shower?!? I mean, are we going to start expelling young girls for braiding each other’s hair next? 
  • Apparently none of the boys’ parents had reported the incidents to school authorities before the video aired – isn’t that because they know that this is what young boys do? 
  • Wasn’t it better that these young boys took their measured aggression out on each other by choice vs. finding another kid to bully or harass? (c’mon, the fights were timed) and they got a good bit of exercise doing it no?
What are we teaching these kids by expelling them? Are we saying “Fighting is no good?” – well the physical kind at least because it’s not like the mental kind isn’t taking place all over the world or “Don’t harm others?” - they had the good sense not to hurt each other’s faces or are we saying that “It’s only ok to fight if you don a spandex suit and do it under the supervision of an adult and for the glory of your school?” (give me a break, I just watched “Win-win”.

There you go, nine little boys are probably sat at home playing with their Xbox 360’s because they’re not allowed to be outside doing something physical with their mates and worse still, they’re probably playing Halo 2 or splinter cell or worse still Grand Theft Auto Double Pack – is that better? 

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

How Long can a T(w)een Sensation Last?

With Justin Bieber losing out “Best newcomer” Grammy to Esperanza Spalding, it got me thinking about why so much fuss gets made about child prodigies or “Tween” sensations. 

Regarding “Bieber Fever”, I have come to the conclusion that I must live in a black hole because I swear 6 months ago I didn’t even know who Justin Bieber was thinking he was a Disney character from an animal movie (“Oh, BieBer”) and then it struck me, tween sensations stay famous for just the amount of time it takes to cross over to adulthood.

I started to wonder why the “sell-by date” is rather short reminiscing about how John Taylor from Duran Duran was going to be my husband (when I was 12-14) and I tried hard to think about why or when I dumped this idea.  Ultimately it comes down to two main issues; first and foremost famous tweens eventually grow up and many become polluted ala Brittney Spears, La Lohan, (Miley Cyrus is close now) and they become just like the rest of us (or not) many ending up checking into rehab vs successfully crossing over to the adult entertainment world.  Or secondly, the very fans that made them famous grow up and move onto bigger and better things (Prada handbags anyone?)

However, for the time tweens are tweens, they have become a huge potential market for hungry cooperations.  Twenty million strong nationwide, tweens — defined as kids aged 8 to 14, often referred to as “Generation Z” or “digital natives” now flex $43 billion worth of annual spending power, according to Larissa Faw, editor at Youth Markets Alert, a trade newsletter based in New York City.

These young consumers receive an average weekly allowance of $12 each, up from only $5 in 2009. Despite family belt-tightening these days, parents still aren’t economizing on their kids. Plus, says Faw, “nearly half of their parents 47% provide an allowance knowing it will be spent rather than saved.”  With  approximately 10% of that pool being spent on Consumer electronics and music/books, it’s only natural then that Gen Z would rather spend their dollars on someone they aspire to look and be like as opposed to Mick Jagger from the Rolling Stones (how many 10 year olds just said “Who is the Rolling Stones?) and Recording studios know this, so the search for the next best teen sensation remains perenial

So non fans of JB, the countdown to irrelevance has begun.  Our youngling is now 16 and anonymity plus the prospect of being on “Dancing with the stars 40” is not so far away.  In the interim, I wish our young apprentice well since he may actually be one of the lucky ones that does make it.  Maybe he needs to make friends with Justin Timberlake to get top tips

Thursday, February 3, 2011

What is Gwyneth Paltrow Complaining About now?

Not content to be just an academy award winner or daughter of Blythe Danner and Bruce Paltrow, or wife of Chris Martin or mother to Apple and Moses, or former (?) BFF of Madonna, I rather fear after attempting to try and reinvent herself yet again as she struggled her was through singing in “Country Strong”, Gwyneth Paltrow is in fear of having an identity crisis.

Or perhaps this woman is just so self absorbed that she won’t be happy until she is ruler of the universe or something like that?  I mean c’mon Gwynny, you really think you have problems?  A recent article in Harpers and Bazaar magazine in the UK (March issue) quoted her as saying “People are so mean to me” this was of course in reference to her website “Goop” where she has often been criticized for giving advice on an array of topics from roasting chickens (probably care of Jamie Oliver)  to how much Mary Hartzell has helped her be the best possible Parent.

I don’t particularly like Gwyneth because I think she just comes across as a little whiny and well, a bit of a “has been” who is fighting to stay relevant.  Now she claims that “she doesn't care if you don't like her” but I beg to differ otherwise, why would she be spending so much time fighting for any of our mind share.

Well before I criticize her website too much, I decided to pay said website a visit.  Looks nice enough and I’ll let you judge for yourself but it’s fairly derivative of a few others I have come across.  Ms Paltrow would have you believe that she’s totally fine if people make fun of her, she “doesn’t care because she doesn’t read any of it anyway” and yet she expects us to go to her website and care about what she writes, seems a little unfair if you ask me and especially because she now fancies herself as a bit of a Martha Stewart or so her website would have you believe.

PS if you add an “i” to Apple’s last name she becomes a rather tasty drink…Gwyneth Paltrow – bartender?