Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Monday, January 21, 2008

Baby, It's Cold Outside

What better way to hot things up on an icy-cold winter's night with some lurid imagery from the fevered imagination of Harold Robbins?

Trailer for The Carpetbaggers (1964).

Fashion show from The Adventurers (1970).

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Soviet Oscars!

One thing that has been interesting about the writers' strike in the States is how management's refusal to get back to the bargaining table has wound up imposing a quasi-Soviet gloom on the entertainment industry. Sunday night's televised Golden Globes ceremony was kind of like a 1988 Cold War awards show with a Hollywood touch, with no jokes and glammed-up TASS reporters as the presenters. (Come on, weren't there any right-wing movie stars with enough cojones to stride through a picket line and rip open some envelopes?) It's amazing that the industry is choosing to go forward with awards season in the midst of the strike, pretending that this dourness is the best possible way to do things instead of just sending out a press release like in wartime. The old adage must be true: The Show Must Go On.

Here is clip from Hollywood Foreign Press Association's Televised Conference / Awards Ceremony - category is Best Original Musical Song From Feature-Length Movie Film For Theatres. Loving usage of oppressive roomtone.

Will the Academy Awards be this amazing? Will they fly in Gorbachev to give out the Best Picture award? Will they finally give Sergei Eisenstein his special lifetime achievement Oscar?

Monday, January 14, 2008

This Is Not Your Mother's CBC

Says the latest full-page ad touting the launch of the Mothercorp's Winter Prime-Time Schedule, and they are not kidding. I guess the bad news is CBC 2.0 won't be bringing us anything along the lines of SCTV, The Kids In The Hall or Donald Brittain-calibre documentaries, then.

CBC has recently seemed to me to be about three or four years behind most TV trends. Their biggest ratings hit of late, Little Mosque on the Prairie, bears more than a passing resemblance to Corner Gas, a successful CBC-esque show airing on the private broadcaster for three or four years now.

This season, CBC has:

- their own 24 (The Border, with lots of Kiefer-meets-David Caruso squinting through Raybans, jittery shots of computer monitors, gunmetal grey interrogation rooms, dialogue revolving around the phrases "intel" and "satellite uplink" and gunfights in parking lots with shutter-strobe photography.)

- their own Footballers' Wives (MVP: The Secret Lives of Hockey Wives): bare bums in the locker room and flashes of boobies after 9 PM! Here's a telling quote from one of the actresses on the show (italics mine): “I remember my jaw dropping when the script for the pilot had a sex scene that involved double-teaming. It never shows that happening, but I remember going, ‘What? For the CBC, a threesome is pretty risqué!'”

- a Reality Bites-esque Gen-Y comedy called J-Pod billed wincingly as "a full terabyte of dysfunctional" but which at least has Alan Thicke as a sleazy dad. That still won't be enough, though.

- their own wacky one-woman Sex In The City called Sophie (itself a remake of a Quebec sitcom) which seems to have incorporated every Cosmo cliché imaginable without irony: the gay best friend, the domineering mother, etc. The tagline for the show is "And the craziness hasn't even begun!", which I imagine they can use for the entire run of the series.

Well, at least it's writers strike reruns in the States and that will allow these shows a rare chance to be seen. And whether or not it all works out, I guess this means maybe in 2010 the CBC will have an ersatz Desperate Housewives or Entourage to push, perhaps while mocking the kind of shows they are running now.

Hey, and what's wrong with the old CBC anyway? It was awesome! I think the braintrust ignores this at their peril.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Write What You Know, Brisseau

The ever-shrinking world of French filmmaker Jean-Claude Brisseau has just shrunk a bit further... in 2002 Brisseau made the deeply cynical male-gaze extravaganza Secret Things, an erotic thriller about two women using their sexuality to move up the corporate ladder. Upon the film's release, Brisseau was charged by two actresses who auditioned for the film with sexual assault (he had asked them to masturbate before his camera as part of the audition, you see). He was found guilty and received a suspended sentence.

His follow-up film, 2006's The Exterminating Angels, is an even sleazier film about a film director who makes a film about female eroticism, hiring young actresses to audition by masturbating in front of his camera who then turn around and accuse him of sexual assault. And lo and behold, last month Brisseau was accused by two more actresses who said he sexually assaulted them during the auditions for this newest film.

Brisseau, who in real life looks like the Paramount Pictures mountain if it wore a leather jacket, denies these latest charges. This is just a guess, but I think Brisseau's next film will be about a filmmaker making a film about a filmmaker making a film about female eroticism who hires women to masturbate in front of the camera who will then accuse him of sexual assault, only to be charged himself with sexual assault.

(Thanks, Andréa, for the update - I'm now obsessed.)

Buenos Aires In Trailer Form

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Upchuck Taylors

This might be the most tasteless tribute to Kurt Cobain yet (and that's saying something); this spring Converse, in honour of their 100th anniversary, will be issuing a limited edition line of Kurt Cobain one-star sneakers.

Okay, granted, they are slightly similar to the pair he was wearing when he killed himself, but let's not dwell on that too much. Besides, never underestimate the power of the Insensitivity Dollar: it's a big market, and his estate is wise to capitalize on it.

Friday, January 04, 2008

Is David O. Russell The American Nostradamus?

I'm starting to wonder.

In 1999 he makes Three Kings, a period piece when it was made that also acts as a commentary on current US involvement in the Middle East. To wit:

And if that wasn't prescient enough for you...

Then a few years later he makes an existentialist post-9/11 screwball comedy called, of all things, I Heart Huckabees. Now go turn on CNN.

So if you're wondering what will happen in America in 2012, here's the synopsis of his next project, Nailed (now in pre-production, according to the IMDB:

A political satire in which Jessica Biel plays Sammy Joyce, a socially awkward receptionist who gets hit in the head with a nail in an accident. This triggers her wild, sexual urges which causes her to fight in Washington for the rights of the bizarrely injured. She meets an immoral congressman (Jake Gyllenhaal) who takes advantage of her sex drive and capitalizes on her crusade as Joyce heads into her own career in politics.

You can't deal with his infinite nature, can you, America?

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

French Pop Holiday

This goes out to those who are still enjoying the holidays...Sheila et ses amis...