Peter O’Toole Retires

After 150 years of being in the acting business, legendary actor Peter O’Toole is retiring.

It’s my belief that one should decide for oneself when it is time to end one’s stay. So I bid the profession a dry-eyed and profoundly grateful farewell.

Mr. O’Toole was nominated for the Academy Award EIGHT times, but unfortunately never won any of them. He was, however, awarded with the “honorary Oscar” which is the academy’s way of sucking up to a talented actor that they’ve snubbed for over forty years.

You’ll most likely remember him best from the classic, Lawrence of Arabia but Mr. O’Toole has been in at least 70 films, and a slew of television and stage performances. This man had one heck of a career.

Here is one of my favorite O’Toole moments from the film The Lion in Winter 

Get Low

Get Low is a movie I’m betting the majority of you haven’t heard of (because I sure as hell didn’t), which really sucks considering the all-star cast it has for its leads (Robert Duvall, Bill Murray, and Sissy Spacek). The film was released back in 2009 at the Toronto International Film Festival and from then on sort of just, well, stayed low as it were. It only played to about 550 theaters, and got a lot of strong critical reception, but that was about it. A good number of critics that supported the movie went so far as to predict some sort of Oscar attention for the performances which, unfortunately, never happened which is a damn shame considering that is the main reason anyone should see this movie.

Get Low tells the “somewhat based on real events” story of a local hermit, Felix Bush (Robert Duvall) who tries to buy himself a funeral party, that he will attend alive. He strolls into town on his mule-drawn carriage, while the everyday citizens spew their rumors about how he “is in league with the devil” or “killed a bunch of people in cold blood” and such. After Felix has been turned down his interesting request, alcoholic funeral parlor owner Frank Quinn (Bill Murray), who doesn’t want to miss out on a chance to take an old coot’s  money, jumps at the proposition! Felix wants to invite the whole town and anyone who has an interesting story to tell about him to his party, and to insure people come he starts a raffle, the winner of which will inherit his land the day he dies.

This is the premise for the first half of the movie, and they really run with it. There are plenty of opportunities for Bill Murray to have his comedic flair shine, and the interactions (although few) between him and Duvall are pretty hilarious. The film quickly shifts from a more comedic tone to a dramatic one with the introduction of the local widow Mattie (Sissy Spacek) of her and Felix’s past relationship, and her deceased sister Mary Lee. We soon find out that there is much more to Felix and that he is being eaten up by a dark secret that he has kept hidden for well over forty years.

It’s all an interesting story that is told relatively well, but the abrupt shift in tones early on, and some of the weaker fleshed out character relationships (Frank’s business partner Buddy, who adds nothing to the story despite the script’s urge to make him seem important) are a few signs of the not-so-hot script. But as I said above, what makes this movie awesome is the performances. Duvall’s depiction of the recluse Felix has so many layers, and he can communicate such strong emotions just through his stares and glares. Even in the first part of the movie where his character is just supposed to be a crotchety old man, Duvall adds so much more to it. The final monologue Duvall gives at the funeral party is, dare I say it, one of the best speeches any character has given on film and all the credit goes to Duvall. In those few minutes you see an eighty year old actor putting in his whole heart and soul, giving a truly career-defining performance. It’s incredible.

Bill Murray slips into the alcoholic, quick-witted funeral parlor manager role all too well. He finds any opportunity where he can make a scene funny, and is the main source for any of the film’s comic relief. The scenes between him and Duvall are absolutely delightful, but as I mentioned above there are just far too few. Sissy Spacek brings an incredible depth to Mattie, the scenes between her and Duvall have such an air of realism that it’s just a ton of fun to watch.

All of these awesome actors and not a single Oscar nod. Pretty sad, as all of them (most notably Duvall) deserved some high recognition for the work they did in this film. But really, who wants an Oscar these days anyway? The MTV awards is where it’s at.

You DAMN right!

 

 

 

Top Ten Movies for Independence Day

It’s that time of year again everybody! Bust out your American flag track suit, a stack of roman candles, and head on out to the closest neighborhood BBQ you can find! Seriously, just walk in! You don’t have to know them, it’s America’s Birthday, damn it, they have to let you in! Or you can just watch a bunch of movies, such as these ten that I have conveniently compiled into a list. They’re not all necessarily movies about Independence day, but they’re all movies that’ll have you shoutin’ “America Fuck Yeah!” Well one of them definitely will anyway…

National Treasure (2004)

Say what you will about Nicolas Cage (he’s Bitchy Queen’s favorite actor, but we’ve come to realize not everyone holds the same amount of respect for him) this is a fun movie. Using the history and mystery of our great America as it’s main plot, it’s got lots of patriotic sights to see and a fair amount of action as well. All in all a fun ride!

1776 (1972)

I’ll admit, this movie isn’t too good. I’ve heard the original stage version is much better, but I’ve never seen it so I can’t compare the two, HOWEVER where else will you get to see Mr. Feeney singing and dancing as John Adams? I mean come on, for God’s sake John Sit Down!

 

Rocky IV (1985)

It’s hard to make a more patriotic movie than this: Rocky Balboa punches the entire Soviet Union in the face. What isn’t to like? In all seriousness, it’s a good film with Stallone at his best and will make a great 4th of July flick. He is draped in the American flag on the cover, after all.

 

Rambo II (1985)

I ain’t done with Stallone just yet! While the first Rambo isn’t exactly the best “Go USA” type of movie (what with the whole America’s poor treatment of veterans and everything) First Blood: Part II is as America as you can get! Shootin’ up Soviets and Vietnamese.

 

Team America: World Police (2004)

I don’t really think I need to say anything other than this:

JFK (1991)

This is more of a political scandal sort of flick, more than one celebrating patriotism but it does revolve around one of the biggest national tragedies: the assassination of JFK. Tommy Lee Jones and Kevin Costner star in this controversial Oliver Stone flick, add in an amazing performance of Gary Oldman as Lee Harvey Oswald and you’ve got yourself one heckuva a crime drama.

Air Force One (1997)

Hey, speaking of Gary Oldman why not watch him and Harrison Ford duke it out in typical Soviet V. USA style? There ain’t nothin’ better than watching President Harrison Ford kicking some terrorist ass!

All the President’s Men (1976)

This film doesn’t exactly cover one of America’s, uh, finer moments but it is an interesting story about two Washington Post reporters uncovering the details of the Watergate scandal. With two amazing performances from Dustin Hoffman and Robert Redford, you don’t wanna miss this one.

A League of Their Own (1992)

You can’t go wrong with a movie all about America’s favorite pastime, and A League of Their Own is one of the finest baseball movies ever made. An amazing performance from Tom Hanks as the alcoholic manager Jimmy Dugan of an all female professional baseball team, The Peaches is reason enough to check this one out. But the rest of the performances in this movie are all fantastic, and is an all-around great story!

Independence Day (1996)

Well with a name like that it’d be hard to not finish off this list. For real though, Will Smith and the USA teaming up with the rest of the world to blow the crap out of some aliens. This is the one you’ll all be watching.

Happy Birthday Lindsay (Slow News Day)

July 2nd! The birthday of everybody’s beloved child-star turned crack-head, Ms. Lindsay Lohan! In honor of Bitchy Queens’ favorite actress, we’ve decided to give you all a glimpse of this phenomenal star’s transformation over the last 25 years (note, the music in this video is pretty ridiculous, like dramatic B-movie horror music).

Holy Bat-Ramadan!

Quick, what’s the most anticipated film this summer? What’s that? No, besides The Avengers. Hmm? No, not Magic Mike. That’s right, The Freaking Dark Knight Freaking Rises!

Starring Freaking Batman

Batman and movie fans alike will get to enjoy what is more than likely going to be the best movie made by humans, all over the globe July 20th. Batman and movie fans all over the globe, except the United Arab Emirates or other countries in that area, such as, oh I dunno, the country where I’m spending the majority of my summer. It won’t find release over here until nearly a month later, and the main reason for this being that July 20th falls on the first day of Ramadan, or the first month of Islamic fasting. Basically Ramadan is a time where practicing Muslims don’t eat or drink during the daylight hours, pray more often than usual, and is a time for them to show patience, sacrifice, and submissiveness to God. During this time, Muslims are expected to avoid any irreligious and obscene sights and sounds, so I suppose any sort of film that isn’t about God, or in this case The Freaking Dark Knight Freaking Rises. 

The main decision behind this delay comes out of Shooting Stars, the film’s regional distributor. The claim is that it is delayed “Out of respect for the UAE and Islamic customs during the Holy Month of Ramadan”. So around this time of year, the movie theaters are treated with all sorts of re-release goodies instead. Just take a look at a couple of these A-List titles:

  • The Big Wedding 
  • Recoil
  • Dancing Ninja 

I actually had to look Dancing Ninja up. Apparently it’s about “An orphaned boy who dreams of being a ninja that arrives in Hollywood to try and find his birth parents, where he gets mixed up in a crime.” Not sure when the dancing comes in. Also it’s got David Hasselhoff and some kid from Halloweentown High. 

“But wait!” you shout, “if you can’t watch films during Ramadan, why are the movie theaters even open? This sounds more like a ploy from the movie distribution companies to not lose money on a big, mega-hit blockbuster, more than out of respect for religious worship!” Well said! And it appears you wouldn’t be the only person to think that way, there is apparently a pretty big uproar from fans in the area that have started several online petitions to bring Batman to the UAE July 20th. While it’s great to see multi-cultural bat-heads rally together to bring this gem to movie screens at a reasonable time, I don’t have very high hopes. The distribution companies, much like the non-geeks of the world, have the same “get the hell over it, you’ll see it in a month” mentality. They just don’t understand the injustice of the issue! They don’t care that we’ll all more than likely know how the movie ends before we even get a chance to see it (stupid blogs!) So keep up the online petitions, let your voice be heard, just know that despite your best efforts you’ll more than likely be watching this:

The Bestest – Brick

Brick (2005)

Written and Directed by Rian Johnson. Starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Nora Zehetner, Lukas Haas, and Emilie de Ravin.

The second movie to make mah bestest list is Brick, the 1930s detective film set in a modern American high school starring a pre-500 Days of Summer Joseph Gordon-Levitt.

The film opens on the hero, Brendan (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) discovering the dead body of his ex-girlfriend, Emily, in a ditch. Through a brief flashback we learn that Emily had called him earlier for help; he stands at a lonely payphone booth as a passing car (or rather the people in it) cause her to hang up and flee. A cigarette butt is sent flying from the passenger window, the first of many clues Brendan uses to piece together her murder.

From this point on Brendan transforms into a classic noir gumshoe, tracking down Emily’s movements through a seedy high school drug ring with the help of his mysterious brainiac ally, aptly dubbed The Brain. If any of this sounds remotely familiar, that’s because it absolutely is. The plot of Brick is nothing particularly different and special, but the way it is told is refreshingly unique.

The characters in this film are less that and more character types. For instance, Brain is a role typically seen as a newspaper reporter hanging around dark bars or dreary alleyways, which Rian Johnson adapts into a typical high school nerd leaning against the back wall of the school or hiding in his private nook in the library. These archetypes keep coming as Brendan ignores threats and strikes deals with the Principal (a role usually filled by police captains in the old detective films), fights the seductions of tough and sassy dames (in the form of the “queen” of the drama department and the popular girl on campus), battles a crippled crime kingpin, and loud-mouthed tough guys whose bark is bigger than their bite (the star of the high school football team, and dope head junky). These adaptations not only make the dissonance between the character’s actions and their modern portrayal all the more interesting, but allow the noir style to be more accessible to modern audiences.

I own that duck cane. Just sayin'.

This isn’t the first modern film that’s combined and adapted elements of noir, just look at Reservoir Dogs, but what sets it apart from the others is that it sets the attitudes and dialogues of classic detective fiction in a modern American High School. The characters all speak like they’re straight out of a Dashiell Hammett novel with lines like, “No, the bulls would gum it. They’d flash their dusty standards at the wide-eyes and probably find some yegg to pin, probably even the right one.”

None of the dialogue throughout is like anything seen in the countless other movies set in high schools, nor can it in any way be described as “modern”. Which is exactly what makes it so mesmerizing. The combination of a modern setting and updated character types with old detective dialogue creates such an interesting dynamic that is more and more entertaining each time you watch.

If you’re unfamiliar with the genre that Brick draws such heavy inspiration from, don’t worry. This film’s got just enough indie quirks in it to keep you interested and if none of that floats your boat then at least watch it for the stellar performances. JGL is flawless as the brooding Brendan, completely embodying the archetype both physically and emotionally, and the rest of the cast all step up to plate, delivering a set of engaging performances.

While the plot may not be anything different, it’s told in such a creative and unique way that you forgive it for that fault and enjoy the noir-iness (made that one up). Find this movie now and go watch it. Please? Thanks.

JIGGLE


Hesher Trailer

 

Hesher stars Natalie Portman, Rainn Wilson, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Devon Brochu. It had it’s debut at the Sundance Film Festival in 2010 and will be released in theaters sometime in April. I think Jiggles fits well into the social outcast role (just watch Brick) and this definitely takes that type to the extreme. I’d keep an eye out for this one, it looks pretty danged interesting.

Holy Cast List Batman!

The Dark Knight Rises is the third and supposed final film in the Nolan-Batman saga, and while the cast list was announced quite some time ago theres still a couple mysteries surrounding who’s gonna be who.

I’ll start with what has been confirmed and what many of you probably know: Christian Bale, Morgan Freeman, Michael Caine and Gary Oldman are all back reprising their roles from the previous films. But all that’s boring. The fun stuff here is that the villains are going to be Bane played by Tom Hardy and Selina Kyle (or Catwoman as you might know her) played by Anne Hathaway. I find it interesting that Nolan chose these two villains as he has generally picked the baddies that don’t have super powers, Ra’s Al Ghul being the only exception as in the comics he is immortal. However, even with that Nolan was able to manipulate it in a way so that Ra’s was no longer a single, immortal entity but rather a  title that is inherited with the passing of the former so that there will always be a Ra’s Al Ghul. Crafty Bastard.

Lil' somethin like dis

I’m not sure what Nolan-y twists are going to be present for Bane and Catwoman, although since Tom Hardy is going to take on the role as the venomed up behemoth I’d have to assume that they’re going to portray him closer to the comic incarnation, wherein he is extremely intelligent and devious, as opposed to the Batman & Robin mind-less, wrecking ball adaptation. He was also the first villain to severely cripple the Bat by breaking his spine…over his knee. That better be in there.

Adding Catwoman into the mix should bring a great dynamic as I’m sure Nolan is going to play with the love/hate relationship she and Batsie have. Serving as a both a new love interest and enemy should make for a compelling plot. Hopefully.

The most recent news surrounding the bat-flick is the involvement of Joseph Gordon-Levitt (JGL, Jiggle, Jigglets, what have you) and the possible inclusion of Marion Cotillard. Deadline reports that Jiggle will be in the film when Nolan starts production, although it is still unsure who he will be playing. There are rumors circulating around that he’ll take on Alberto Falcone, son of the mob boss Carmine Falcone from Batman Begins, although there have been no confirmations one way or another. There’s even been talk about him being some sort of Robin figure, although I’m not sure that’s necessarily the road this film would go down. Regardless,  I love me some Jigglin’ so I don’t particularly care who he’ll be playing.

The involvement of Marion Cotillard is a little bit suspect still, but it was reported last week by the French newspaper Le Fiargo that she will be joining the cast. This has yet to be confirmed or denied but there’s already rumor spreading that she’ll be playing Talia Al Ghul, daughter of Ra’s mentioned above. If we accept both this and Jiggle playing Carmine’s son, that means a whole crap-load of familial ties to deal with and sift through during the plot, which in turn can only mean a Batman film leaning on the lengthy side. But really, does anybody have a problem with that?

Rumors, rumors, rumors. All I know is this cast is looking more and more like Inception by the minute. Now all we have to do is wait for an announcement about Leo signing on for Calendar Man. If only. If only…

I'm the King of the World!