Oz The Great And The Powerful Trailer

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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!

 

 

 

Penn and Teller

I’m a magic geek. I love all of it, the sleight of hand stuff, the card tricks, the illusions, stuff bursting into flames and transforming into something else, all of that crap excites me and it has always been a childhood dream of mine to be a magician. So lately I’ve been doing some research into some basic tricks, small sleight of hand stuff, so that I can learn the basics and start building up. While my dreams have shifted and I no longer aspire to be a magician, I still want to learn some of the stuff that manages to mystify me.

While looking up some tricks I stumbled across some videos of the famous comedy/magic duo Penn and Teller. These guys have been performing solid routines since the late 70’s and they’ve only gotten better. I plan on writing more on these guys and why they’re my favorite magicians out there, but for now why not take a look at some of their more amazing illusions?

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.

“A Tragedy of the Imagination”

I recently finished watching Rupert Goold’s film adaptation of Shakespeare’s Macbeth starring Patrick Stewart and was blown away. The adaptation keeps the Scottish locations and names, but sets it in a bleak, gloomy environment that is essentially an old run-down hospital morgue, with Stalinist soviet-era costumes, weapons, and sensibilities. Amazing performances aside, simply the aesthetic that Goold created in this adaptation is enough to keep you drawn in completely. There is a constant air of menace and distress, every shot is dark, grimy, dirty, and the three witches (portrayed here as blood-soaked nurses) are frightening. Not to mention the blood. There is a lot of blood in this production, which is fitting since the word “blood” is spoken a good 50 or so times throughout the whole play.

The main hook of this production for me though was of course Patrick Stewart as the titular tragic Macbeth, a character full of unchecked ambition, and a desire for a new world (even at the cost of the old one). If you’re familiar with Macbeth then you’re aware that this unchecked ambition doesn’t go so well for Ol’ McB, as he is eventually beheaded by the Thane of Fife, Macduff. In the few productions of this play that I have seen, the director and actors make it clear that this final duel between the Macs is Macbeth’s final push for his ultimate goal; his fight against spiritual prophecy that has predetermined his failure. What makes this production different and exciting is the director’s ability to make it clear that it is not Macduff who ultimately brings Macbeth’s undoing, but rather Macbeth’s own readiness to be killed. It’s almost as if he’s given up, allowed his death to happen, he no longer cares for this world he has fought for, and I believe that the best way Patrick Stewart makes that choice apparent to the audience is in his “tomorrow” soliloquy.

Admittedly, this speech is in my top five favorite Shakespeare monologues. It completely encapsulates Macbeth’s nihilistic attitude towards life in about twelve lines.

She should have died hereafter;
There would have been a time for such a word.
Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow,
Creeps in this petty pace from day to day,
To the last syllable of recorded time;
And all our yesterdays have lighted fools
The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle!
Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage
And then is heard no more. It is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury
Signifying nothing.

Brilliant. And Patrick Stewart brings his own equally brilliant adaptation to this monologue. Just take a gander:

Upon hearing the news of his wife’s death, he hardly takes a pause and responds completely cold, not a single utterance of grief at the passing (by her own hand) of his wife. The speech carries on with Macbeth’s sudden realization that time, “tomorrow”, will forever spin forward; completely painful, and completely meaningless. The anguish on his face at the third “tomorrow” is heartbreaking, the way he looks down to his diseased wife on “all our yesterdays” and the disdain with which he says “out, out brief candle” show that he has completely given up.

Man, I can talk about this monologue for hours, but just go ahead and watch it. And then watch the whole production, it’s on Netflix so check it out, it’s pretty fantastic.

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).