Archives for January 2012

Tuesday’s Overlooked: Little Voice (1998)

Little Voice is based on the stage play The Rise and Fall of Little Voice by Jim Cartwright, written and directed by Mark Herman.

It stars Jane Horrocks, Michael Caine, Brenda Blethyn, Jim Broadbent and Ewan McGregor. What amazed me about this film all those years ago was that I principally knew of Horrock’s work as the ditzy-headed Bubble in the classic Absolutely Fabulous. As a consequence I did not know she could sing, much less mimic classic lounge singers the way she did in this film. It was quite impressive.

Laura (Horrocks), known as Little Voice (LV for short) is a shy, retiring young woman who lives with her mom, Mari (Blethyn), but primarily keeps to her room, listening to records of singers of yesteryear – including Marilyn Monroe, Judy Garland and Marlene Dietrich. There is a sentimental attachment to the music as the records she plays are those of her beloved late father. In stark contrast, Mari treats her daughter with great indifference; most of her energies are focused on more amorous pursuits. In fact it is one of her recent conquests, Ray (Caine) who at once hears her magnificent voice and decides at once to exploit her talents for commercial gain. We then see her career’s fortunes rise and fall (as per the play’s original title). But do not be alarmed, it is a tender, sweet and ultimately triumphant story.

For those of you who do not mind a spoiler-ish scene from the film, there is a clip from the film that shows her full range on display available on YouTube.

According to ‘The WIKIPEDIA” the following songs were performed by Horrocks herself:

  • “The Man that Got Away”
  • “Lover Man (Oh Where Can You Be)”
  • “Over the Rainbow”
  • “Chicago”
  • “Big Spender”
  • “I Wanna Be Loved By You”
  • “Sing As We Go”
  • “Falling in Love Again”
  • “Get Happy”

I think my personal  favorite scene is early on when Ray discovers that LV has pipes:

Cooking and Food in the Movies

Ahhh … FOOD GLORIOUS FOOD

FACT: I love to cook (and bake). So I often look forward to watching how the actors in films throw down. As you can imagine, it is not  the most authentic portrayal of the culinary arts in actions. But the results are (of course) something to marvel at.

That got me thinking further about food and their representation in motion pictures. Thanks to some intrepid research on the Chowhound website, I was able to compile a list of pretty yummy offerings. You may also want to check out this article on the Gastronomica website; it has a wonderful comprehensive list.


Among of my favorite films:

  • LIKE WATER FOR CHOCOLATE
  • BIG NIGHT
  • UNDER THE TUSCAN SUN
  • SOUL KITCHEN

On my must see list:

  • Chocolat
  • Mostly Martha
  • Fork Over Knives
  • Food Inc.
  • Ratatouille – I saw about 30 minutes of it and then my niece and nephew had a meltdown in the theatre. We had to leave the cinema. I have yet to see the rest of the film. Although I will admit that the idea of a rat being a master chef is not necessarily the most appetizing of prospects.

Honorable mentions: Waitress, Soul Food


Guilty Pleasure: No Reservations

While I have not seen Mostly Martha, I have seen the English language/ U.S. version No Reservations starring Catherine Zeta Jones and Aaron Eckhart. I watch this on repeat viewings for two wonderful reasons: 1) great NYC shots and 2) Aaron Eckhart.


(Dis)honorable Mention: Eat Pray Love.

Not the best film that I have seen in recent memory, but this is about the best pizza I have seen; brought me right back to Italy!


What are some of your favorite films featuring food and cooking?

Sunday Night Rundown

Another week is upon us so I decided to take a look back at the week that was (notice not too many Oscar mentions – I think we have all had out fill of that).

Like I did last Monday, here are a collection of articles and other bits that I have seen around the web that I thought some of my readers might be interested in.

 

1. SUNDANCE 2012 COMES TO A CLOSE

The list is too long to put together is a single post so I respectfully defer to the Sundance Press Office for the full list of award winners of the festival.

 

2. THE GREY STRIKES GOLD

Liam Neeson’s latest action-adventure outing, The Grey, topped the box office this weekend with an estimated $20 million in receipts.

(A VIDEO BONUS): THAT SPEECH FROM TAKEN

Liam Neeson is a great sport:

 

3. OUCH!

In his review of One for the Money, Ramin Setoodeh of Newsweek Magazine asks who are Katherine Heigl’s fans?

 

4. OSCAR ROUNDTABLE 2012

Very entertaining panel this year; but a little off on its prediction (3/6 to be exact) of who would be in contention for the original Golden Boy of Hollywood.

 

5. TERMINATOR-R?

For those who care, Terminator 5 will be rated-R.

 

6. THE OLD TEAM IS BACK TOGETHER

After the winning Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz, Edgar Wright and Co. are teasing fans with a Twitter pic of the project they are working on.

 

7. MEET THE MOMS 🙂

Check out the gallery of mums-to-be for the upcoming film What to Expect When You are Expecting.

 

Have a great week everyone!

Coming Soon: Guy Pearce in “Lockout”

Open Road Films has released a new trailer for LOCKOUT, a sci-fi action thriller from the producers of TAKEN, starring Guy Pearce and Maggie Grace.

 

SYNOPSIS
Starring Guy Pearce and Maggie Grace and set in the near future, LOCKOUT follows a falsely convicted ex- government agent (Pearce), whose one chance at obtaining freedom lies in the dangerous mission of rescuing the President’s daughter (Grace) from rioting convicts at an outer space maximum security prison.

 

LOCKOUT drops in cinemas April 20th.

After viewing the trailer, let me know what you think in the comments field below.

What Will YOU Be Watching This Weekend?

For me I think this will either be a catchup weekend or I will catch a couple of flicks at my local art house cinema.

What will you be up to?

Spotlight on Rashida Jones

RASHIDA LEAH JONES
D.O.B. February 25, 1976, Los Angeles, California
Education: Harvard University
rashida jones, Andy Samberg

Rashida Jones first gained my notice in the 2004 Channel 4 (UK) series NY-LON, which aired here in the States on BBC America. Her co-star in the series was another unknown – Stephen Moyer, who would later find fame on the HBO hit series True Blood.

Since then, Jones, the scion of pop music impresario Quincy Jones and The Mod Squad‘s Peggy Lipton, she certainly has not relied on her Hollywood pedigree to pave her path to success. After completing her undergraduate studies at Harvard University, she started off small, including featured roles in shows such as Freaks and Geeks. For two years, she was a series regular on Boston Public. She even appeared in a couple of sketches of The Chappelle Show during its all too brief run.

A breakthrough came in 2006 when she played regular Karen Filippeli on the NBC sitcom The Office. This must have captured the attention of NBC execs and in 2009 led to a lead role in Parks and Recreation. In the same year, she played Paul Rudd’s intended in I Love You, Man. In 2010, she had a slightly more dramatic turn in the award-winning The Social Network. Last year’s film highlights include Our Idiot Brother and The Muppets.

Most recently (this week to be exact) she has been making waves at the Sundance Film Festival. Her film, Celeste and Jesse Forever, just got picked up for distribution and is being hailed as one of the breakouts of the festival. Not only is she starring in the film (with Andy Samberg), but she also co-wrote and is a producer on the project.

Rashida Jones, Andy Samberg

Rashida Jones, Andy Samberg in "Celeste and Jesse Forever"

She has definitely built a solid comedic career for herself. Here’s hoping that she has continued success including a career as a comedy writer. A lot will depend on the mass response to Celeste and Jesse. Goodness knows we need more witty people producing material for the masses.

UPDATE (2.03.2012): I stumbled upon a great article in American Jewish Life magazine, profiling Ms. Jones from 5 years ago. Enjoy!

Oscar™ Nominations Recap in Free Verse

Let me just state for the record – I am not a poet; that distinction goes to my late father. With that in mind, I present to you my reaction to the recent Oscar ™ nominations not in flowery prose, but rather in ‘free verse,’ ya dig?

[BONGO DRUM ROLL]

Tuesday’s Overlooked Film: The Star (1952)

Bette Davis in "The Star" (1952)

On the day the Oscar nominations go out, I decided to take a look at what might be by today’s standards, a forgotten film. The Star, featuring Bette Davis and directed by Stuart Heisler, is a cautionary tale about what is on the other side of a hugely successful, award-winning career.

For Bette Davis at this stage in her professional life, the film must have felt like a semi-autobiographical sketch. Made two years after her ‘comeback’ in the classic All About Eve, this would prove to be one of her last fully rounded roles.

For her role as the down-on-her luck award-winning actress, Davis received the ninth of her ten Academy Award nominations [she would receive one more for Whatever Happened to Baby Jane? (1962)].

The Star is the story of a has-been actress (Margaret Elliot) who is willing to sacrifice anything and anymore for another shot at the big time. Left to suffer in her wake: her teenaged daughter Gretchen (Natalie Wood), from whom she shields her professional and financial woes, and Jim Johannsen (Sterling Hayden), a young actor who has great affection for Margaret in spite of herself.

Sterling Hayden and Bette Davis

If you have not seen The Star, you are in luck (as long as you have TCM). It will be shown on Sunday, February 26th (Oscar™ Night) at 8:00PM Eastern Time.

Please visit Todd Mason’s Sweet Freedom blog every Tuesday for more overlooked/forgotten films.

Happy Monday

Hello everyone and happy Monday! Here in the Northeast, it is kind of BLAH with the snow on the ground and misty rain falling. Hope all is well by you, wherever you are.

For today’s post, I have gathered a bunch of articles that I read over the past couple of days that relate to the comings, goings and other stuff in the world of film.

Enjoy!

BONUS: Great video clip for Giants fans: I am not a huge fan of late night television (or of the NY Giants for that matter), but I stumbled across this clip of Viggo Mortensen’s latest appearance on The Late Show With David Letterman (1.13.2012). The data set is not complete, but it looks like there is a possible correlation between Mortensen Golden Globe nods and Giants’ Super Bowl appearances:

 

 

If the spirit moves you, I implore you to watch the interview in its entirety – entertaining stuff.

Have a great week everyone!

Films Shot at Hampton Court Palace

Happy Saturday evening everyone! My next stop in my “On Location” travelogue is to take a look at the site of many film and television productions – the historic royal Hampton Court Palace.

The former residence of kings has gained legendary status due to its association with the Tudor dynasty. For a little more about the history of the palace, watch the video below.

 

Here is a list of feature films shot at the landmark in East Molesey, Surrey.

  • Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows (2011)
  • Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides (2011)
  • The New World (2005)
  • Jack the Giant Killer (2012)
  • The Young Victoria (2009)
  • Amazing Grace (2006)
  • The Libertine (2004)
  • Vanity Fair (2004)
  • A Man for All Seasons (1966)
  • Stage Beauty (2004)
  • To Kill a King (2003)
  • Baby Love (1968)
  • Three Men in a Boat (1956)
Source: Internet Movie Database (IMDB)

 

In addition, television productions that have filmed at the palace include the renowned:

  • Little Dorrit (2008)
  • John Adams (2008)
  • The Six Wives of Henry VIII (2001)

On a personal note, my trip out to the palace was highlighted by an audience with the man himself – King Henry VIII. Unfortunately I do not have any photos of that …