Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Can there be too many beautiful women in one movie?

Though there were many charms to Pedro Almodovar's "Volver," I have to say the one that has lingered longest in my mind is that scene of Penelope Cruz singing at the restaurant. Just an incredibly beautiful woman singing an almost equally beautiful song.

And so any news of her being cast in a grand musical is certainly welcome to me, especially joining a cast and project as grand as this.

Apparently, the lovely Ms. Cruz, Javier Bardem and Marion Cotillard (star of the Edith Piaf flick "La Vie en Rose," which I have yet to see), are all in negotiations to join director Rob Marshall's take on the Broadway musical "Nine." And, apparently because he can get whoever he wants for this, Mr. Marshall is also courting Sophia Loren and Catherine Zeta-Jones.

Now, I saw quite a few Broadway musicals in my youth (and, though I probably shouldn't admit it, the thoroughly silly "The Wiz" remains my favorite), but I have to confess I know nothing about "Nine" except that it's based on the Federico Fellini movie "8 1/2."

Bardem just got the offer to play director Guido Contini, who experiences a creative and personal crisis as he tries to balance all the women in his life. That includes his wife (Cotillard), mistress (Cruz), his film-star muse (Zeta-Jones), agent and even his mother (Loren), who appears as a ghost.

Put that many beautiful women in one movie and you've got my attention, and I thoroughly enjoyed Marshall's "Chicago" adaptation, so I'll definitely be keeping my eyes on this.

Movie-to-TV love for Buffy

There are few things I love to waste time with more than lists, and this one from IGN is pretty darn good. I guess with "The Simpsons" and tons of other flicks out there now it would have been much simpler to go TV-to-movie, but the folks at IGN have gone the reverse route with some interesting results.

I won't give away the whole thing, but as the headline suggests, "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" took the top prize (beating out "M*A*S*H"!), and the short-lived but beloved (at least by me) "Karen Sisco" with Carla Gugino even made the list at No. 8.

Now, a word in defense of "Buffy" for anyone who just can't imagine it deserves to be ahead of "M*A*S*H." I don't think the IGN folks are really saying "Buffy" was a better show than "M*A*S*H," but instead that the distance between the source material and what Joss Whedon made of the TV show was the most impressive turnaround, and I would certainly have to agree with that.

One more quick note about TV: I don't know how this slipped by me for so long, but apparently two of my favorite TV performers are nominated in the Supporting Actor in a Comedy category. Both Rainn Wilson as Dwight Schrute on "The Office" and Neil Patrick Harris as Barney on "How I Met Your Mother" just make me laugh out loud, so it's nice to see the recognition. Though I won't bother to tune in for the broadcast in September, especially with Ryan Seacrest as the host, I'd love to see either of them win over Kevin Dillon and Jeremy Piven from "Entourage" or Duckie from "Two and a Half Men."

Get some Dewey Cox swag

Though I hesitate to suggest anyone give out their e-mail addresses to get yet more garbage, this is one case where that might just pay off. At the Sony site here for "Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story," they ask for your e-mail address, to get some kind of Sony newsletter, but then your snail mail address with the promise of some Dewey Cox swag. I took the plunge, so hopefully there will be a Dewey Cox T-shirt that I can fit into in my near future.

A quick word of praise for "Rocket Science"

As I mentioned yesterday, I managed to see two high-school flicks while in Minneapolis to see my brother, the sublime "Superbad" and the not-quite-as-good but still worthy "Rocket Science."

I think the latter could well be the summertime indie sleeper we haven't seen yet this year (I was hoping that would be Adrienne Shelly's "Waitress," but that never really caught fire.) "Rocket Science" is the first fictional flick from documentary maker Jeffrey Blitz, who brought us "Spellbound."

Well, sort of fictional, I guess, since the endearing lead character, Hal Hefner, is apparently based on Blitz's experience growing up in New Jersey. In the flick, Hefner is a stuttering mess of a kid who lugs a big suitcase with him to school each day, and he's played with lots of charm by newcomer Reese Thompson. Despite his speech impediment, Hal is recruited by Ginny (Anna Kendrick, a Tony nominee in 1998 for "High Society"), a competitive classmate with a penchant for underdogs, to be her new partner on the debating team.

Much of the movie's magic comes from watching Hal try to actually speak in front of a crowd while at the same time awkwardly pitching woo at his new muse. If anything, the movie piles on a little too much contrived quirk (especially in the Hefner's Korean neighbors), but it has enough spirit to overcome that and succeed as a late-summer charmer. Go see it if you can.

A trailer that ... rocks?

I know it's not nice to be mean to the elderly, but when they insist on prancing around on stage like Mick Jagger does, aren't they asking for it?

I've been down on the idea of Scorsese doing a Rolling Stones doco since I first heard about it for that exact reason: Watching them on stage is simply painful. I saw them at RFK Stadium in DC in 1989 (or maybe 1990) with the fantastic Living Colour because I assumed that would be one of the last chances to ever see them. And, though they definitely rocked the house, it probably should have been.

Judging from this trailer for "Shine a Light," however, maybe I should give the flick a chance when it comes out next spring. Mick does indeed still make me want to hurl, but it still seems to have much of the style of Scorsese's best rock docs. Enjoy, and have an entirely suckfree Tuesday. peace out.


Chalupa said...

I've always been pretty impressed by Penelope Cruz too. When my wife and I were on our honeymoon I was watching this interview show (it was in spanish so I could only understand about 2/3 of it) and they happened to be talking to Cruz about Volver. Turns out she's fluent in 5 languages and has played roles utilizing all of those skills. How many American actors can say that?

Reel Fanatic said...

Off the top of my head, I'd have to imagine there can't be more than two or three who can brag of that, Chalupa ... Even in a really bad movie like Cameron Crowe's Vanilla Sky I always find Penelope Cruz to be thoroughly enchanting

Mercurie said...

I notice IGN did not include Delta House (the largely forgotten sitcom based on Animal House) in their list of TV shows based on movies. I wonder why.... LOL.

Reel Fanatic said...

I have to admit that I wouldn't have been able to forget that one, Mercurie, because I never even got to see it

Keith said...

I'm with you on Cruz in VOLVER -- a fabulous performance -- but that's not her doing the singing in the restaurant scene. Which means that CZJ is the only one of the names being tossed about for NINE with any musical background at all (to my knowledge). First SWEENEY TODD, now NINE; this is a scary trend.

* (asterisk) said...

I thought Volver was great, of course largely due to Cruz.