Monday, January 28, 2008

SAG Awards

Okay, tells you how much I've been paying attention to something I claim to care about that I didn't even realize that the SAG awards were being broadcast tonight. Luckily I noticed in time to set my digital recorder.

And it makes sense that they'd be the one show on the air this year... I mean why wouldn't a striking union let another supportive union televise their award show? Especially when they've blocked the televising of all the other competing awards shows. It's called solidarity...

And are the SAG awards even normally televised? I'm not sure. I don't think I've ever watched them before. Hmmmmm... Maybe this will permanently increase the popularity and importance of the SAG awards. Really, when you think about all these award shows, the public really only cares about the actor categories... and maybe the best movie ones.... but the SAG awards have the best ensemble categories which in a way is kind of similar to best movie... Okay, I'm certainly not trying to diminish the roles of the writer and director and cinematographer, and make-up artist, etc... but really, we all like to see the actors on these award shows. And more to the point... This year, the SAG awards seem to be the only ones recognizing my fav movie of the year, Into the Wild... So obviously they're smart. :-) Emile Hirsch... you probably don't have a chance in hell of winning best actor, (I'm writing this near the start of the show), but I hope you win. (I've already seen Javier Bardem beat Hal Holbrook... and I guess I can't really argue... but Hal Holbrook was so damned good in Into the Wild.)

Back slightly on track...

Wouldn't it be interesting if a side-effect of this strange award season were to be the elevation of the SAG awards to surpass the Oscars in popularity with the public? Okay, might not happen... but an interesting idea. To me, anyway.

Okay, back really on track... What made me pause the broadcast to pick up my laptop was Tina Fey... Who thanked Alec Baldwin in her acceptance speech, saying that in their scenes together it was like Fred Astaire dancing with a coat rack, and her winning was people saying, "Hey, that coat rack's not bad, either."

So modest. And, you know... I guess I have to agree with her that she's not that amazing as an actor. Not an incredible range of emotion. But she knows this. She recognizes that her real talent isn't as an actor. Her real talent lies in writing and humor and storytelling... and Alec, should he have shown up to accept his own SAG award (which he won just after) should have acknowledged in his speech (and might have) that he couldn't be Fred Astaire without music and choreography, and that Tina Fey is largely responsible for those two things on 30 Rock.

Again. Tina Rocks. See Molly's post on DWT if you haven't already about her conviction that Tina really wants to be Molly's best friend.

Update at 2:00 am...

Okay, so it's not just me who's never paid much attention to the SAG awards before this year... Here's a quote from the NYT.

" a year when a writers’ strike has all but shut down much of Hollywood, the Screen Actors Guild Awards — as anonymous in most years as “Cop No. 3” in a summer blockbuster — took top billing Sunday and drew an inordinate amount of star wattage."

Too funny.

Oh, and Daniel Day Lewis dedicated his award to Heath Ledger, who he's never met... just been very moved (as have I) with the man's performances.

Friday, January 25, 2008

I miss Heath already

Okay, I meant to post something about Heath Ledger's death the day it happened, but I think part of me didn't really believe it yet.

It's sad when anyone dies, certainly devastating when someone we know and love dies, but with celebrities, some deaths hit me so much harder than others. And this was one.

I had the thrill of being in the same room as him a couple of times at the TIFF, first for The Four Feathers (which I wasn't crazy about)... and then for Brokeback Mountain (which I was crazy about) and most recently for Candy which was super dark and sad... but he was great in it. I blogged about that day, actually. I almost got roughed up by a security guard when I snapped his picture while he was introducing the film.

Yes, I was that close. No zoom. And as an aside... This year, 2007, they seemed to be fine with photos before and after the films again. Go figure. But they did have guards with night vision watching everyone during the films and the police actually came into one screening at the end... I think it was actually The Assassination of Jesse James... but I'm not 100% sure, anymore... to check out the camera of a guy who was sitting right behind me. I was hoping they were going to arrest him for talking to his girlfriend during the movie, but whatever.

Heath Ledger's death, however it happened, is so tragic. I think he was incredibly talented and I believe we would have been seeing interesting work from him for fifty years to come. Tragic.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Gotta love the entertainment press

Just had to pass this on... ET Canada covered Kiefer Sutherland's release from jail tonight. Okay, fine. I guess that's news. Canadian boy who's made good, does bad, goes to jail, gets released.

But turns out none of the photographers managed to get a snap of Mr. Sutherland coming out of the jail... so what do they use on all those annoying teaser bits leading up to the story? A shot of Kiefer as Jack Bauer coming off the Chinese plane, after however many years of torture it was, at the beginning of the last season of 24.

It was so sad and misleading I just couldn't stop laughing.

Piece of trivia for you non-Canadian readers. Kiefer's late grandfather, Tommy Douglas, was voted "Greatest Canadian" of all time on a TV show/internet voting thing a couple of years ago. He was the preacher turned politician who's largely responsible for Canada having a universal health care system.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Double tagged

Is that like being double dog dared?

The lovely and talented Louisa Edwards tagged me earlier in the week and then the equally lovely and talented Kwana did the same.

So, I guess I'd better get off my you know what and take the tag (before everyone we mutually know is already tagged. )

The rules of this MEME:

Link to the person who tagged you.
Leave a comment on their blog, so their readers can visit you.
Post the rules on your blog.
Share 7 random and/or weird facts about yourself on your blog.
Tag 7 random people at the end of your blog.
Include links to their blogs and let each of them know they've been tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.

Okay... so I feel like I may have revealed some of these things before... but here goes.

Random Facts about Maureen McGowan....

1. I played the lead in the musical Oliver in high school. Yes. Me as a 9 year old boy. Singing.
2. By the time I was 10, I'd moved 10 times.
3. I ruptured my achilles tendon playing volleyball about 15 years ago. I know. Me. Five feet tall. Playing volleyball. Crazy. ;-)
4. I've hiked in and out of the Grand Canyon. Twice.
5. I've been above the arctic circle -- on the ground, not just on a plane.
6. My nine year old niece is the same height as I am.
7. I can still do the splits. (But it hurts now. Never used to hurt, damn it.)

Okay, so I tag: Marilyn Brant, Christine D'Abo, Nadine Dajani, Michelle Rowen, Margaret Moore, Misty Simon, and Eileen Cook.

Sunday, January 13, 2008


Boring... That's my summary for the Golden Globe awards this year. And I'm not even convinced it was the lack of a real show that was so disappointing, or the annoying inane play-by-play, I think it was the winners themselves.

Maybe it's because I still haven't seen a few of the major nominees and winners. I meant to go see There Will be Blood this weekend, but didn't get there. Damages hasn't been shown on TV in Canada yet. Nor has Mad Men to my knowledge. Although I think I can get AMC, so maybe it was there and I just didn't know. Damages starts up here on Feb 18 on either Bravo or Showcase and I expect we'll get Mad Men, too.

A few comments about some winners in films you might not have seen...

Best director for Julian Schnabel for The Diving Bell and the Butterfly. Great film. Loved it. And I do think he probably deserves this award. It's a pretty challenging idea. The main character has "locked in syndrome" so the only part of this entire body the main character is able to move is his left eyelid. And the movie is in his POV. And it's a true story. So to turn that into a gripping film... Kudos to the director. Kudos too to Canadian actor Marie Josee Croze who plays his speech therapist. Because we're in his POV and only one eye works.. We see a lot of her face and hear a lot of her reciting the alphabet. And still. Gripping. And not sappy at all. This isn't my original thought, but one reviewer said something like "it could've degenerated into My Left Eyelid, but didn't" And that about sums it up for me. A tear jerker idea, but not tear jerker execution. A really great film.

Julie Christie in Away from Her. Again. A great film. A quiet film to be sure. (A Canadian film.) But well worth seeing and so romantic and sad. And the directorial debut of Sarah Polley. This must be coming out on DVD soon. Rent it.

Marion Cotillard in La Vie en Rose. This film was showing on the tiny screen (theatre 7) at my local 12 screen cinema for ages and finally I decided to check it out. And wow. This actress truly deserved to win something. But one piece of inane banter I did agree with, is that the movie is so not either a musical or a comedy... But there was tons of music in it and I suppose the producers thought she'd have a better chance in this category, especially since it was for a bio pic in French... But really powerful performance. I knew nothing about Edith Piaf going in and I was almost sobbing at the end. Very tragic life that woman lead. And while she wasn't entirely sympathetic, the actress at least made her very interesting.

A quick word on the supporting actress in a drama category. Cate totally deserved this in my opinion. But so did Amy Ryan and so did little Saoirse Ronan who I'm sure we'll be seeing a lot of soon. (I heard she was cast in The Lovely Bones and was in at least one other film I saw at the festival this year, playing not only a completely different character, but using a different accent, and she was great in both.)
Also, Tilda Swinton deserved this. I still haven't seen Charlie Wilson's War, so I can't really comment on Julia Roberts, but this was certainly a talent packed list of nominees this year.

Okay. Enough commentary on a snoresville poor excuse for an awards show. Everyone involved, please, please figure out a way to give us the Oscars. I totally support the strike and can understand why actors wouldn't want to cross picket lines... but the Oscars. Please!

(Oh, and talking about actors and writers in the same sentence reminded me of another nice surprise. Tina Fey. Go, Tina. You Rock. (Pun intended.))

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Demon Barbers and all that jazz

Is there nothing Johnny Depp can't do???

I swear, after seeing the initial trailers (that made it look like they'd turned the musical into a non-musical) and then the ads where they show a few talking through a song bits from Depp, I was prepared to be underwhelmed by Sweeny Todd.

I've seen the musical on stage a few times and it's my all time fav. Stephen Sondheim's challenging yet unforgettable music and lyrics. The dark, dark humour and the incredible irony of a broadway cast singing and dancing about murder and blood and canibalism. Love it.

And I really enjoyed the movie. Sure, it's super gory. I had to look away a few times even though Burton made the blood quite unrealistic looking. Kind of like water stained with fire engine red paint most of the time. Probably a smart move on Burton's point. People might have barfed otherwise.

And Johhny Depp can sing. Sure, he's not likely to have a career as a singer, but he was in tune, and had a nice clear tone and more to the point sang with true emotion -- which I guess you'd expect from a talented actor, but sometimes actors fall apart when they try to sing. (Helena Bonham Carter's voice, on the other hand, I found a bit shrill and thin... But it's a shrill character and very difficult music, so maybe I should give her more credit. She was good in the part. And it's a great part. Gotta love Mrs. Lovett. "Have a little Priest.")

If you like musicals at all (or at least don't hate them). And you don't mind a little blood (okay, quite a bit of blood). Go see this tragic story of the Demon Barber of Fleet Street.

Oh, and I saw Juno again. Held up on second viewing. Pretty sure that movie won't ever get old for me.
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