Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Iron Man Kicks Off Summer

Oh yeah, summer is coming and that means one thing: goodbye brain, hello blockbuster!

I kid. I kid because I love. I love sitting down in a dark movie theater on a hot summer day and seeing what big fat spectacle is about to light up the screen. Just because something is geared to the big crowds, like Spider-Man, doesn't mean it's without a soul. I'm hoping Iron Man achieves that enjoyable mixture of pure pop fun which goes beyond the disposable.

My affection for Robert Downey, Jr. goes back to his very charming performance in Chances Are. You can see the trailer on YouTube here. So yes, maybe it is pretty gross that he plays a man who dies before his daughter is born, and then years later comes back reincarnated as a hot young Yale grad who romances her, while snagging a sweet reporting gig for The Washington Post. It came out when I was 12, he's adorable and funny in it, and so there.

I have never read an Iron Man comic in my life and only now do I know anything about the character, but I'm going to see that movie because of my twelve-year old self's love for Robert Downey, Jr. and because I think it's awesome how he's gotten past his drug problems and can now be known for being the gifted actor he is. The New York Times profiles him here.

Monday, April 21, 2008

OMFG - Gossip Girl is Back!

Just watched the return episode of Gossip Girl and damn if it wasn't refreshing like a warm bath. Yay, indulgently fabulously over-the-topishly scripted TV is back! I'm not alone in my love. New York Magazine shares my obsession and goes it one better with this awesome cover story.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Ed Norton comments on "Hulk" Controversy

Edward Norton issued his first public statement on the behind-the-scenes drama of The Incredible Hulk. Read Entertainment Weekly's article by clicking on the link to this post above, but here is Mr. Norton's statement:

"Like so many people I've loved the story of The Hulk since I was a kid, so it was thrilling when Marvel asked me to write and help produce an altogether new screen incarnation, as well as play Bruce Banner. I grew up reading Marvel Comics and always loved the mythic dimension and contemporary themes in the stories, and I’m proud of the script I wrote. In every phase of production, including the editing, working with Louis Leterrier has been wonderful...I've never had a better partner, and the collaboration with all the rest of the creative team has been terrific. Every good movie gets forged through collaboration, and different ideas among people who are all committed and respect the validity of each other's opinions is the heart of filmmaking. Regrettably, our healthy process, which is and should be a private matter, was misrepresented publicly as a 'dispute,' seized on by people looking for a good story, and has been distorted to such a degree that it risks distracting from the film itself, which Marvel, Universal and I refuse to let happen. It has always been my firm conviction that films should speak for themselves and that knowing too much about how they are made diminishes the magic of watching them. All of us believe The Incredible Hulk will excite old fans and create new ones and be a huge hit...our focus has always been to deliver the Hulk that people have been waiting for and keep the worldwide love affair with the big green guy going strong.''

In large part I agree with the guy, although obviously I love knowing what goes on with the making of a movie because I write this blog and read about the entertainment industry almost compulsively. For me, knowing the backstage struggles often makes the end result even more magical.

For instance, recently EW ran an article about the making of The Graduate. Anne Bancroft was often hung over or bed-ridden with crippling menstrual cramps. But I'd never have guessed that when watching the film. Her Mrs. Robinson is complex, sexy, provocative...an absolutely iconic role. Knowing the difficulties Ms. Bancroft deal with makes me even more impressed with her work.

Other times, knowing backstage drama can produce disappointment. One of my all-time favorite directors is Billy Wilder, and one of my all-time favorite actresses is Marilyn Monroe. Natuarally, I love Some Like it Hot and The Seven Year Itch. But knowing that Ms. Monroe struggled with her lines and miscarried a baby during filming on Some Like it Hot, as she began the steady decline that resulted in her untimely death, is terribly sad, and I can never watch it without thinking of those things. I suppose there is no way you can create a film with all the scores of people needed to collaborate on it, and maintain complete secrecy.

Friday, April 11, 2008

The Incredible Hulk

I think Edward Norton is an interesting choice to play The Incredible Hulk. He's a chamelonic actor, but doesn't spring immediately to mind when you think "action movie." Maybe he'll create a surprising new super hero, like Tobey Maguire with Spider-Man. The advance buzz on this movie, though, is not good. The CGI is kind of underwhelming, and looks waxy to me.

Please be my best friend, Tina Fey

Wow, here I thought this blog would be a good writing exercise, and lazy me hasn't posted anything since January! With summer fast approaching and the writer's strike finally over, there are all sorts of pop culture delights to be had these days.

Last night marked the return of NBC's Thursday comic lineup, with the first new episodes of The Office and 30 Rock since the fall. As much as I love me some PB&J (AKA Pam Beesly and Jim, Scranton's winsome lovebirds), Tina Fey was the one who had me in stitches.

Maybe it's because we're both from Pennsylvania, both dark-haired, and maybe just maybe I because I aspire to be as smart and witty as Ms. Fey, but I can't help but think that she and I would be fast friends. BFFs for sure! Natually, therein lies a lot of her appeal. You want to hang out with Tina Fey and you're pretty sure she would be nice to you too.

Entertainment Weekly has Tina on the cover of their new issue this week -- click the title of this post for a link.