Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Distinctive Face: Jude Law

Incredibly unoriginal people.
Lately I've been bored with my amazement (that definitely conflicts but I just don't care) that celebrities can manage to look exactly alike. Jessie J is cute I guess, and her song that calls us to "forget about the pricetag", which I don't think for a second she actually means, is okay, but why did she pick a look that makes her look like everyone else? I mean, Ke$ha's gross but at least she doesn't sound like everyone else.
I just barfed glitter onto my face. Cute, right?
I mean, even J Biebs has that hair...wait. No. HAD that hair. But he's got his own color, and guys obsessively copy his hoodie and skinnies style while totally denying they are wearing purple because the Biebs does it.
I am adowable
His looks are the only thing he's got goin' for him. Well, except for those killer vocals, and playing four instruments, and that charm, oh, and a legion of crazed fangirls. Other than that. It's just his looks. Moving on.

Jude Law.
Definitely a distinctive face. On top of that he has a distinctive voice, also acting ability.

Law began acting in 1989 in TV movies, and it wasn't until 1997, nearly ten years later, when he finally landed an actually-worth-mentioning role in the biopic Wilde. The role gave him a fantastic number of opportunities, nearly all of which he took, completing seven films in the next two years when he would have his true "big break" in Anthony Minghella's twisted thriller The Talented Mr. Ripley. In addition to giving us this
Matt Damon in a neon green speedo

it also gave us Jude Law. He was nominated for Best Supporting Actor by the Academy, the Golden Globes, and a bunch of other people, walking away with the BAFTA that year as well. MTV, in appropriately ridiculous fashion, even nominated him for Best Musical Performance for his saxophoning in the film (and that's not even a sexual metaphor. He seriously learned to play sax).

After that Law had his pick of great projects. He did a war film, Enemy at the Gates, worked with Tom Hanks in Road to Perdition, Steven Spielberg wanted him for A.I. Artificial Intelligence, and Anthony Minghella got him back for the Civil War drama Cold Mountain.

Most don't know but A.I, in which Law plays a prostitute robot, was the baby project of legendary director Stanley Kubrick for over a decade, and was continued by Steven Spielberg after his death. It had to be epic. Kubrick was waiting to make the film until the main character, an almost-human robotic boy, could be played by an actual robot. Spielberg did one better and got acting prodigy Haley Joel Osment for the part, as well as recruiting John Williams for the score. (Why is he a child prodigy? Osment suggested that because he was a robot his character shouldn't blink. The director agreed, and Osment gave one of the best performances of his career. All while not blinking.) The end result was a heartwrenching futuristic Pinocchio tale about love and humanity, and Law as the plastic sexbot Gigolo Joe was perfect.
Cold Mountain garnered him rave reviews, and more nominations - this time for Best Actor - from every major guild, including the Academy, the BAFTAs, and the Golden Globes. Law hasn't been nominated since then for a major award, but he sure has been enjoying himself with comedies, period pieces, biopics, dramas, and romantic comedies. Lately he's been hugely successful acting opposite Robert Downey Jr. in Sherlock Holmes. The guy is on top of the world. His IMDb page shows not one, not two, not- skip to the end- but six projects in the works (including a Sherlock sequel).

In addition to acting on the big screen, Law is also a stage veteran. In 2009 he portrayed Shakespeare's Hamlet to sold out crowds in London. His performance earned him a Tony nom for Best Actor.

Pretty much, he's great.*

Let's do a photo and wrap this up, shall we?
It's the chin. Also his receding hairline.

*Also he's kind of a man whore. He has four children by three different women, none of whom he is currently seeing.

His IMDb page is here

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Music Artists: I call you Copycats.

I love Katy Perry's "Teenage Dream", I like "California Girls", and I love "Firework". And Lady Gaga is one of the greatest pop artists of all time, no question. Is it too much to call her the Shakespeare of her time- inventing new words and catering to the mob rather than snooty royalty? But honestly, these two spend so much time trying to be unique that I'm constantly sighing over how boring they are. All the overdone make up, the glitter and paint, untoppable unstoppable "creativity" seems mostly to just make them look more like...everyone and anyone else. I liked early Gaga better than the Monster, and I liked Katy Perry better, well never; it was her voice, not her image that made her great- she should quit with the Gaga ogling and let her voice speak for itself.

Review: 127 Hours

127 Hours was the film that started the series, "I'm Most Excited About". It's actually part of what got me back to writing on this blog at all, and I finally saw it.

Despite the common misconception, the film is
not actually 127 hours long.
127 Hours, directed by Danny Boyle, stars James Franco as the mountaineer/climber Aron Ralston. Ralston drove into Utah's canyons one weekend to hike a trail he knew well. It just wasn't his weekend. He slipped and fell into a canyon; a boulder came tumbling down with him and pinned his hand to a rock wall. Ralston was trapped. He had limited water, virtually no food, and only rope, carabiners, and a pocket knife as tools. He knew he was going to die. After five days he was waterless, severely dehydrated, and his hand was decomposing still attached to him. His only choice is to slice through skin, snip nerves, sever arteries, and saw through his muscle to amputate his own arm.

This movie was amazing. Remember when I Am Legend came out, and everyone was like, "Who wants to watch a movie of just Will Smith wandering around?" This concept is kind of like that. 70 of the film's 90 minutes are of one guy trapped in the bottom of a canyon. He literally cannot move from that spot. So what's so interesting about it? 

This guy.
James Franco owned this movie. First off, can we talk about how awesome James Franco is for like two seconds? This guy in running at a breakneck pace through life. He's an extremely successful actor who has worked on comedies, as well as several Oscar award-winning films, not to mention - oddly- General Hospital. He has a Bachelor's Degree, a Master's Degree, and has been accepted toYale University to earn his PhD in literature and creative writing. He's attended schools for a degree or just for the hell of it, including UCLA, Columbia University, NYU, and now Yale. He acts, directs, produces, and writes. He's had a book published, hosted the Oscars, been named Sexiest Man Alive, hosted Saturday Night Live twice, had his art displayed in LA art galleries, produces funny home videos for the comedy website Funny or Die, and frequently paints. He's obviously brilliant. 
Also he looks like this
Franco took this role, and became putty. He molded himself to not fit Ralston, but to become him. When the dust settles after his fall and he realizes he is trapped, that moment of realization? The horror in his face is unbelievably awful. You feel his desperation, and his pain, and when he films his last goodbyes to his family you aren't seeing a close-up on James Franco; you're looking into the eyes of a dying man.

So. James Franco. Also 127 Hours is brought to you courtesy of director Danny Boyle, who also directed the 2008 international megahit Slumdog Millionaire. These guys slaved away for hours on a set the size of Harry Potter's closet-room at the Dursley's. The set was so claustrophobic that Franco resorted to the not-weird-at-all behavior of hiding his textbooks near him so he could remind himself during breaks that he wasn't actually going to die on the set. As I've explained to you before, Aron Ralston did actually film himself hallucinating, recalling memories, and saying his last goodbyes. The footage is so disturbing and so personal that it has never been released to the public. Only Franco and the director were allowed to review the footage to accurately portray Ralston and his state of mind.
Which was pretty much "[every cuss word evar] + I AM GOING TO DIE"
Boyle does a fantastic job of breaking from Franco to show us his hallucinations, to relive his memories, to truly let the audience have this experience with him. As he is an audience to his own recollections, so are the viewers. I noticed a deliberate use of sensual elements to convey a sense of time and place to the audience. The use of color, the super-saturation or the absence of sunny color is a superb storyteller, as are the sound effects- slurping water, echoes, and the like.

The idea is to trap you in that canyon with Ralston. You are supposed to feel this experience with him. Because the story isn't about him being trapped, it's about his escaping. The guy epic-ly cuts off his own damn arm with a dull pocket knife, after breaking the both bones of his trapped arm because he knew he couldn't chip through them with his blade. He is still stuck in the bottom of a canyon with a bleeding stump of an arm, but manages to get out of the canyon, rappels down a cliff, and starts hiking out of the desert. Dehydrated, hemorrhaging, and starving.  
The tourniquet and knife Ralston used to amputate his arm
In the video below the real Ralston describes his experience of being trapped....

This film is something you should see if you can stomach a little gore. Honestly, I was expecting a nasty, splurting (I just made up that word) gorefest of an amputation, and that's not at all what it is. This is a film about hope, about humanity, about adversity, about triumph. You shouldn't miss it.

Director: Danny Boyle
Length: 94 min
Rated: Rated R for language and some disturbing violent content/bloody images.
See the IMDb page here



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