March 2, 2007

Last night Balthazar and I watched Blood Work. This is part of my ongoing ambition to watch every Anjelica Huston movie ever made. Including, yes, Barbie as Rapunzel. But I need time to work up to that one, time to fortify myself. So for now I'm sort of doing the one great/one not-so-great thing that I attempted to do with Sharon Stone's career which, admittedly, ended up being one great, twelve not-so-great... god bless her... I digress.

So far in Ms. Huston's career retrospective, Blood Work is the only dud I've come across. Whether she's in a film for five minutes total (The Man From Elysian Fields), every frame of every scene (Agnes Browne), or so heavily corseted and made up she's practically a special effect (Addams Family), she owns every film she's in. Five minutes, five hours, it really makes no difference. Anjelica Huston knows how to act. She knows how to choose scripts. She understands what makes a good film and how to be part of a good film without necessarily dominating it. And when she does dominate a film, it fucking SHINES! Thus, as stated, I have not found a single dud in her career... until now.

Clint Eastwood, what the fuck were you thinking? Blood Work (and forgive me if you have harboured a deep-rooted desire to see this film because SPOILERS will ABOUND) is one of those paint-by-numbers thrillers that thinks it's original and therefore staggers under the weight of its own self important originality. In this case, Clint plays an FBI profiler on the trail of the Code Killer (so named because he likes to leave numeric codes at the scene of his kills specially tagged for Clint's character to attempt to decode) when he suffers a heart attack? rugged palpitation? total eclipse of the heart? whilst giving chase to a suspect. This is explained by the movie fast fowarding two years where, mercifully, Anjelica Huston enters the scene as Clint's heart surgeon (No seriously, you'd totally believe her if you saw it. She can do anything. I totally believe she could operate on a heart. Totally. Between her and Beverly Crusher on Star Trek: TNG the medical profession is forever ruined for me. Real doctors just aren't as... warm. I dunno. Anyway...) who informs us by way of an invasive examination involving sticking a scope down Clint's neck into his heart that he's now the recipient of a new heart by way of a transplant. Anjelica sends Clint home, a month post-transplant, to his boat to take it easy which we all know won't happen especially since a sultry woman is waiting on his boat to inform him that her sister was murdered and she'd like him to come out of retirement to find the killer. When Clint politely (if gruffly) refuses, she informs him that her sister's blood type was the same as his (rare, apparently, but I know jack-shit about blood types as vampires can drink any type at all) and that he got her heart. One thing leads to another and Clint ends up on the case, though unofficially, and yahooing about town following random leads and connecting seemingly unconnectable cases whilst employing layabout Jeff Daniels as a driver (Clint can't drive due to the airbags in his car posing a potentially fatal threat to his new heart???? Dude, I don't write the stuff, I just review it) and what-not. Blood Work's oh-so-intriguing premise is that seemingly random murder-robberies are actually purposely planned slayings of victims who all have the same rare blood type and are listed organ donors. Hence why the ski-mask wearing killer carefully shoots them in the frontal lobe only, rendering them vegetative but not legally dead. Perfect for organ harvesting. The plot holes are hard to explain because again I know jack-shit about blood types and also you have to first suspend disbelief and accept that a) Clint Eastwood is a heart transplant patient, and b) he's still a viable action star. The movie is from 2002 so he's not a spring chicken. I love Clint as much as the next vamp but honestly I thought he was getting a bit old for the strenuous photography sequences in Bridges of Madison County so directing himself through agonizing blocks-long on-foot suspect chases and the like is pushing suspension of disbelief to the limit. Then factor in that he starts up a romance with the half-his-age sister of the murdered woman whose heart he has (with attendant father-figure moments with her orphaned son), the countless red herrings the script throws around in an effort to achieve an M. Night "twist" ending ("OH MY GOD, it was the baker/butcher/best friend/dog trainer all along? No way!") when we're long past caring, and the fact that every possible cop stereotype is given screen time just for shits and giggles (black woman cop passed over for promotion, fat Latino cop with a chip on his shoulder, his donut-loving partner, etc) and, well... there you have it. Blood Work is, quite frankly, the sort of movie I'd expect Sharon Stone to pop up in, not Anjelica Huston. Which pains me to say because I do truly adore Sharon. I'm a big fan (inexplicable though that statement may be at times). The problem with having someone as great as Anjelica Huston in a movie as ultimately pointless as Blood Work is that the audience expects to see her again. They want to see her, they require her presence to add some weight and gravity to the brainless proceedings, and they just aren't happy with Jeff Daniels as a substitute. She only appears one more time after the initial examination and that's to berate Clint for not taking better care of himself and, by proxy, his new heart. Thus I spent the whole rest of the movie elbowing Balthazar and saying "Oh man, he looks pained! I bet his heart hurts. He's totally going to have to go back to his doctor now!" and "I bet he chases that guy and has a heart attack! They'll totally have to take him to Anjelica then." At one point, just to spice things up, I imagined a scenario where Anjelica's character was the killer which would have been way cooler than the actual reveal, let me tell you. It would have made more sense, too. I mean because she's a heart surgeon trying to keep patients alive while waiting for donors that never materialize so what if she just takes matters into her own hands and selectively kills potential donors? It would give her more work, keep a higher percentage of her patients alive, and she also has access to the super-secret donor/recipient list which gives her motive... UNLIKE the real killer. They never bother to explain how in hell he gets his hands on the super-secret list, either. Or really why. Except that "he's crazy" which is a bit of a cop-out.

Overall, I give Blood Work an A for cameo casting. Anjelica Huston! Major coup there, Clint! But I give it a D for everything else. D for plot, D for coherence, D for originality. The only reason it doesn't fail outright is because I have a soft spot for Clint because of Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil and because Brian Helgeland wrote it. Brian Helgeland co-wrote L.A. Confidential and the sheer unadulterated brilliance of that movie will carry him through at least four more flops in total unscathed. But then he's going to have to pull up his socks.

Blood Work. There you have it. If you want to know who the killer is, just ask. I'll totally tell you. I don't mind sparing you the pain of watching the whole film. Any guesses, by the way?

February 28, 2007

Okay, I admit it. I didn't watch the Oscars. I haven't watched since the year L.A. Confidential got the royal shaft in favour of The Damn Boat Movie(TM). But that doesn't mean I don't have worthwhile opinions on Oscar fashion.

I know. Forgive me. But I just can't help myself. Celebrities make it so EASY for us fashion police wannabes.

Anne Hathaway starred in a movie about the fashion industry (The Devil Wears Prada) but turned up to the Academy Awards dressed in a doily and a giant black moth.

Cameron Diaz, human origami. I think she's supposed to be a swan. Some poor kid stayed up all night folding that dress, you know.

Jennifer Hudson from Dreamgirls. I'm not sure but I think the 'jacket' is an homage to the time Britney Spears wore a giant snake for an MTV VMA performance. You know, a shout-out to Brit-Brit in her time of need. Wait... are there POCKETS in her gown? Designed by Chinos for everyday comfort.

I don't know what Eva Green's dress looked like. I just put her picture up because a) she looks like a vampire and I like to support undead kin, and b) she's reportedly dating Marton Csokas. Girl has TASTE.

Look, Meryl Streep is Meryl Streep. It's not about fashion. When you're as talented as Meryl Streep you can wear whatever the fuck you want. Period. Nicole Kidman, on the other hand, has devoted much of her life to making herself a darling of the fashion world so the pressure's on. Her dress is great. Fabulous cut, stunning color, daring neckline. What bugs me about Nic is actually not her clothing but her face. WHY DOESN'T ANYTHING BUT HER MOUTH MOVE ANYMORE? I think Madame Tussaud is her makeup artist.

Perfection, thy name is Cate Blanchett. This is how a star should look. Flawless. Glamorous. Breath-taking. Like an Elven queen. Oh wait...

Helen Mirren is hot. There, I said it. And the rest of her dress is gorgeous too. Trust me. She's amazing. The woman is absolutely amazing.

Sharon Stone. Because no posting full of pretty pictures is complete without her. She wasn't at the Oscars proper but she did wear this asymetrical masterpiece to the Elton John AIDS Foundation Oscar Party the same night so it counts. (Please, no talk of Razzies. Let BI2 rest in peace. Look at the pretty jewelled cuff she's wearing! *distraction* Isn't it glam?)

I did notice that nobody wore a Team Zissou red cap and/or speedo to the ceremony. I'd have liked to have seen some Team Zissou spirit but no go. Poo. Nobody at the Oscars is any fun anymore. Where's Cher when we need her? Or Bjork? Also, the speeches are so painfully dull. People, you're professionals in the entertainment industry! The very least you could do is give a decent speech. Enunciate. Grab our interest. Get to the point. Hook, cook, and book, if you will. Sadly, this is a lost art. Without speechwriters, stylists, assistants, managers, agents, Botox, and silicone, most of these people wouldn't even exist. They're like unicorns - figments of our imagination. But not as magical.

February 26, 2007

I'm not dead! I swear that an update is pending. Cross my heart and hope to die, stick a needle in my eye. (Seriously, kids are fucked. Why in hell would you stick a needle in your eye?) Anyway, I'm not dead.

Though as Rusty pointed out, I am totally bummed that my red cap and speedo haven't yet arrived. How can I show my Team Zissou loyalty without that cap? *shakes fist at sky*

I leave you with the following film quote. 20 Monopoly bucks to anybody who correctly places the film it's from.

Male teacher: *coughing* Second hand smoke kills, you know.
Female teacher: *blowing smoke* Not reliably.