Sunday, November 28, 2010

Cher-lesque - the Queen Bee Buzzes Again

I saw the film on my birthday with a dozen 40-something gay pals and we all said the same thing afterwards: it was fun. At times, I must admit, I was thinking "okay I know where this is can we please move on to the next song or Cher scene?"

The critics and fellow bloggers are all trying to top each other with clever summaries: "How do you get to Burlesque? Via Chicago past Xanadu on the way to Cabaret."

Cher is back, bitches. She reportedly even hired her own editors to make sure she looked swell after several years away from the big screen. When I read that tidbit I thought: wow, such a Babs Streisand move. It isn't hard to believe though- the 2 divas are contemporaries and Babs' hubby James Brolin (Cher's Malibu neighbors) even appears in the film's 11th hour.

All the roles are well cast- even the non speaking ones.

Cher summed up the film herself on her Twitter: "It's not Shakespeare! It's predictable but it's beautiful and FUN!"

True dat, Cher.

Cher will be soon hosting TCM ala Alec Baldwin/Robert Osbourne in a series of special events. She loves TCM and appreciates those well-worn functional B-film plots (like the one in Burlesque) that would have starred Alice Faye or Betty Grable back in Hollywood's golden age.

During the film, I was thinking to myself that the teens and 20-somethings who haven't seen anything on TCM or poked their heads beyond the last decade's horror film remakes & reality shows will find Burlesque to be a rare entertainment. THE BEST MOVIE EVER...they'll post on facebook. Bless their lil' hearts.

The real gritty drama of this film was behind the scenes when Screen Gems head Clint Culpepper greenlit his lover Steve Antin's screenplay and gave him the director role. That is how these things work, folks. Look how many times Sony has sucked Nora Ephron's balls in the last decade due to her alliances with studio Vice Presidents.

Anyway, Culpepper micromanaged as much as he could on his lover's film - which led to borderline fisticuffs on the set, we hear. No worries if they may be now broken up, Steve Antin is a survivor...and has kicked around Hollywood as an actor (The Last American Virgin; The Goonies; The Accused) and writer (Chasing Papi) for decades. He is well connected- his other ex-lover David Geffen helped convince Cher to take the role in Burlesque. Geffen dated Cher too.

Did I mention that insufferable Culpepper of Screen Gems also control freaked all over Cher's Graumann's Chinese Theatre cement ceremony? (I was there!) He was a first-rate boorish exec trying to boss Cher around at first - but she held her ground and her spotlight. I'm sure Cher understands that her legend is cemented and studio heads are quickly deposed and forgotten.

Cher was very cool - and gave fans more than an obligatory wave. She actually walked over and down the line of fans who showed up for her - thanking and posing her way deeper into our hearts.

The film Burlesque could make a great drinking game...

Take a shot everytime Cher licks her puffy upper lip.

Take a shot everytime a character talks about what THEY want ( I , I, me, me). That's very LA.

In her film debut, X-Tina is a likable ingénue with great lungs and no backstory, and her on-screen love interest (Cam Gigandet) is perfect for the role of a Hollywood metrosexual hottie who has to fuck a girl to prove he's straight. Did I mention he is a bartender/song writer? Yup, dude has his dreams too. How very LA-- and director Antin gets that. In this town, everybody has hidden talents or thinks they do.

Burlesque also delivers Stanley Tucci in his 2nd "gay Eve Arden" role. He is good and brings some heart and laughs to the film.

It ain't SHOWGIRLS camp - it takes heterosexual men to deliver those unintentional cult comedies (see also: Valley of the Dolls).

Burlesque just wants to entertain for 100 minutes, feature divas singing, flaunt pretty boy ass - and thankfully has no message to deliver other than stay true to your dreams and keep your friends & enemies close and your plastic surgeon closer.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Suggested viewing for Winter 2010: Point of Order (1964)

Emile De Antonio's surgically edited recap of the 1950's McCarthy hearings. Strange ideas for strange times. Seems pertinent....

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Good bye Countess Dracula

Ingrid Pitt, star of Countess Dracula, Wicker Man ( the awesome original) and many other thing died last night at the age of 73. Concentration camp survivor, actress and totally hot babe, it's sad to know she's gone.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Dr Nancy

In 2001 I made an hour long documentary about a local cable TV "star"... Dr Nancy Mroczek. Some cable companies provide free space and equipment for locals to make their own TV shows. Normally they are just call in shows or tarot card readers, but occasionally you get something really... different. I never liked the doc much, Nancy had provided me with some very poor VHS tapes of her shows and the interview went well but to be frank.. she rambles. So I decided recently to re-edit it down to 7 minutes, make it more video clip like and intercut her singing, dancing and rants with the much calmer personal interview. No Dr nancy film is worth seeing unless you show her in a cage in a leotard pretending to be a lab animal, of course. I've seen her show recently on you tube and she's become very "tea party" ish. Going on about Obama not being american, being communist and sending "earthquake bombs" to Haiti.

Voyons Donc!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Dem Bones

Hard to describe this one, but if you like your comedy surreal and British, you might dig it! Played at our fantastic Cucalorus Film Fest here in Wilmywood over the Joe Meekend. Oh, it's called "SKELETONS":

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Dino De Laurentiis Dies at 91

In no particular order: Serpico, War and Peace, Three Days of the Condor, Dune, La Strada, Conan the Barbarian, Army of Darkness, Barbarella, Blue Velvet, and my personal favorite, Nights of Cabiria. Those are just a few of the cinematic landmarks that Dino left behind.

It hits close to home as he built the studio in North Carolina that facilitated my initiation into film production. Ciao, Dino.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

A couple quick impressions...

Dana Carvey as Mickey Rooney on a panel where nobody stays on topic I suppose

The fabulous Jan Hooks as Bette Davis in her "video last will & testament". classic

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Monday, November 1, 2010