Today’s (Much Belated) Fabulous Image in Cinema: Cate Blanchett in Notes on a Scandal
July 21, 2010

When things get quiet over at this particular corner of the internet, the reality is there’s only person we have to blame, and that person is me.  The only problem with this is that I’m a blame shifter, so when things get quiet over at this particular corner of the internet (at least this time around), it’s Christopher Nolan’s fault.  Seriously, he’s the man behind Inception, and I’m merely the owner of the mind that movie melted, which mean he’s the one who committed the mind crime!  (Get it?!?)  Besides, Joseph Gordon Levitt looking positively dapper (or do I mean Draper?) in a suit and vest will muddle your brain for days like that.  Oh, and the Mad Men Fever obviously isn’t helping my crazy, either.  Anyways, we’re not here to talk about Inception (YET); we’re here to talk about Today’s (much belated) Fabulous Image in Cinema, and Today’s (much belated) Fabulous Image in Cinema is from Notes on a Scandal, so let’s talk about it.

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Joel Schumacher’s Twelve Could Be Gossip Girl on Bonkers Pills or: In Defense of the Twelve Trailer
April 7, 2010

It’s important to note that you shouldn’t do drugs, but if you’re adamant about making bad life choices like Emily Meade is in Twelve, it is wise to at least to put yourself in a room that will make tripping balls a bit more like “Cycles” as directed by a gay man:

twelve emily meade teddy bears

It’s also important to note that the trailer for Joel Schumacher’s adaptation of the Nick McDonell’s novel Twelve contains the following in no particular order: sex, drugs, spoiled white kids, foul language, violence, “Kids” by MGMT, Kiefer Sutherland’s velvet sex voice, Manhattan’s Upper East Side, 50 Cent being ridiculously jacked and leaving little to the imagination, Chace Crawford with facial scruff, and Ellen Barkin.  Naturally, this begs two questions:

  1. Is this extended trailer safe for your place of work?
  2. Can you please explain to me how Twelve won’t end up being the best fake episode of Gossip Girl EVER?

Twelve trailer, y’all:

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NEWS: Leighton Meester’s Got a New Song; YouTube Commenters Still the Classiest
July 6, 2009

We all know that you aren’t really someone until you’ve dabbled in having your own music career.  It’s a universal truth.  After all, Heidi “My Personal Source of Eternal Schadenfreude” Montag is a somebody, and she’s obviously known for “Sex Ed,” which–in anticipation of the impending end of the world in 2012— has impressively already won the Summer Jam  of the Millenium award.  Really, you can never be too quick when recognizing talent.

Anyways, we can now officially say that Leighton Meester, Gossip Girl‘s very own Blair Waldorf, is now a someone as well.  Her song is called “Body Control,” and I’ve been listening to it ad nauseam all morning because I love Blair Waldorf.  And I can’t figure out why I like it.  And I have no self-respect:

WORK IT, GIRL!  After a bajillion listens, I think I finally understand why I’m behind this song.

I like to imagine that this isn’t Leighton Meester herself, but a leaked song intended for the Gossip Girl season 3 plot line where Blair, à la Lady Gaga, drops out of NYU to pursue a career as a pop-musician/performance artist.  All that Auto-Tune you hear would be a deliberate part of her act, a post-humanization of the voice (i.e., self) meant to explore new conceptualizations of identity brought about by the proliferation of information in the age of text-messaging, the internet, and the brave new world that is Gossip Girl.  

Her back up dancers would look sorta like the robot from Metropolis, and they’d do Nomi-Malone-esque dances while dressed in fabulous trench coats with perfectly accessorized head bands.  I mean, I probably don’t have to tell you how amazing that would be because you already know how amazing that that would be, but it would be TOTALLY AMAZING!  Just think about it: Blair-Bots?  You know you love it, xoxo.

While my reaction may look like an OD on crazy pills, we fortunately also have YouTube commenters, those torchbearers of intelligent cultural discourse and general classiness.   They have taken to message boards to add their own two-cents and remind us what the rest of the world is thinking:

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Damnit, Gossip Girl! How Did You Know That Hilary Duff’s My Kryptonite?
July 1, 2009

Really, for no fathomable reason whatsoever, I’ve loved Hilary Duff ever since the summer I worked at Media Play and this video played on loop ALL DAMN THE TIME:

Is that a rhetorical question?  I don’t have the answer to such an existential question, Duff Duff!  Perhaps I’m crippled by a constant fear of stepping out of my comfort zone and encountering failure?  Maybe I just prefer color yellow over gold?  Really, I can’t say!  HELP ME UNDERSTAND!!!

Anyways, much to my utter (and utterly gay) delight, it’s being reported that Hilary Duff’ll be joining Gossip Girl this fall:

Duff, 21, will play a movie star named Olivia Burke who enrolls at NYU in search of a traditional, out-of-the-spotlight college experience. She will be roommates with Vanessa (played by Jessica Szohr).

Duff will first appear on the hit CW show during next season’s fourth episode, scheduled to air Oct. 5.

I can’t wait for this!  Really, this news is absolutely fabulous in so many different ways.  It means that Vanessa and her terribly styled “hipster” look will finally stop being relegated to selling us Dove soap during commercial breaks, which is nice because I really like her as a character even though the show never seems to know what the hell to do with her (except for disappearing to sell soap).  

This also means that Vanessa’s holier-than-thou-‘cos-I’m-from-Brooklyn attitude is now going to have a head on collision with a bona fide celebrity.  I smell GG catfight!  We’re going to see her turn up her knows so high that we’ll be able to count her boogers, but then of course Vanessa and the Duffster will become besties two scenes after their conflict is established because the narrative slow-burn is an art completely lost on the Gossip Girl writers.  Whatever.

Mostly, though, there’s something greater and infinitely more important that this news means, and do you want to know what it is?

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The Gossip Girl We Know and Love Returned Last Night! Huzzah!!!
May 19, 2009

Just in time for its summer hiatus!  Fiddlesticks!!!  Though I don’t really think I can better express my extreme frustration than this visual diagram:

chuck blair gossip girl

See, like Blair’s inability to wait for Chuck to confess his love for her, such is my inability to wait for Gossip Girl to return next season.  That’s just how good it was.  Soooo good.  Incapable-of-making-complete-sentences good, even, so let’s just abandon all hope of a cohesive recap and discuss the highlights of this fabulous return to glittery trash.

Firstly, there was the moment in this episode when for a hot second we’re all led to believe that Eric’s boyfriend was Gossip Girl, but then after the commercial break we’re told that he’s not; he just happened to hack into her file server, which gives him access to her texts (?). That barely makes sense, seems inspired by one of the bevy of internet-themed thrillers that came out in the mid-1990s when our minds were being blown by dial-up and AOL, and also gave me the “Whaaaa?”-face of the century.  It may have only been a tease, but what a fantastic tease it was.

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Fingers Crossed the Returning Triumph of Gossip Girl is no Flash in the Pan
May 5, 2009

So after taking a pass at reviewing last week’s Gossip Girl on account of the fact that it would’ve pretty much consisted of nothing but different phrasings of “Georgina’s back” and lots of exclamation points (which is something I realize perhaps nobody else but me wants) I can attest that this week’s deserves at least a few words because–if nothing else–Eric has returned for 3 seconds!  And he’s not schilling for Neutrogena as I’d speculated!  Oh, and Georgina’s back, for realsies!  YESSS!!!!

georgina-bitch-back

Though speaking of schills, poor Vanessa seems to officially be CW’s face of Dove products, which let’s not forget is the company that markets itself around ideas of natural beauty, aka the sort of beauty Gossip Girl has precisely no interest in acknowledging.  I for one find Jessica Szohr to be really pretty, so color me shocked that the creators have dropper her but keep bringing out Rat-Nest-Raccoon-Face for the most random things (giving Rufus pep talks and distracting Lily so Rufus finish preparing his proposal dinner was yet another unsubtle nail in the we-haven’t-a-clue-what-to-do-with-you coffin).  

And speaking of Lil’ J, couldn’t they’ve at least found a way to briefly reunite the hag with her fag?  That could’ve been the moment where someone finally bitch-slap some style sense into her, but alas.  Apparently Jenny’s fug, like the city in which she calls home, never sleeps.

Anyways, I’m digressing. Given how ridiculous last night’s episode was, it looks like everybody apparently took their crazy pills in the intermittent time between shows. 

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Damn You, Post Grad Trailer! Must You Exploit My Weaknesses So?
April 28, 2009

I fully recognize that, over the past few weeks, I’ve taken a rather aggressive dive into what some people may call “insanity,” but I prefer to call it “camp appreciation.”  Whatever.  The point being, while I may get rather excitable when talking about Obsessed and super duper excitable when even alluding to Powder Blue, I can still tell a bad movie when I see one.  Ladies and gents, Post Grad is one such movie:

It’s a Hollywood take the quarter-life crisis!  Lots of laughs (ruh-roh, you’ve been spotted making out by your whole family, and your little brother’s fascinated by the fact that you’ve got boobs; incest: it’s always a riot!), tons of drama (he’s moving to NYC for law school?  mais non!), and many an important life lesson (“What you do with your life is just one half of the equation.  More important is, who you’re with when you’re doing it.”  PROFOUND!) are all packed into Post Grad!  Yikes.

This movie frankly looks about as exciting as a stale rice cake and as original as a stack of photocopies printed on recycled paper; furthermore, it doesn’t help this movie’s cause that it’s staring Alexis Bledel, the actress who has done absolutely nothing for me ever since Gilmore Girls.  The plot looks predictable, and it’ll indubitably end up with Alexis Bledel finding a job in New York City and living with the rather dreamy boyfriend because that’s how living in New York City is.  All of us find jobs in a snap and have dreamy boyfriends.  There, I’ve saved you $12 dollars and made you enviable of the NYC lifestyle all at the same time.  You’re welcome.

All that being said, I still plan on seeing this movie.  Why?  It’s really quite simple:

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Gossip Girl IV: A New Hope
April 21, 2009

Last night’s Gossip Girl was rather peculiar.  The Blair/Nate/Grandpa Archibald plot?  A curious plot of deception and double-crossings involving Nate wanting to go to Columbia because he got in on his own, and Blair and Pop-pop Archibald wanting Nate at Yale so Blair could be a socialite and grandpa can still feel in control of the family legacy–except that it turns out that he turned Nate’s dad in to the SEC!  Muy escandaloso!  Perfectly fine as filler, I suppose, except that it tried to act like this was riveting political intrigue; instead, it felt over baked and underdeveloped (particularly in terms of Blair’s turn).  I mean, was there really no easier way than this to keep both Blair and Nate in NYC for the third season?  I’m just going to guess and say there was.

Added to that, the Seder dinner plot line played out like an equally overblown poor man’s comedy-of-errors dinner party.  Dan’s a cater waiter at the dinner to help pay for college, but Lily and Rufus are there and can’t know because Dan has pride!  Eeks!  Serena’s maybe-husband-due-to-a-debauched-night-in-Europe shows up, so Serena pretends she and Dan are back together (don’t worry, she’s not married, but she is totally crushing on her fauxsband)!  Yipes!  Eleanor Waldorf is sick of tradition and just wants to get her kosher eat on!  Gosh!

One particular sequence was shot and edited as if  the director of this week’s episode had just seen the dinner party scene at the end of the original The Thin Man.  All the tight shots of faces and quick cuts in conversation crave to be ZANY, SCREWBALL DRAMEDY!  Sadly, none of it’s particularly compelling.

Then, in the minor plots with characters that are momentarily entirely useless to everyone, Jenny continues to look like a depressed raccoon, but now she has a crush on a total butterface.  Chuck is so dramatically useless as a teenage billionaire that the best the screenwriters come up with is to have him apologize for forcing himself on Jenny from way back in the beginning of the first season.  I’m not saying that the apology wasn’t warranted, but I am saying that this show is clearly running on empty for ideas.  

That all said, I see a light at the end of the tepid tunnel:

HUZZAH!

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Hell No, “Valley Girls”
April 20, 2009

Once upon a much more innocent and simpler time, I really loved the hell out of Gossip Girl.  It was completely absurd, but I loved it so.  The plot lines always resolved themselves in a matter of episodes, and a great deal of drama was either totally regurgitated whenever needed (Serena and Dan, together yet again!) or totally ludicrous (Lily and Rufus have a secret baby!), but that didn’t mean the show lacked flair.  Like good trash television, it knew the marks to hit and hit them with aplomb.  

The costumes were either fabulous or fabulously tacky, so either way they’re good for conversation.  The dialogue was frequently smart, and the Chuck-and-Blair banter occasionally even reached rather Hawksian heights of verbal sparring.  And let’s not forget that Gossip Girl birthed Georgina, an F5 tornado (F is for fierce) of pure bitchcraft that made the show briefly crackle with a palpable electricity.  

But the past few weeks of Gossip Girl have been pretty miserable, and tonight’s episode doesn’t really put me in anticipation of any great review.  Between the teacher/student affairs, the secret sex clubs, and the reunion between Nate and Blair that rests firmly atop the Do Not Want list, I’ve pretty much accepted that I’ll follow Gossip Girl through the rest of this season out of loyalty alone.  Even Georgina’s return just makes soul hurt; why drag her down with this sinking ship, Josh Schwartz?  You already introduced those terrible (and by terrible, i mean boring and poor) public school kids in the third season of The O.C.!  Haven’t your wrought enough carnage?

Obviously not, because we’re getting this mess May 11th:

valley_girls_poster

This is the promo poster for the Gossip Girl flashback episode involving Lily van der Woodsen’s youth in L.A.  This poster says, “I’m a twenty-something actress that’s been lit in this poster to more closely resemble a thirty-something drag queen because I’m a show that’s all about quality.”  This poster also says, “Please watch me despite the fact that I’m a terrible idea made real only by riding the wave of middling hype of a once-great-but-now-rather-dreadful show.”  This poster is the new (tranny) face of the Do Not Want list.  

Let’s hope this is not suggestive of what’s to come with these final episodes of this season’s Gossip Girl because that’s one gaudily styled train wreck of despair.  Le sadness, indeed.

Update: This post was initially written under the impression that “Valley Girls” was to be an official spin-off show.  It has since been reported that “Valley Girls” is merely a flash-back episode in the second season; however, depending most likely on fan reaction and ratings, this train-wreck could be a go for this fall.

You Cannot Take the Gay Out of Lady Gaga
April 9, 2009

At best, you can make her sound like she’s going to be the song they play on the ending montage of a Gossip Girl episode:

The music says, “I’m sensitive and hurting; xoxo, you know you love me, now please give me a hug.”  I can just see Dan/Chuck/Blair/Nate/whoever walking contemplatively in the dark streets of New York while this song plays.  Serena will claim she’s killed someone yet again because she just had to shine, Kristen Bell will have a pithy and pun-laden monologue, and we’ll cut to Jenny making the saddest of raccoon eyes at her sewing machine.  Seriously, this song is just like listening to All American Rejects.  If All American Rejects were fronted by a woman who behaves drag queen.  

And what of “Just Dance”?  Oh, you’ve no idea.  If you you mix Lady Gaga and heavy metal, you’ve got a recipe for head explosions:

Is that not the best?  I really think it’s the best.  The font suggests Slipknot, but those hand claps positively scream 1980s Madonna.  Perhaps I’m wrong, but the hand claps take “Just Dance” to an entirely new stratosphere of homosexuality.    You’ve outdone Lady Gaga, sir.  Well played.

I can’t even imagine what’ll happen when “LoveGame” gets reworked in this fashion.  Lady Gaga’s Homo-Force is so strong that the internet just might break from that insanity.  The word “discostick” is not meant to encounter with death metal guitars, but–like the hadron collider–it must be done.

Thank Goodness There’s a Three-Week Gossip Girl Sabbatical Now
March 31, 2009

It’ll be a nice opportunity to grow back some of the soul that the past three weeks of this nuclear-grade disaster-bomb have destroyed.  I really hope that Gossip Girl isn’t practicing a scorched earth policy with their soul-killing descent into unrepentant atrociousness, ‘cos seriously, y’all:

gginbedawful1

Given that recapping last night’s Gossip Girl constitutes forcing yourself into a state of post-traumatic stress, I’m going to try to keep this brief.  Hopefully I won’t blackout in a fit of rage before I’m finished writing this damn thing.  Anyways.

In last night’s main plot, the Humphreys and the van der Woodsens decide to team up and throw Jenny a high-society sweet sixteen party.  Jenny’s makes sad racoon eyes because she wants a smaller party because everybody hates her.  Don’t worry, little J, I don’t hate you.  I just hate your outfits.  Everybody does hate her, though, so Serena thinks she’s losing her social edge because Jenny’s birthday is actually about Serena.  Duh.  I hate how I always forget that your birthday is always about somebody else.

Serena secretly starts up the party again and invites her socialite friend/human-shaped-mass-of-awful-with-a-wretched-haircut-and-foul-bangs, Poppy, so everybody at school will thinks she’s cool.  Jenny proves to have a soul as ugly as the dress she wears to her party and invites everyone to the party through Gossip Girl and…oh, let’s just skip to the end.  Really, at this point in the episode, I was wishing I’d baked rat poison or cyanide into my shepherd’s pie so I could end the dreadful suffering.  

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Who Exactly is Adventureland Made For?
March 28, 2009

Every time a commercial for Adventureland comes on during Gossip Girl, I lose all self-control as I turn to my Gossip Girl viewing buddy Brynn and screechily ask, “Who is this movie made for?”  We are, of course, fast-forwarding through that nonsense thanks to the miracles of DVR, but I still want to know who precisely wants this movie?  Just look at this thing:

Yes, movie trailer, life after college is not exactly what any of us expected.  Maybe if you weren’t so focused on such a stupid idea as taking a post-graduation trip through Europe and instead focused on finding a real job like the rest of us do, you wouldn’t be in this conundrum horribly plotted movie.

I really don’t grasp how this is an actual movie that got a greenlight from the studios.  Sure, we’ve all worked crappy summer jobs with quirky coworkers, and I myself can even sympathize in working a post-graduation job in retail to fund my summer exploits before moving to New York City for grad school, but I wouldn’t say that’s a sturdy concept for a movie because nobody, myself included, would want to see that.  Whoops, I just became my dad!

The problem with Adventureland, like all movies that romanticize a summer of discovery and lessons learned before entering adulthood, is that these summers don’t in fact exist.  We wax nostalgic about these moments because they’re the final moments of womb-like security that comes with the adolescent impulse to live for the moment before we’re birthed into the often frustrating world of financial responsibility and bills and 9-to-5 work schedules and all the other joys that come with being a grown-up.  It’s a universal experience, for sure, but also one that you eventually realize is completely unrealistic once you gain a little perspective.  These movies aren’t based in any truth; they’re just an opportunity for one filmmaker to cinematically masturbate about their own refusal to grow up and immature yearning for times long past.  Let me play you a dirge on my tiny violin while you cry me a river.  Or not.

Throw in the fact that Kristen Stewart is painfully annoying with her perpetual face of disaffected youth and that this movie is set in 1987 (80s nostalgia in movies is completely a completely lazy technique for adding texture to a story unless its Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion or Grosse Pointe Blanc; those movies are great), and it’s made its way to the top of my do-not-want list.  This movie is made for nobody, but I’m sure it’ll make bank in theaters.

Woof.

(Also, as noted in the comments, I had a brain fart while initially writing this and claimed it was Kristen Scott, not Kristen Stewart, who is in Adventureland.  The correction has been made, and I obviously need a fact checker.)

Last Night’s Gossip Girl Continues on the Track to Train-Wrecksville
March 24, 2009

Did you ever see Little Children?  Hopefully this’ll jog your memory if you don’t know what I’m talking about:

Remember it now?  It was that drama from 2006 with the totally brilliant trailer that ended up being rather average.  Kate Winslet and Patrick Wilson have an affair because they’re bored suburbanites, and it’s also a satire of these bored suburbanites because their lives are pretty decent but they’re still behaving like selfish brats who can’t grow up, so it’s about adults behaving like little children.  Got it?  Good.  

Why am I saying this?  Well, I really like the trailer and it also contains a toy train train wreck, which is a perfect visual metaphor for this week’s episode: still a total train wreck, but now on a smaller and incredibly more inane scale.

In the main plot, Nate and Dan and Vanessa go to Nate’s family reunion so Nate can patch things up with his grandfather.  Nate plays touch football with his relatives, but people get knocked over by these “touches.”  That kinda defeats the point, you WASPy jackasses.  Grass stains take forever to get out of you J. Crew sweaters!  

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With Friends Like Last Night’s Gossip Girl, Who Wants a Return From Hiatus?
March 17, 2009

Did you see the highly anticipated (for me) return of the trashtastic Gossip Girl?  If you did, well, I’m sorry.  So, so sorry.  Let’s go back to happier times, when Blair and Chuck were literally destroying the episode’s film stock with their fiery passion, and the print campaigns for the show had parents decrying both show and campaign alike as obscenity.  Oh wait, I can’t, ‘cos seriously:

ofmgabysmal

I recognize that I’m frequently given to hyperbole; I suspect that a predilection towards hyperbole is part of my homo-DNA, but I’m not a geneticist.  I am a Gossip Girl fan (also most likely related to the gay gene), though, and I can most certainly say that last night’s episode of Gossip Girl was wretched.  Perhaps some of the worst television I’ve ever seen.  Seriously, this is the episode written by that pretentious asshole that sat behind you in high school English, spicing up their conversation with name-dropping and pseudo-intellectual ruminations about “art” that nobody asked for.  

And I most definitely did not ask for this, Gossip Girl.

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S. Darko Will Be the Showgirls of Donnie Darko Sequels. Literally.
March 10, 2009

Ruh-roh!  Someone in Hollywood put on on their best Armani bad idea suit, had it dry cleaned and pressed at Train Wreck Washers, then walked into an office and pitched this hot mess:

I’m left with so many questions, such as:

  • Is that Chuck Bass?  Why is Gossip Girl‘s Chuck Bass in the sequel to Donnie Darko?
  • Why is that one guy dressed like an extra from Mad Max?
  • Who thought this was a good idea?
  • Wait, there’s a meteor shower?
  • And a firebird???
  • And dancing in said meteor shower?!?!?

UGH.  This is such a colossal assortment of bad ideas gathered under one straight-to-dvd roof that I…

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