Today’s Fabulous Image in Cinema: Fiona Shaw in The Black Dahlia
July 22, 2010

A few years back,I gushed to my mother about what a steal it was when I dropped $5 for a used copy of The Black Dahlia from a nearby Blockbuster.  I went on and on and on about how bad it was, and finally mother stopped me and asked, “Why would you even want to spend $5 dollars on it then?”  I guess that’s a reasonable question (for other people), so consider the above image of Fiona Shaw delivering a perfectly executed side-eye just before sipping her martini my argument for The Black Dahlia being five of my best-spent dollars.

Seriously, when it comes to performances, The Black Dahlia is by and large one of the most baffling experiences of all time.  Most everyone seems to be aiming for ’40s-film-noir only to achieve awkward-and-forced-like-bad-pulp-dialogue, Hilary Swank looks absolutely nothing like “that dead girl” despite Scarlett Johansson having a line of dialogue that explicitly insists otherwise, and then there’s Fiona Shaw.  She plays Hilary Swank’s wealthy boozehound of a mother, Ramona Linscott, and she’s incredible.  I’m not entirely certain what–if any–direction Brian DePalma gave her because her performance is from a completely different movie about a batshit crazy drunk who won’t take anybody’s sass.  She’s like Carla Gugino in Watchmen, lighting up the screen and warming the camp-adoring cockles of our hearts with each slurred word and wildly over-exaggerated gesticulation.  For example, a less inspired actress would probably sloppily eat the pot roast in this scene, but not Fiona Shaw:

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The Iron Man 2 Teaser Trailer Is THE Summer Movie Hotness. Le DUH.
December 17, 2009

I don’t know about you, but last night I had a rather delicious filet mignon at my office’s holiday dinner party, then I came home, and then I promptly shat my nerd pants.  Why?  Because the Iron Man 2 teaser trailer dropped last night, and it’s so damn good that you don’t even have to be a nerd to lose your shit over it.  Being a nerd naturally helps, but it’s really over just a difference of whether you poop your pants a lot or your poop your pants even more than that.  Don’t believe me?  Just click the poster below and experience the the hotness, but be sure you’ve got an adult diaper on:

Everything about this trailer’s obviously the best, but I love how they’re sure to include a moment of Robert Downey Jr and Gwyneth Paltrow’s utterly delicious screwball chemistry.  It makes me think of Iron Man 2 as His Girl Friday, but with robots and explosions and weird facial hair, so basically perfect.

Still, as much as it’s impossible to not love the Iron Man 2 teaser trailer, I’m willing to bet there’s at least one person that is not one of Iron Man 2‘s fans:

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When the Monster Demands a Mate, She’d Better Be Sexy!
June 18, 2009

No sooner than you could say “I bet you the Frankenstein monster just loves himself some foxy boxing,” my friend Sarah came across a bit of Hollywood casting gossip that seems to suggest that this whole Bride of Frankenstein remake might be more screwed than we think.  The producers are aiming to cast someone along the lines of Scarlett Johansson or Anne Hathaway, which is the sort of shit they always say, but still, yeesh.  I’m saying nothing against either’s talent or beauty, but be more creative, Hollywood!  This is what you’re trying to recreate:

You’re remaking an indisputable masterpiece and reenvisioning one of the most iconic characters in horror, and the best you  can think of is Anne Hathaway or Scarlett Johansson?  Ugh!  That’s the sort of braintrust brilliance we’ve got funding this movie?  Egads, it’s time to upgrade the Bad Idea Alert to DEFCON Dreadful!

The real kicker, though, is the source for this buzz, aka, the ever trustworthy New York Post, which reports:

BRIAN Grazer is remaking “The Bride of Frankenstein,” but this time, the female monster is going to be a babe. “She’ll be young. They’re looking for a person with great power and sex appeal,” a Hollywood insider told us. “Someone along the lines of Scarlett Johansson or Anne Hathaway.” In the 1935 original, the frizzy-haired bride was played by bug-eyed English actress Elsa Lanchester. The new Universal Pictures/Imagine Entertainment version, first disclosed by The Hollywood Reporter, will be helmed and co-scripted by Neil Burger, who wrote and directed “The Illusionist.”

Really?  REALLY???  The totally unwarranted jab at Elsa Lanchester’s appearance is trashy and gross, but the New York Post is trashy and gross, so that’s not shocking.  Par for the course, if anything.  But there’s still plenty to take issue with.

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“Relator” is Catchier Than a Pandemic, Y’all
June 16, 2009

I was full-on DO-NOT-WANT! when Scarlett Johansson released her album of Tom Waits covers.  It struck me as an ego trip wrapped in a vanity project, so I avoided it plague-style.  Needless to say, I was totally braced for a second helping of that reaction when I read on Stereogum that she was teaming up with Pete Yorn for an album called Break Up.  Pete Yorn may be able to reverse my “No, No, New Jersey” policy, but could he possibly lend credibility to Ms. Johansson’s singing career?  Well, you’re welcome to form your own opinion by listening to the first single, “Relator,” over here, but as for me, well:

scarlett_pete_relator_love

“Relator” is some seriously catchy business, y’all!  Those guitars are popalicious from the very get go, that bass line is delightful, and I’m really digging Scarlett Johansson.  Maybe it’s just perfect timing, but this song is totally my summer jam.  It’s got a warm bubbliness to it that is perfect for iPod time when walking the streets of New York City.  “Relator” and a Mr. Softee ice cream on a balmy summer day would be amaaaazing.  Not the balmy part, per se, but summers in the city do have that tendency to feel like you’re sitting in a fat man’s ass crack.  Seriously, New York City summers are totally the worst, but “Relator” is so good that it can make anything great.  Including Scarlett Johansson’s music career.  Pete Yorn’s got the magic touch, y’all!

Break Up drops September 8th, by the by.  Given how good “Relator” is, though, I’m not built for that sort of patience without a conniption fit or seven.

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