Monthly Archives: November 2010

‘Spider-Man’ preview filled with problems

Check out what the New York Post’s theatre gossip Michael Riedel has to say about the first preview of Spiderman: Turn Off The Dark. He has been sharpening his knives for months now, it sounded like a fun night……….

First ‘Spider-Man’ preview filled with problems –

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Spidey begins to spin his web

Spiderman: Turn Off The Dark begins public performances tomorrow (Sunday in NYC). And I am very interested to see what this musical will be. I certainly will be scouring the vicious theatre blogs to see what the word is – knives will be out that’s for sure – they have already been sharpening! A show of this scale is bound to face huge criticism and curiosity.

Photo by Annie Leibovitch for Vogue

After a troubled technical period in which a couple of the performers during demonstrations of the shows flying sequences incurred injuries – one broke both his wrists, the other both his feet – OUCH!  Previews were delayed and a new opening date set – Jan 11, 2011.

Directed by Julie Taymor, the cast is headed by Reeve Carney as Peter Parker/Spider-Man, Tony nominee Jennifer Damiano (Next To Normal)as Mary Jane Watson and Broadway veteran Patrick Page as Norman Osborn/The Green Goblin. Music & Lyrics is by Bono & The Edge (U2).

Spider-Man Turn Off the Dark, according to press notes, “spins a new take on the mythic tale of Peter Parker, a teenager whose unremarkable life in Queens is turned upside-down — literally — when he’s bitten by a genetically-altered spider and wakes up the next morning clinging to the ceiling. Bullied by his classmates and tortured by an unrelenting crush on next-door-neighbor Mary Jane Watson, this science geek discovers he has suddenly been endowed with astonishing powers. He soon learns, however, that with great power comes great responsibility. Maligned by the media, buffeted by financial woes, and stretched thin by the expectations of the world-at-large, Peter now must struggle to navigate the perilous and peculiar demands of being a web-slinging superhero.”

We all know the story, now we want to see the spectacle. At a reported cost of $60 million dollars it had better be a worthy spectacle as it has an uphill climb and many many years to turn a profit. If anyone, Julie Taymor can pull it off – she certainly managed it with “The Lion King” still running on Broadway after 13 years, and still bringing in the bucks. I cannot believe that it will flop, in this current financial climate nobody would invest in a dog, but then again how could one know once all the creative juices flow and the compromising begins – it is extremely ambitious. Do those comic book nuts ever step foot into a theatre – let alone a musical one?

I am excited, it ain’t Sondheim but it is a musical, and on a grand scale – needed every once in a while.

Reeve Carney rehearsing.    Photo by Jacob Cohl

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Designer of a lifetime.

The Art Directors Guild of America are giving their Lifetime Acheivement award to a favorite designer of mine – Patricia Norris.

An acclaimed costume and production designer she is best know for her collaborations with film maker David Lynch.

Norris began her career as a costume designer, moving on to production design and sometimes doing both.

She began her collaboration with Lynch designing the costumes for “The Elephant Man” which earned her an Academy Award nomination.

Since then she went on to production design “Blue Velvet”, “Twin Peaks”, “Wild At Heart”, “Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me” & “Lost Highway” all for Lynch.

She has been nominated 4 more times for an Oscar for costumes  – “Days Of Heaven”, “Victor/Victoria”, “2010” & “Sunset”. She won a production design Emmy for “Twin Peaks”.

Congratulations Pat!

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Sue and her star mum

All you Gleeks out there, you are in for a treat next Monday night (Australia).

After a guest role from Gwyneth Paltrow (she was quite good) last night we have a real mega guest star appearing next.

Announced previously the great and I mean GREAT Carol Burnett makes her appearance as Sue Sylvester’s Nazi hunter mom.

They sing a duet – ‘Ohio’ from the wonderful musical “Wonderful Town”, which originally starred another great – Rosalind Russell.

I have heard an audio sneak peek and it sounds fantabulous! I am so glad they do a Broadway number and not some lame pop tune.

Can’t wait to see it for myself.

And I bet my bottom dollar she is dressed in Bob Mackie!!!


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Oscar Buzz – Best Supporting Actor

Christian Bale – The Fighter.

Long overdue for award recognition in my own opinion. Playing the crack addict brother of boxer Mark Wahlberg, Bale once again has physically transformed to create the character (he did the same in “The Mechanist”). Since the film was seen last week all the attention is leading to a nom for Bale who overshadows Wahlberg.

Andrew Garfield – The Social Network.

English actor Andrew Garfield impresses as the betrayed best friend of Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg. Soon to be seen as the new Spiderman in a reboot of the series, Garfield also appears this year in the English ensemble drama “Never Let Me Go”, he is certainly making his mark and hopefully the Academy will acknowledge his impressive performance here. Ain’t bad on the eye too!

Geoffrey Rush – The King’s Speech.

© the Weinstein company

Previous Oscar winner Rush seems perfectly cast in this role. As an Aussie actor not doing well in his chosen career he becomes the speech therapist to the stuttering King Of England. Rush is always good when the role requires a big serving of ham. He will certainly be riding the gravy train that this film is providing for many.

Mark Ruffalo – The Kids Are All Right.

Mark Ruffalo is another long deserved actor to hopefully gain some Academy recognition. He lost out on a nomination for his excellent turn in “You Can Count On Me” his breakthrough role. As the carefree sperm donor to the uptight lesbians he lays on all the charm and sex appeal required to woo audiences. Perhaps not enough dramatic gravitas to actually win, but I am sure he will join his co-stars in being nominated at least.

Ed Harris – The Way Back.

If there is a veteran award on offer then hand it to Ed Harris. He has been up for an award 4 times in the past. He is always reliable to give a great and honest performance and may be in with a very good chance of winning. Playing a tough-as-nails American who escapes with a motley group from a Russian Gulag. Director Peter Weir steered him to a nomination in “The Truman Show”  – perhaps he will help him find his way to the podium this time.

John Hawkes  – Winter’s Bone.

A character actor who has appeared in many good films over the years. Hawkes is both frightening and compassionate in this role as the uncle with a meth addiction warning the distraught heroine hunting for her missing dad to be careful. I expect he may not make it to the nom selection he sure deserves to be there and even win!


Justin Timberlake – The Social Network.

Sam Rockwell – Conviction.


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off to see the Wizard….

Went to see the latest Harry Potter – the first part of the final book filmed (part 2 due next July).

Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows – Pt 1.

I have seen all the HP films, but never read the books. They are event movies so it is hard for me to resist, a bit like Bond films. Not to mention watching the huge roster of fine British actors on the screen. This one fares better than the last two, but not as good as my favorite in the series – the 3rd one “Prisoner Of Azkaban” by far the most visual and imaginative.

If anything the Potter films are always a visual treat – the production design by talented Oscar winner Stuart Craig is always first class and full of wonderment and exquisite detail, they spend the big bucks wisely. The costumes are also just as fine – both the fantasy and the contemporary full of character and detail.

Story wise this film is a bit convoluted and repetitive but even though overlong it is not boring. It does at times feel a tad by the numbers and takes itself too seriously – far too dark and not enough magic and laughs. It also makes you realize that by the final film it will be time to put the magic wands to rest.

It is hard to believe that the first film was released in Nov 2001 – 9 years ago. Watching the fine young lead cast grow has been fun and handled by the producers with lots of care. I think care is the reason that this franchise has delighted me over the years. Quality big budget studio films are a rare beast.




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It’s time to light the lights……

A new Muppet movie is on the way.

Next Dec 2011 a brand new Muppet movie will be released and here are some first look pics.

Jason Segel an alumni of Judd Apatow films and a star of TV’s “How I Met Your Mother” has co-written the screenplay. He also takes a lead ‘human’ role. Co-starring with him is Oscar nominee Amy Adams, Chris Cooper plays the villian. Expect lots of cameos as per norm with a Muppet movie.

I am a HUGE fan of the Muppets. The TV show featured so many fabulous guest stars. The Muppets have so many great iconic characters so it will be a treat to see them all on the big screen again. I have to admit I have seen all the Muppet movies and in a cinema too 🙂 I love em!

The plot is another one of those ‘lets put on a show’ types familiar to Muppet fans – why mess with a proven feel good formula.


Spoiler Alert!

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Oscar Buzz – Best Supporting Actress

Jacki Weaver – Animal Kingdom.

Need I say more?  Anyone who knows me knows how much I have been championing this brilliant actress. She has been treading the boards for years in Australia and now her time has come. As the mother from hell in David Michod’s brilliant crime drama she has been getting rave reviews from critics worldwide. Now the awards blogs are coming to the party and she is on most major prediction lists. I expect her to get lots of nods once the critics awards start up. This is the most exciting of nominations, it had better happen or you will here me scream from miles away.

Dianne Wiest – Rabbit Hole.

Dianne Wiest has won two previous supporting actress awards in the past – both for Woody Allen films (Hannah & Her Sisters & Bullets Over Broadway). It has been a while since she has had any attention for a movie role, Televison appearances and theatre have kept her busy. In this drama she plays the part of grieving Nicole Kidman’s supportive mother, a monologue she delivers about grief is apparently the clincher for her predicted nomination

Helena Bonham Carter – The King’s Speech.

Playing the role of the adored Queen Mother – before she was known as that of course, Helena Bonham Carter gives fine support to Colin Firths showy role. She was also one of the best things in Tim Burton’s “Alice In Wonderland” playing another Queen. She has been nominated in the past as lead actress in “The Wings Of A Dove”. She does period roles to perfection.

Melissa Leo – The Fighter.

A scenery chewing role as the overbearing mother to Mark Wahlberg’s fighting champ, Melissa Leo sprung to our attention with her Oscar nominated performance in “Frozen River” in 2008. She was brilliant in that film so it is great to see her shine in another role.

Julianne Moore – The Kids Are All Right.

If they put her in this category then there is a chance that she can join Bening on the winners podium. Let’s hope it ends up this way

Hailee Steinfeld – True Grit.

Newcomer Halle Steinfeld has been getting a lot of attention for a film yet to be seen. Word is that she steals the movie from the strong cast that support her. She plays a feisty teenager who hires US marshal Rooster Cogburn (Jeff Bridges) to help find her father’s killer. Could she be this years Anna Paquin?


Miranda Richardson – Made In Dagenham.

Barbara Hershey – Black Swan.

Mila Kunis – Black Swan.

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found me a Daisy

If Baz Luhrmann decides to make his next film project the remake of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s “The Great Gatsby” he has found his Daisy Buchanan. have reported that they have been contacted by Baz to let them know that he has chosen English actress Carey Mulligan for the part. Mulligan was nominated for an Oscar last year for her role in “An Education”. She has won the role over a host of actresses who were considered or tested for the part. Keira Knightley, Amanda Seyfried, Blake Lively, Abbie Cornish, Michelle Williams,Rebecca Hall and Scarlett Johansson amongst them.

Leonardo DiCaprio, will play Jay Gatsby and Tobey Maguire is expected to play his friend, Nick Carraway. No word yet on who’ll play the other major parts.

Daisy was played by Mia Farrow in the 1974 film.

PHOTO CREDIT: Carey Mulligan photographed auditioning for the role of Daisy Buchanan. New York City, November 2, 2010. Photo: Baz Luhrmann. Copyright: Bazmark


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first season Oscar harvest

In it’s second year of presenting honorary awards at a separate ceremony the Academy Of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences’ Governors awards were handed out on Saturday night (US).

Held separately to keep the running time of the main ceremony down and to allow recipients more time to speak, it has been hailed as a relaxed affair far from probing television cameras and full of the industries major players.

This years recipients:

Honorary Oscars

actor Eli Wallach.

film historian and preservationist Kevin Brownlow.

iconic French director Jean-Luc Godard (who turned down an invitation to attend).

Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award

producer,director  Francis Ford Coppola.

Eli Wallach, Francis Ford Coppola & Kevin Brownlow       ©AMPAS

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