Wednesday, 23 December 2009

The best-selling recording artist of 2009 is...

On Thursday, Alicia Keys will enter the Billboard Hot 200 album chart at number 2 with an impressive 405,000 units of her latest album, The Element of Freedom. Who kept her off the top spot? Why, it's none other than the same artist who has occupied the top spot for the past for the past four weeks - Susan Boyle. In the UK, Boyle's debut album, I Dreamed a Dream, has already been declared the biggest album of the year. In the US, that honor belongs to Taylor Swift's Fearless....but at the rate SuBo is going (this week, her album shifted 659,000 units), she could very well topple Taylor....and to think, this woman was completely unknown a year ago! What a difference a year makes!

What I've been waiting for...

The teaser trailer for the second Sex and the City movie was just released on the cannot wait!

Thursday, 17 December 2009

Sandra Bullock - Oscar Nominee?

February 2nd, 2010 is when the nominations for the 82nd Academy Awards will be announced. That's more than six weeks away but already, I feel confident in predicting that Sandra Bullock will be one of the five women nominated for the Best Actress Oscar. This prediction is a rather obvious one to make now that Sandra Bullock has been nominated for both a Golden Globe and a SAG Award for her career-shifting performance in 'The Blind Side'. The Screen Actors Guild Award nominations were announced today and they pretty much reflected the Golden Globe nominations and whom I believe will be nominated on February 2nd. I shall make my predictions today and when the time comes, check back and see how many I got right.

Best Actor:
Jeff Bridges - Crazy Heart
George Clooney - Up in the Air
Colin Firth - A Single Man
Morgan Freeman - Invictus
Jeremy Renner - The Hurt Locker

If anyone of these men is at risk, it would be Jeremy Renner. He is the least well-known name on this list and it's possible that Daniel Day-Lewis (Nine), Ben Foster (The Messenger) or Tobey Maguire (Brothers) could take his spot.
Best Actress:
Sandra Bullock - The Blind Side
Helen Mirren - The Last Station
Carey Mulligan - An Education
Gabourey Sidibe - Precious: Based on the Novel 'Push' by Sapphire
Meryl Streep - Julie & Julia

All of these ladies are looking like surefire bets. If anyone of them is snubbed, it'll likely to make room for Emily Blunt (Young Victoria), Abbie Cornish (Bright Star) or Saoirse Ronan (The Lovely Bones).

Best Supporting Actor:
Matt Damon - Invictus
Woody Harrelson - The Messenger
Christopher Plummer - The Last Station
Stanley Tucci - The Lovely Bones
Christoph Waltz - Inglorious Basterds
This line-up is another one that looks like it won't be changing come Feb. 2nd.

Best Supporting Actress:
Penélope Cruz - Nine
Vera Farmiga - Up in the Air
Anna Kendrick - Up in the Air
Mo'Nique - Precious: Based on the Novel 'Push' by Sapphire
Julianne Moore - A Single Man

Of the five names here, I think that Julianne Moore might be the only who might not be nominated. If she isn't, I wouldn't be surprised if it was to make room for Samantha Morton (The Messenger) or Mariah Carey (Precious: Based on the Novel 'Push' by Sapphire). However, I would be very surprised if SAG award nominee Diane Kruger (Inglorious Basterds) manages to remain on the same list at the Oscars, although pleasantly so! I thought that her performance was absolutely glorious (pun intended) but who knows what the Academy will like. The whole guessing game is absolutely pointless, I know, but boy, do I enjoy it or what!

Tuesday, 15 December 2009

Double your Golden Globe chances!

The Golden Globe nominations were announced today and several stars emerged double nominees. Those reaping multiple nominations included Meryl Streep (who's a double nominee in the Best Actress - Musical or Comedy category for 'It's Complicated' and 'Julie & Julia'), Sandra Bullock (Best Actress - Musical or Comedy for 'The Proposal' and Best Actress - Drama for 'The Blind Side') and Matt Damon (Best Actor - Musical or Comedy for 'The Informant!' and Best Supporting Actor for 'Invictus'). Meryl Streep's performance in 'Julie & Julia' has already turned the veteran actress turned current box office queen the frontrunner for next year's Best Actress Oscar but it's entirely possible that having two nominations in the same category could end up costing her the Golden Globe, if votes end up being split between the two. Sandra Bullock's nominations top off what has been the most successful year of her career, with both movies that she's nominated for already hugely profitable hits.
Many titles that have generated award buzz for the past few months emerged even stronger contenders in Oscar's Best Picture race, especially now that the field has been expanded from the traditional five nominees to ten nominees. 'Precious' continues to be the little film that could in this upcoming race, with nominations in the Best Drama, Best Actress - Drama (Gabourey Sidibe) and Best Supporting Actress (Mo'Nique) but curiously, no nominations for Best Director (Lee Daniels) and Mariah Carey for Best Supporting Actress. 'Nine' will seems to have Best Musical or Comedy locked up, even though its director, Rob Marshall, was snubbed. Interestingly, Dave Karger of Entertainment Weekly noted that in the Best Director race, two of the nominees, Kathryn Bigelow (The Hurt Locker) and James Cameron (Avatar), are former spouses, which must be a Golden Globe first!

On the TV side, I was so happy to see some of my favorite show, 30 Rock, nominated in multiple categories, as well as seeing several new shows that have caught my attention gain recognition, i.e. 'Cougar Town', 'Modern Family', 'Glee' and 'Nurse Jackie'. Actually, that's what I have planned for Christmas day - a marathon of 'Glee' followed by a marathon of 'Nurse Jackie'! Now, that's what I call quality time alone!

Thursday, 3 December 2009

Shame on you, NY State Senate!

On Wednesday, the NY State Senate voted down the gay marriage bill 38-24. Yes, the Empire State, home of New York City, one of the gayest cities in the world, will not be handing out a marriage license to Adam and Steve anytime soon. The injustice and the regressive nature of this vote are too bewildering to speak I will leave you with this beautiful speech given by Senator Diane Savino of Staten Island, NY. This lady manages to make so much sense of the whole debate and she does it with amazing grace and humor.

Wednesday, 2 December 2009

No Single Ladies? Halo-No!

Beyoncé dominates this year's Grammy nominations, with a leading 10 nods, including in the three main categories of Record of the Year, Song of the Year and Album of the Year. None of this is a surprise to anyone who has witnessed the cultural impact of 'Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)' in the past twelve months. The song has spawned countless YouTube tributes and more recently, has been referenced in breakout TV shows such as 'Glee' and 'Cougar Town'. The phenomenal success of this song has even been recognized by President Obama! So, how is it that Beyoncé's nomination for Record of the Year is for the popular but nowhere nearly as iconic 'Halo'? I guess the Recording Academy felt like living up to their reputation of being out of touch with the zeitgeist. Strangely enough, 'Single Ladies' still scored Beyoncé (and her co-writers) a nomination in the Song of the Year category, which means that the song was considered by the nominating committee but deemed not worthy of the Record of the Year category.

Meanwhile, Lady GaGa can console herself for being passed over for Best New Artist with her nominations in the same three major categories as Beyoncé. Her 'Poker Face' is nominated for both Record of the Year and Song of the Year and her debut album 'The Fame' has been nominated for Album of the Year, where the other three nominated acts are the Black Eyed Peas, the Dave Matthews Band and Taylor Swift...cue a bunch of tired, old Kanye West jokes. Speaking of Taylor Swift, she joins Lady GaGa and Beyoncé in being the only acts this year that are nominated for all three major categories. It's encouraging to see young female singer/songwriters being recognized for their talent in an industry that often takes women less seriously than their male counterparts.

The most glaring omission from the nominations is probably the clear and deliberate snub of former Grammy favorite Whitney Houston, whose warmly-reviewed and commercially successful comeback album 'I Look to You' was actually released one day earlier than scheduled in order for it to qualify for this year's Grammys. With the highly influential Clive Davis in her corner, it's certainly curious as to how she missed out on a single nomination. Perhaps a duet with Beyoncé on 'I Look to You' would have been advisable but in all fairness, hindsight is 20/20!

Tuesday, 1 December 2009

Grammy goes GaGa...

...but not in the Best New Artist category! The Grammy nominations will be announced later today and there has been a great deal of controversy surrounding the ineligibility of Lady GaGa in the aforementioned newcomer race due to her nomination last year in the Best Dance Recording category for her debut single 'Just Dance'. Grammy's President Neil Portnow has conceded that the way Best New Artist nominees are selected will probably have to be reviewed and revised following the omission of the biggest newcomer to pop in the 2008/09 award season. Meanwhile, the rules do not prevent recording artists who are not even on their debut album in the eligibility period from being eligible for the Best New Artist Grammy. Previous Best New Artist winner Shelby Lynne was already on her sixth studio album when she was nominated. Don't feel too bad for GaGa, though. I have a strong hunch that she'll still reap multiple nominations in the Pop and Dance categories, not to mention the all encompassing main categories of Record, Album and Song of the Year. Besides, that's what a true pioneer does...they blaze the trail for those who come after them, even if they themselves miss out!

'Precious' Spirit Award nominations

It's the beginning of December and I feel like 2009 just flashed by me. Truth be told, I absolutely love this time of year because my version of Christmas is watching the unfolding of the movie awards season. As the year draws to an end, the road to Oscar unofficially begins, even though Oscar nominations aren't announced until early February and the actual ceremony isn't until March 7th, 2010. Actually, for an Oscar fan like me, someone who enjoys handicapping the entertainment industry's highest honors, Oscar season is all year round but it's around this time every year that contenders start to come into focus and pretenders fall by the wayside. On Tuesday, the nominations for the 2010 Spirit Awards were announced. These awards honor achievements in independent, US-funded cinema.

'Precious: Based on the Novel "Push" by Sapphire" and 'The Last Station' lead the field with five nominations each. 'Precious', the story of an abused and illiterate Harlem teenager who struggles to find a better life, is the frontrunner for the Best Picture Oscar. The movie has been collecting accolades and great acclaim ever since it was premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in January. 'The Last Station' is an account of the battle over the estate of Russian literary giant Leo Tolstoy between the man, played by Christopher Plummer, and his wife, played by Helen Mirren, who has already won the Best Actress prize at the Rome Film Festival for her performance. Both are nominated, with the latter competing against Gabourey Sidibe, the young lady making her professional acting debut playing the eponymous role in 'Precious', in the Best Actress category.
Because the Spirit Awards specifically recognize lower-budget films, success here doesn't necessarily translate to success at the Oscars...but it certainly doesn't hurt a leading contender's Oscar chances and, if anything, only adds to the momentum of award frontrunners. Furthermore, there tends to be quite a number of overlapping in the acting categories between the Spirit Awards and the Academy Awards, ever since Oscar got more hip and wiser to the quality of independent film, especially in telling stories that are character-driven; the kind of meaty opportunities that every actor craves. Just last year, Spirit Award nominee Sean Penn, for Best Actor for his work in 'Milk', went on to win the Oscar. This year, there are several nominees at the Spirit Awards who will likely contend at the Oscars. They include the aforementioned Gabourey Sidibe and her co-star Mo'Nique, who portrays the title character's abusive mother, one of the most horrific parental figures ever committed to celluloid, for 'Precious', Helen Mirren and Christopher Plummer for 'The Last Station', Woody Harrelson and Samantha Morton for the Iraq war on the homefront movie 'The Messenger', Colin Firth in iconic fashion designer Tom Ford's directorial debut 'A Single Man' and the current frontrunner for the Best Actor Oscar, Jeff Bridges for 'Crazy Heart'.
One performance that was surprisingly omitted from these nominations is Mariah Carey's performance as the social worker who helps the title character to confront her domestic hell in 'Precious', which has been generating a great deal of Oscar buzz for the diva, due to the transformative nature of her role and the revelatory potency of her subtle turn. Carey has already won one award for her work in 'Precious', the Breakthrough Performance Award from the Palm Springs Film Festival. I believe that her journey from making one of the worst-received film debut of all time in 'Glitter' to Best Supporting Actress Oscar nominee for 'Precious' will continue because it is clear that the Oscar momentum for 'Precious' will continue to grow in the next few months. No doubt, Mariah will benefit from all the attention the movie is getting. If there is one thing that the Academy loves more than recognizing a good, deserving performance, it's recognizing a good, deserving performance given by someone with a personal trajectory of redemption and triumph over adversity. Now, that's definitely our Mimi!

Sunday, 22 November 2009

American Music Awards 2009 = Divas Live 2009

I don't usually care about the AMAs coz it's usually just a bunch of rock bands that I would never listen to but this year, it's looking more and more like the ultimate festival for pop divas with larger-than-life personas. Two veteran divas who ruled the 1980s and 90s are making appearances that will fan the embers of nostalgia for that period in pop music and deliver some sort of retrospective celebration. Whitney Houston is performing 'I Didn't Know My Own Strenght', a new signature track off her current album 'I Look to You', as well as accepting the AMAs' International Artist award. Janet Jackson will be performing an eight-minute medley of her greatest hits to commemorate the release of her upcoming greatest hits compilation 'Number Ones'.

Another diva will be staging somewhat of a comeback, too. Jennifer Lopez is debuting her brand new single 'Louboutins'. Considering that she hasn't had a US top 10 single since 'All I Had' went to number 1 in early 2003, it seems like the stakes are high for La Lopez but the new track is pretty damn catchy and it's produced by the hottest producers in da game, Tricky Stewart and The-Dream.

However, the performer I'm most excited about is Lady GaGa. It's been reported by Entertainment Weekly's Whitney Pastorek that 'Gaga’s AMA performance appears to be her most far-reaching live effort yet, as though she took a look at that bizarre gyroscope dress-to-piano transition she rather botched on Saturday Night Live and said, “Yeah, but what if we made it even harder for me to get to the keyboard?” She’s not only performing “Bad Romance,” which was to be expected, but seizing the opportunity to debut “Speechless” off her Fame Monster reissue as well.' The sheer ambition and boundless creativity of this performer continues to astound me....of course, this is all conjecture until we actually see what she has in store for us....all that I know is....I want to go to there!

Oh, and by the way, I realize that there was an actual Divas Live show on this year but let me tell you, VH1 were playing pretty fast and loose with the definition of a diva this year. I mean, Whitney Houston is a diva. Miley Cyrus? Not so much!

Friday, 23 October 2009

UK recession not receding...

The UK is now officially in its longest recorded recession, as official figures released by the government today reveal a 0.4% drop in gross domestic product (GDP) for the third quarter of 2009. This came as quite a shock as many economists were forecasting (rather prematurely, it seems) an end to the recession, after five (and now six) consecutive quarters where growth fell, on the eve of the reporting of these figures. What this bad news reaffirms is that nobody knows shit...or to put it more eloquently, in the wise words of the Victorian economist Alfred Marshall, economics is 'not a body of concrete truth but an engine for the discovery of concrete truth'.
To all my friends in the UK, what this means for you is that you are going to have to persevere for a bit longer. A recovery is not possible without greater consumer confidence and on a day like today, confidence is going to take a beating. To really add salt to your wounds, whatever you're earning in GB£ just fell in value a little bit more against both the US$ and the Euro as of this morning. Times are hard but all we can do is keep doing what we're doing.

Thursday, 22 October 2009

Censorship in a pluralist society? No, thank you!

The BBC has been criticized by certain members of the British Cabinet and anti-fascist groups for its decision to invite the leader of the UK's British National Party, onto its popular Question Time programme. The BNP is a far-right, whites-only political party that has only recently gained marginal democratic legitimacy to their extremist agenda through victory of some seats at UK elections at local and European levels, although they have yet to gain any representation at parliamentary level. Nick Griffin, the BNP's leader, who became a UK Member of European Parliament this past May, will be appearing tonight as a part of Question Time's panel. Opponents of the BNP argue that it is wrong to give media representation on such a high-profile programme to a figure whose sole purpose seems to be to incite racial hatred. After all, the BBC is a publicly-funded corporation based in a country that prides itself on its multicultural diversity and inclusivity.

Mark Thompson, the BBC's director general, defends its decision to invite Nick Griffin onto Question Time with the argument that it is the broadcaster's duty to allow the public 'to hear the full range of political perspectives' and that to succumb to political pressures and rescind its invitation to Nick Griffin is to breach its 'central principle of impartiality'. I couldn't agree more. The exclusion of a group like the BNP, no matter how vile and ignorant and completely regressive I may find them, is tantamount to censorship and such an act threatens what is precious and magnificent about a pluralist society like contemporary Great Britain - freedom of speech and expression. Yes, people like the BNP and Nick Griffin will test the boundaries of one's conviction for such types of freedom but alas, this kind of complexity is a part of living in a truly democratic society, one with enough sophisticated and educated people who can decide for themselves what ideas they can be exposed to and more importantly, how they will process such ideas.

Is it entirely possible that the BBC is generating this controversy for some sort of superficial gain, e.g. media interest and higher ratings? Of course, it is. Then, again, being the sole publicly-funded broadcaster in the UK, it's not like the BBC could be accused of drumming up media attention and publicity in order to gain new sponsors and advertisers.

Having said all that, I cannot wait to witness the bloodbath that will take place tonight. The other members of the panels are the Conservative peer, Lady Warsi, who is of Pakistani descent and a lawyer by trade so I am sure she won't be at lost for words in her encounter with Griffin, Jack Straw, the justice secretary, Chris Huhne, the Lib Dem home affairs spokesman and Bonnie Greer, a black American playwright and critic who lives in Britain. Nick Griffin might see this as an opportunity to take on 'the enemy' but I see this as an opportunity for an educated man (believe it or not, the man graduated from Cambridge University...albeit, with a 2:2) to be exposed for the fool that he is. In The Guardian, where I read about this story, I was particularly compelled by what Ben Bradshaw, the culture secretary, had to say:

'I have always thought we have to take the BNP on. I have always thought they condemn themselves as soon as they open their mouths. In a democracy where they have elected representatives not just at European level but at local level it is very difficult for a broadcaster to exclude them … We should not give these people the opportunity to claim they are being gagged'.

In other words, by giving them this platform, the BBC may have just given the BNP the pistol with which it may shoot itself in the foot. Here's hoping.

Monday, 12 October 2009

I can't wait to H.A.T.E.U.

How much fun is Mariah Carey? Oh, my goodness! This video was taken at her concert at The Palms in Las Vegas over the weekend. Mariah
shared a very special moment with two fans. It is sweet like candy.

Fuck GI Joe! This is a real American hero!

Discharged National Guard First Lt. Dan Choi spoke at the National Equality March and his stunning battle cry in the fight for equality makes me hope that this fine specimen of a man will soon run for office! West Point graduate Choi appeared on The Rachel Maddow Show back in March, 2009, and spoke out against Don't Ask, Don't Tell. By coming out of the closet so publicly, Choi deliberately challenged a policy that he believes to be immoral and, as he puts it, 'a slap in the face' of soldiers. Soon after his television appearance, the Iraq war veteran received his discharge letter from the government. It seems like what the current civil rights movement really needs is a dynamic leader like Choi; someone who no longer has the patience and tolerance for the ignorance of the right and the empty promises of the left.

Apparently, "Love" really is the answer!

On Sunday, Barbra Streisand's new album, "Love is the Answer", entered the UK album chart at #1, just three days after it also topped the US album chart, giving her the rare feat of having the #1 album in the US and the UK simultaneously. What's exciting about this is that in the age of Kanye West and Lady GaGa, Ms. Streisand has remained at the top of her profession not by pandering to the youth market but by virtue of her unique and incredible talent and passion for her work! With "Love is the Answer", Barbra broke her own record of most consecutive decades with an US #1 album, spanning the 1960s, 1970s, 1980s, 1990s and now, the 2000s. Hello and congratulations, gorgeous!!!

I love, love, LOVE Cynthia Nixon

Watch this amazing actress/public school system advocate/human rights activist give a rousing speech at the National Equality March over the weekend! Yes, yes, yes!!! She is so spot on about how the repeal of the Defense Of Marriage Act is mandatory and even if there was same sex marriage in all fifty states, not all citizens and families are equally protected under the law if DOMA still stands! People have to realize that this is not only about the right to throw a big party and declare and celebrate your love (as important and beautiful as that is!) but it's about giving everybody the same rights to protect themselves and their loved ones from the same economic, social and political challenges, complications and obstacles that every single member of society faces! So, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Barack Obama, it is time to fulfill the promise of your presidency and 'move beyond words'!

On a side note, it has been widely reported that the currently shooting sequel to 2008's "Sex and the City: The Movie", starring the fabulous Cynthia Nixon herself (along with three other broads who should have been taking part in this march if they cared at all about reciprocating the goodwill that the gay community has given them over the years!) will feature a same sex wedding (I won't give away the parties involved in this union but true fans won't have any trouble speculating!).

I am also posting a video of Lady GaGa speaking at the same rally. It's good to see the hottest singer in pop right now put her money where her mouth is! I love how she actually put on clothes to punctuate how serious a cause this is to her! We love you for doing your part, GaGa...cherry, cherry, boom, boom, indeed! Meanwhile, where the hell was Madonna? Madonna, I will always love you but show your gay fans, the ones who supported you through two divorces, that Pepsi controversy, your Sex book backlash and even, The Next Best Thing, the same love and loyalty that they have always given you!

Thursday, 8 October 2009

I Ain't Gotta Feeling No More!

As much as I loved the Black Eyed Peas' 'I Gotta Feeling', I am glad that, as of today, there is a new #1 on the American singles chart. The Black Eyed Peas ends their record-breaking 26 consecutive weeks reign at the top of the Billboard Hot 100 chart (with their back-to-back releases, 'Boom Boom Pow' and the aforementioned 'I Gotta Feeling') today as they make way for a new face to the US charts. London-born singer, Jay Sean, assumes the #1 position with his US debut single, 'Down'. What excites me about Jay Sean's success is not only the fact that he's another British recording artist who has conquered the US pop chart, it's the fact that Jay Sean is of Sikh Punjabi descent. When was the last time you saw a face like his on US MTV? I know that it seems like I'm obsessed with race but when you're an ethnic minority in the West, you get excited whenever you see any diversity and representation of ethnic minority in the's something that you can truly understand if you grew up in a society where you never saw a face that looked like yours on television...anyway, it's awesome and I'm happy for Jay Sean that he's the one to break through this glass ceiling!

Wednesday, 7 October 2009

Men of Thailand...oh, boy!

My lil cousin, Jun Chatrakul Na Ayudhya, recently moved from Cambridge, United Kingdom to Bangkok, Thailand to launch a media/performing career and he's doing pretty well, having already landed a pictorial spread in a local lifestyle/fashion magazine. Yes, that's him in the picture above...can't you see the family resemblance? He's just a decade younger and a foot taller than me but other than that, we're practically identical. Okay, well, maybe not exactly identical. He's currently taking part in a male beauty contest (isn't it funny how we have to say 'male beauty', as if women hold the patent on beauty...bitch, puh-leaze!) in Thailand and we need your help so please vote for Jun, M5...which sounds like I'm campaigning for a motorway in the UK.

Tuesday, 6 October 2009

National Equality March

The National Equality March takes place in Washington DC this weekend. For those of you living in America, with any sense of civic duty, get yourself to the march this weekend and stand up for the equal legal protection of all citizens and families, regardless of sexual orientation! The world will be watching and as always, America has an amazing opportunity to show the world what it truly stands for.

I love that the current Broadway revival of Hair will be dark this weekend to accommodate the cast's participation in the march! Just coz I feel like namedropping, I wonder if my former director, Diane Paulus, who directed this production of Hair, will also be taking part.

One of my current favorite pop stars, Lady GaGa, will be marching, too, so boys and girls, don't forget to pack your disco sticks for the ride down to DC!!!

Thursday, 1 October 2009

Thai pop goes global!

Tata Young is a female pop singer who has been a star in her native Thailand since she was a teenager. Over the past decade, she has been expanding her fan base across East Asia and India and now, it looks like she's about to go global, becoming the face of Thai pop music to a worldwide audience. I'm so excited about this because Thailand is full of talented people with lots of creativity and drive and for whatever reason in the past, the world stage was not ready for or open to us (yes, basically, this post is all about per usual!). Well, the world is changing and becoming a richer, more interesting place for it. Buzz for Tata Young's third English-language album, Ready For Love (released in late August), has been growing louder and louder and if you check out the music video for the eponymous lead single, you'll understand why! Go, girl...represent!

Tuesday, 29 September 2009

Turn off your phones!

We all have mobiles/cellphones/handphones so it's not like none of us can't appreciate how awkward or embarassing it is when it goes off at an inopportune time but c'mon, people, when you go to see a play, turn off your damn phones! Have some respect for the theatre! One such unfortunate incident of a ringing phone spoiling the sacred communal experience of the theatre occurred last week on Broadway, as captured by a secret recording that was shown on, at a preview performance of A Steady Rain, starring Wolverine and Jams Bond. I applaud Hugh Jackman and Daniel Craig for being so restrained in their response to the offending phone and its owner, who was clearly too embarassed to pull out their ringing phone and turn off the damn thing! What a douchebag whoever this person was. I would have jumped into the audience and knocked some manners into them!

Saturday, 26 September 2009

Ready to 'Scream'...

...all over again?

After the initial announcement that Courtney Cox Arquette and her husband, David Arquette, will be returning to the Scream franchise, where they first met as co-stars almost a decade and a half ago, it was speculated that the fourth installment of the hit horror series would be built around them, as Neve Campbell was unlikely to return....well, guess what, folks? It has been announced that Neve will now be returning, too, and Kevin Williamson, the writer of the original trilogy is now penning a whole new trilogy. It is also reported that Wes Craven, the director of the first three Scream movies, is also in negotiations. Personally, I loved the first Scream movie like nobody's business. Maybe coz it came out when I was still in high school and watching the movie when it came out made me appreciate that my high school experience was not as wanton and violent as the one depicted in the movie. After all, this was the late 90s, the time of the Columbine high school massacre.

I don't know what they are gonna do with the original characters when a whole new story is being written...I mean, it's kinda stretching credibility way too thin to put these poor (albeit, fictional) souls through more hell...still, I'm curious to see what Mr. Williamson will come up with. More than anything, I am thrilled that Neve Campbell is back. I was not a fan of Ms. Campbell when she was on Party of Five and The Craft. It was only after the original Scream trilogy finished that I became a huge fan of hers, when I saw her in Robert Altman's The Company, in 2003...but back to Scream. Let's hope Mr. Craven signs on to direct because it won't be the same without his expert touch! Boy, that's when you know you're getting old....when the period when you were in high school gets a nostalgic revival!

Tuesday, 22 September 2009

The Love Game

LoveGame is one of my favorite Lady GaGa songs but The Love Game is the title of a new short film that is now showing as part of an online showcase of new filmmaking talent, sponsored by US fashion retail giant, Bloomingdale's. I gotta be honest and tell you that I am a huge fan of the leading lady in this short film. Her name is Noelle Lynch and yes, she has been featured in previous posts on this blog! Watch the movie coz it'll only take a few minutes and then, cast your vote for The Love Game!

Monday, 21 September 2009

The Emmys 2009

So, the 61st Emmy Awards took place on Sunday night...from the reviews that I've read and the clips that I've seen on youtube, it was a pretty good show, due in no small part to the considerable charm and talents of host and best supporting actor in a comedy series nominee (he parlayed his loss to Jon Cryer of Two and a Half Men into great material for the show), Neil Patrick Harris, who also did a great job of hosting the Tony Awards back in June...perhaps, the Oscars are next? Of course, it's all about the awards, the nominees and more importantly, the winners. I'm particularly pleased about 30 Rock winning the best comedy series award for the third consecutive year (joining a handful of shows that have achieved this rare feat). Normally, I hate repeat winners (and this year was full of them, with Mad Men, Glenn Close and Bryan Cranston all winning in the same categories that they won for the previous year) but 30 Rock is one of my favorite shows of all time so I can only hope that one day, it will match Frasier's (another one of my all time favorites) record of five consecutive wins as best comedy series at the Emmys.

It was a good night for Tony-winning Broadway stars, with both Kristin Chenoweth and Cherry Jones taking home Emmys for their supporting roles on Pushing Daisies and 24, respectively. I particularly enjoyed Kristin Chenoweth's category, where each of the nominees donned funny glasses when their names were announced...except for the diva that is Vanessa Williams...I wonder if that was because she genuinely did not want to participate or if her non-participation was her 'bit'.

The sublime Alec Baldwin won his second consecutive Emmy for his work on 30 Rock.

Jessica Lange beat out her costar, Drew Barrymore, to the best actress in a movie made for television or mini-series award for her role as Big Edie in HBO's Grey Gardens and she seemed more thrilled to win this Emmy than when she won her best actress Oscar for Blue Sky fourteen years ago. It was quite poignant when she said that 'this part was a gift and they don't come around that often for me anymore'. I was also really happy to see the elegant Shohreh Aghdashloo win the best supporting actress in a movie made for television or mini-series for her role in House of Saddam. I have been a fan of the Iranian-born actress ever since she was nominated for the best supporting actress Oscar for her mesmerizing work in House of Sand and Fog. What a joy and a great inspiration to me to see someone like Shohreh, who comes from a culture so marginally represented in the western media and who came to Hollywood late in life, win one of America's highest-profile honors in mainstream entertainment.

The Waterina

Oh, my is disgraceful of me that the last post on here was from August! As a newbie blogger, I know that I have to keep posting on a regular basis or else the momentum of the blog will just lag and eventually, it will a poor abandoned dog that's been left to fend for itself in a cruel, cruel world. I was in Thailand and I did not have the resources to update this blog but now, I'm back!!!

I have been in Singapore for eight days now and I just want to share a few pictures of my current home. I'm living in a part of town that is known as the red light district of Singapore but what people want to do with themselves is their business and I couldn't care less. The condo is known as 'The Waterina' and it is in Geylang. In addition to the centre piece swimming pool, there are other facilities, including an ass-scaldingly hot jacuzzi and a basic but functional gym, where I can do my 5km run without being hindered by the heat and the humidity that comes with living so close to the equator!

This is the bedroom...those of you who know me well might recognize my teddybear on the right and for those of you who don't me that well, yes, I am a 29 year old man who still owns a teddybear!

The apartment itself is on the top floor and it's a fairly spacious pad as far as one-bedroom apartments go but the thing that makes it truly special is the walk-in wardrobe in the bedroom, what the locals call a 'bunker'...I feel so glamma-US whenever I step in there to decide which pair of Calvin Kleins or 2(x)ists to a classy trophy wife!

The final shot is the view from the apartment...the swimming pool is lit up at night...yes, in the immortal words of Ja Rule, I'm livin' it up!

Saturday, 29 August 2009

I Want to Know What Love Is

Yes, I surely do...but enough about me and my personal life, especially when there's a new Mariah Carey single to review - Mimi's gone and covered Foreigner's 1984 number 1 power ballad, 'I Want to Know What Love Is'.  Mariah's reps and label are trying to pass this second single from her upcoming album, 'Memoirs of an Imperfect Angel' as the album's first 'official' single because they were disappointed with the chart performance of the first single, 'Obsessed'. Excuse me while I give these jokers a roll of the eyes and exclaim 'Bitch...puh-leaze!'.  Don't even pretend that 'Obsessed' was NOT the first single when Mariah made a video for it and everything (albeit, a pretty weak video with one stagnant gimmick...although, Mariah made for a rather convincing F-2-M transexual).  So, 'Obsessed' peaked at number 11 on Billboard's Hot didn't cracked the top 10 and everyone at Island go into panic mode!  Well, 'Obsessed' just returned to the number 11 position this week so it could very well crack the top 10, yet!

Anyway, the new single is a nice update of a classic rock ballad, with plenty of high-pitch squealing that only hardcore Mariah fans will enjoy (like me!).  It's a reverent cover...perhaps, a bit too reverent. Considering that Chris 'Tricky' Stewart is one of the co-producers of this track, I would have expected something more radical and more contemporary.  After all, Tricky was one of the co-producers on 'Touch My Body', undoubtedly one of Mariah's most sonically innovative songs...EVAH!

I wonder if this will be a hit for Mariah.  She has had her fair share of successful cover singles, including Badfinger's 'Without You' (her rendition being so iconic that even 2008 Music Idol Bulgaria auditionee, Valentina Hasan, attributed her cover of 'Ken Lee' to Mariah), The Jackson 5's 'I'll Be There' and Lionel Richie and Diana Ross' duet, 'Endless Love' (to those of you who were wondering, no, I didn't forget about her cover of Phil Collins' 'Against All Odds (Take a Look at Me Now)'...the omission was intentional) but the thing that all of these singles have in common is that it was a different pop chart landscape when they all came out, which was the 90s, when Mariah could do no wrong.  The only way this version will blow up the charts is if mainstream radio picks it up but I fear that it may just end up being relegated to adult contemporary and easy listening stations, instead.  Oh well, there's always the third (or is that 'second'?) single!  

One last thing, Mariah, I'll tell you what love is - love is a fan who has been devoted to your music since he was a 10-year old boy and in all 19 years since he first saw you in the video for 'Vision of Love', bought every single album...even the soundtrack to 'Glitter'!  That's true love.

For those of you who wanna hear Mariah's song, here it is.

For those who don't, enjoy the magnificently stout Valentina Hasan's 'Ken Lee'.

Thursday, 27 August 2009

Fashion's Night Out

How come when I was in NY, I didn't hear about this event? 

On Sept. 10th, shops in NYC (all five boroughs!) will open until 11pm and this is being done to benefit the Sept. 11th memorial fund so you can shop without a guilty conscience!  Hey, times are tough and even an industry that's predicated on fantasies and unrealistic ideals have to face reality that we are in a recession...people are gonna need more persuading to part with their hard-earned cash! 

Below is the awesome PSA promoting this special event featuring many of the world's most respected designers (including, Diane von Fürstenberg, Carolina Herrera, Vera Wang, Donna Karan, Oscar de la Renta, Issac Mizrahi and....Diddy?), the hottest young design talents (such as cutie-pie Alexander Wang, Zac Posen and the boys behind Proenza Schouler...although poor Jack McCollough looks so uncomfortable...maybe he's afraid Jack Bauer was going to jump out from behind the camera and headbutt him again....I just remembered that I once met Jack Mack through a friend from acting school when we crossed paths with him one night in Meatpacking District, as he was walking his dog, over three years ago...yes, I remember everything...elephants never forget), boring-assed models (couldn't they get an old-school supermodel like Naomi or Kate or Christy...better yet, who has RuPaul on speedial?), contemporary fashion icons (the fabulous Sarah Jessica Parker of those annoying Olsen girls) and even the Queen of fashion herself, Anna Wintour, makes an appearance, eschewing Prada for a 'Fashion's Night Out' tee!   

Wednesday, 26 August 2009

Let's not pretend that we're something we're not

This episode of Sex and the City is resonating with me right now...unfortunately.

RIP, Teddy Kennedy (1932-2009)

I woke up this morning to the news of Senator Edward Kennedy's passing of brain cancer late Tuesday night at his home in Hyannis Port, Massachusetts.  This is incredibly sad news.  One of the great champions of American liberalism has passed away.  Having served in the Senate since 1962, Ted Kennedy will be remembered as one of America's greatest legislators (and the third longest-serving senator of all time).  As the youngest sibling of President John F. Kennedy and Senator Robert F. Kennedy (both of whom were assassinated, the former during his presidency in 1963 and the latter during his campaign for the Democratic Party nomination in 1968), Edward Kennedy's life in public service seemed inevitable.  

Although he didn't realize his White House ambitions like his brother, Jack (his only presidential bid would be in the 1980 election, when he failed to secure his party's nomination, losing to the incumbent, President Jimmy Carter), for whatever reason (historians cite the 'Chappaquiddick incident' of 1969 as the dark cloud which loomed over his presidential bid), Edward Kennedy achieved a great deal as a senator and was instrumental in many of the key pieces of legislation that would change the course of American history, including the monumental Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Federal Election Campaign Act Amendments of 1974 (campaign finance reform), the Comprehensive Anti-Apartheid Act of 1986, the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, the Ryan White AIDS Care Act in 1990 (which assisted people with HIV and AIDS who lacked health insurance) and the No Child Left Behind Act in 2002 (working closely with President George W. Bush, which was exemplary of the late Senator's brilliant gift of making allies across partisan lines to achieve significant social change...Ted Kennedy's cooperation with President Bush would end soon after due to his opposition to the Iraq War from the very beginning, with Kennedy later calling his 2002 vote against the War 'the best vote' he ever cast in the Senate).  

He is often accredited with being the pioneer of health care reform and his long work to bring universal health care to America is now being given the push that it deserves by President Barack Obama, who was given Ted Kennedy's endorsement early in the primary season of 2008.  

Senator Edward Kennedy's passing comes fifteen months after he was diagnosed with malignant glioma.  His sister, Eunice Kennedy Shriver, passed away just a little over two weeks before the Senator's own passing.  Having spent the early part of his career in public office living up to the legacy of his brothers, Senator Edward Kennedy spent the rest of his career in the Senate working to achieve many of the advantages that many Americans take for granted today and thus, left behind his own magnificent legacy.

Watch a short clip of Senator Edward Kennedy's iconic speech at the 1980 Democratic Party Convention.

Monday, 24 August 2009

Like She Never Left

On August 28th, Whitney Houston's latest album, 'I Look to You', will be released (in Germany and Italy; in other markets, it will be released subsequently).  It's her first album in almost seven years.  It's been so long that I, along with countless other fans around the world, feared that the woman who sang some of the most glorious pop and r&b songs of the 1980s and 90s might have had the life force knocked out of her after a long and publicly tumultuous marriage to r&b bad boy, Bobby Brown.  No doubt, it's tempting to call 'I Look to You' Ms. Houston's comeback album, except that you would stand to be corrected by the diva herself:

'Don't call it a comeback, I been here for years
Through all the drama and the pain, and all the tears'.

It's also tempting to speculate about the significance of the placement of the song from which the above line was taken, 'Salute', coming in as the closing number of the most anticipated album of the year.  A kiss-off song to a man who did her wrong, it is reminiscent of one of her past hits, 'I Learned from the Best'.  However, all the other songs on the album revolve around the central theme of love; different types of love, appreciating the love of someone else ('Worth It', 'I Got You', the title track) and more importantly, loving oneself ('I Didn't Know My Own Strength') and loving life ('Nothin' But Love').

Is there room in the world of popular music for a singer who rose to prominence almost a quarter of a century ago (her first number 1 single, 'Saving All My Love for You', came out in 1985)?  Not only is there room for Whitney but pop music fans need her more than ever. Whitney Houston will resume her place in the pop hierarchy by remaining true to herself and to her extraordinary talent, not by succumbing to current trends and sounds.  She evades the need to recruit the rapper du jour for cameos (her only vocal collaboration is with Akon in the soulful mid-tempo number, 'Like I Never Left') or to use Auto-Tune to the point where a human voice loses its humanity. No, with a voice as magnificent as Whitney Houston's, there's no need for such gimmicks.  

That is not to say that Ms. Houston doesn't let loose...far from it. While the ballads present on the album are elegant and most definitely 'classic Whitney Houston', it's in the faster-paced tracks where we are reminded of the girlish joie de vivre that she used to charm the world twenty-five years ago.  'Million Dollar Bill', produced by Swizz Beatz and Alicia Keys, contemporary hitmakers who probably owe a great debt to Houston's trailblazing success, is a slice of summer lovin' that lifts your spirits everytime you hear Houston's 'Oh oh, oh oh oh's.  'For the Lovers' is a funky club jam that sets the mood for a Friday night party.  Even her surprising cover of Leon Russell's classic ballad, 'A Song for You' gets reworked into an entrancing house number.    

The world of pop music is a fickle place. Today's divas are tomorrow's has-beens. However, what the public loves to see more than a diva falling off her pedestal is a fallen diva who rises up again and with 'I Look to You', Whitney Houston, the singing superstar, rises to the occasion and straight to the top, where she belongs.

'I Look to You' is released in the US on August 31st and in the UK on October 19th.

Sunday, 23 August 2009

Whole Foods in a whole lot of mess

Whole Foods Market Inc. has found itself embroiled in the most controversial and topical debate in America, the debate over President Barack Obama's health care reforms, thanks to an op-ed piece written by the upscale grocery retailer's co-founder and CEO, John Mackey, published in the Wall Street Journal on August 11th, 2009. Mr. Mackey (a proponent of the free market...well, I can only assume that he is one if he's choosing to begin his article with a quotation by Margaret Thatcher) lays out, in his concise essay, the arguments against and some alternatives to the president's reform proposals.

While he doesn't actually come out and say it, the gist of what is spelt out by Mr. Mackey is that the American people do not have an 'intrinsic right to health care'. It's a polarizing topic so to take one side or the other in this debate is a no-win situation...either way, you'll be sure to piss people off. Of course, it's critical for every American to be engaged in this process because health care reforms affect every single one of them. However, now that Whole Foods has gone and mixed commerce with politics, there have been protests against the chain outside several branches, including in Washington DC and New York. What's noteworthy about these protests is that they're being staged by former loyal customers of the company; consumers who have long endured the higher prices at Whole Foods because they viewed the company's corporate values to be aligned with their own (e.g. liberals who assuaged their environmental guilt by purchasing biodegradable detergents and organically-grown produce...myself included, back when I used to lived in NY, the above Whole Foods store on W24th and 7th was my local haunt!). It is a place where high-minded liberals (i.e. people who are for universal health care and the proposed reforms) go to shop and thus, it is not surprising that a great segment of this demographic might feel betrayed by John Mackey's stance.

Considering that Wholes Foods has long promoted and distinguished itself as a grocery chain with a social conscience, I respect Mr. Mackey for taking a position so publicly. He co-founded Wholes Foods on his principles and convictions and look at how much they have grown since the first store opened in 1980. With 276 locations and approximately $7.9 billion USD in revenue in 2008, John Mackey is putting his money where his mouth is...and even his critics can't argue with some of his logic, as illustrated in the essay:

'Unfortunately many of our health-care problems are self-inflicted: two-thirds of Americans are now overweight and one-third are obese. Most of the diseases that kill us and account for about 70% of all health-care spending—heart disease, cancer, stroke, diabetes and obesity—are mostly preventable through proper diet, exercise, not smoking, minimal alcohol consumption and other healthy lifestyle choices'.

As a dear friend of mine living in NY (a person without any health insurance, mind you) tells me, why should they have to pay for the careless choices of other people when they themselves have consciously made lifestyle choices to minimize the need for health care. Of course, eating well and exercising and not smoking or drinking all contribute to your wellbeing but these lifestyle choices cannot account for those who require medical attention, whether it's short-term or long-term, due to accidents, assault or impairing conditions due to genetics. Without more comprehensive universal health care, individuals or households that, for whatever reason, do not have health insurance will be left behind in a two-tier system. What it boils down to is how comfortable a society is with the concept of 'survival of the fittest', or, in this case, 'survival of the richest'.

Which brings us back to Mr. Mackey. Will Whole Foods survive through this controversy? Without a doubt. The question is will its core of socially-conscious and principled customers be able to feel as good about themselves when they fork over $9 for buffalo mozzarella when they know that the man at the top of this 'food chain' doesn't want his tax dollars to go towards providing health care for those who need it the most?

Read John Mackey's WSJ op-ed piece for yourselves.

The X Factor Season 6 begins

Full disclosure - I love American Idol and The X Factor...I resisted reality tv for the longest time and it was really only last year that I really got into American Idol and The X Factor. Why did I resist it for so long? I don't know...probably some churlishly arrogant part of me thought that I was above the mass appeal of these shows, that I was more discerning than that, which, if I really think about it, was absurd because I was watching Julia Roberts movies and listening to Madonna since I was 10 years old!

Since The X Factor airs in the UK on a Saturday evening, I rarely ever see it on its first airing and I have to play catch-up later on YouTube. I already read about the highlights from this first audition episode of the new season so I knew about who did a good job and who...well, didn't. I think that many of us like to indulge that childish side of us that take pleasure in the humiliation of others...hell, I'm as guilty as anyone else...however, at the very least, you gotta respect them for having the gall to go through with their fantasy, as foolhardy as it may seem to some, to be brave enough to share your aspiration with the world.

What excites me more are the auditions that take our collective breath away...the ones that confound us by exceeding our expectations and then, putting us in the rather uncomfortable position of having to question ourselves over how we came to form such negative notions about perfect strangers in the first place...honestly, did we learn nothing from the marvellous Susan Boyle? By the way, this year, the producers of The X Factor decided to adopt a live audience structure for the first audition process, à la Britain's Got Talent (not surprising since Simon Cowell is responsible for both shows), and while I think that the change is for the better, I couldn't help but think that by doing so, the show just made Britain's Got Talent that much more redundant.

Joseph McElderry is a cute 18-year old boy who sang 'Dance with My Father' by Luther's kinda made me cringe, though, when certain members of the judging panel commented on how 'the girls' are gonna love if gay men don't even exist...even more ironic hearing it from the mouth of dubious closet case, Louis Walsh. I couldn't find a full clip of his audition to embed on here so you'll just have to go on YouTube and search for this young man yourselves.

A 19-year-old single mother from Dagenham, Stacey Solomon made a similarly smart and mature song choice, singing Louis Armstrong's 'What a Wonderful World'.

Saturday, 22 August 2009

Ben and Freddie should make a movie together

I just got home from seeing the latest Harry Potter movie (I know, I know...five weeks after it opened...oh, the shame, the shame!) and I gotta say that it was pretty much what I expected. Not a whole lot happened, in terms of action sequences and all that. However, that's to be expected since this movie is based on the sixth and penultimate book in the series and thus, it has the burden of being the one where there's a lot of setting up for the future movies (since the final book, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, is being turned into two movies). I found the movie to be as engaging as some previous installments of the franchise. The development of the two central romances in the series was endearing and the theme of tackling great responsibilities as adulthood beckons (for both Harry and Draco) was compelling and resonant. Above all else, I shall remember this installment of the Harry Potter movies for introducing me to the absolutely delicious new 'talent', Freddie Stroma, who portrayed...oh, who the hell cares about his character's name? If you must know, he played Cormac McLaggen.

Oh, meanwhile, one of the trailers that I saw tonight was some new adaptation of Oscar Wilde's The Picture of Dorian Gray, starring Colin Firth and Ben Barnes. The movie looks dreadful (but who knows, right?) but it seems that it, at least, has one trump card in the form of young Mr. Barnes, who's portraying the eponymous character. I just had a thought...let me pitch this just about a new period piece, let's say, Victorian era, Ben can play an aristocratic playboy who falls for the handsome new valet, played by'll be just like Maurice...only hotter...a gay Wings of the Dove, if you will...if anyone out there steals my idea, I will come after you!!!

Friday, 21 August 2009

New in Provincetown

As I take a break from criticizing the career choices of former Oscar-winners (it's called tough love, Renée, but seriously, I can't wait for BJ3...and did you get the homage to your last movie in my post title?), I am going to share with you all some photos from my holiday...not that I think you should care about what I did on my vacation but hey, this is my blog and I can talk about whatever I want! So, above is a shot of me on the Pier, the gayest of gay places to hang out along the Hudson River Park on Manhattan's west side, with my friend, the beautiful model/actress, Noelle (a.k.a. Nellie) Lynch.

While it's always a joy to return to NY (it'll always feel like going home), the main event of this trip was a gay wedding in Provincetown, Massachusetts.

It was my first time in Provincetown and it was incredible for me to experience a part of America that was so open to gay culture while, at the same time, managed to have a historical and contemporary identity beyond its sexual inclusivity. This is the site where the first pilgrims from Europe arrived in America...and we know how well that turned out for the Native Americans but I disgress...and even today, there's a lovely sense of classic Americana that's almost anachronistic in Obama's USA. There were many highlights to my short trip to Provincetown, including the incredible 2lbs lobster that I had for lunch the day before the wedding.

As an out and proud gay man, the issue of same-sex marriage equality is very important to me. Having carefully followed the progress that had been made in America since the hateful passing of Proposition 8 in California last November, it was with great joy and poignancy that I got to witness another gay couple being afforded the same dignity and generosity of spirit that would be given to a straight couple celebrating their love and commitment to each other.

Every couple's love is special and a gift but unfortunately, not every gay couple are as lucky as my friends are - to be able to proclaim their love to the world and make their union a legal entity. With six states affording the same-sex couple the right to marriage, the rest of America better wake up soon and realize how important love is to the progress of society, whether it's between straight or gay couple.

And so, it begins...

I have been flirting with the idea of blogging for so long now that I can't even tell you precisely when the seed of this idea was planted in my distracted mind. Thanks to my dear friends, G-Dawg and Nellie, I am finally getting my act together. I needed that push like a child who's learning how to ride a bicycle. My friends have been telling me that I should blog about personal anecdotes and my take on movies, pop culture phenomena, global human interest stories, etc. While I'm inclined to believe that another voice in the blogosphere is akin to a tear drop in the ocean, I guess the whole point for me to doing this is to have a forum for organizing my thoughts on an array of subjects, to make personal discoveries about myself and to reflect on the direction of my life and where it's heading.

It's Friday afternoon and it has been a day since I arrived back in London from New York City so the most exciting thing to happen since my arrival was going to the cinema to see Quentin Tarantino's 'Inglorious Basterds'. It was a thrill to watch and behold from start to finish. The two and a half hours running time flew by. I am not one of those people who have been obsessed with Mr. Tarantion's film since 'Reservoir Dogs' and 'Pulp Fiction' but I gotta tell you that I haven't responded to a movie like I did to this one in a very long time. It was a fantastically irreverent, poetically visceral piece of historical revisionism and I say, why the fuck not?

All the actors were amazing but I gotta give props to the following: Brad Pitt (a good sport considering that his role was more supporting than his billing would suggest), Diane Kruger (so much better here than in her previous movie costarring Brad Pitt, 'Troy'), Mélanie Laurent (hope we'll be seeing more of her very soon), Michael Fassbender (the handsome Irish/German actor is a Hollywood leading man on the rise) and the phenomenally gifted, Christoph Waltz (let's hope his brilliantly chilling and charismatic performance is remembered by the Academy come Oscar season, although I'm not sure if it'll be in supporting or lead...I'm inclined to say lead actor since Waltz has already won the best actor award from one major awards body - the jury of this year's Cannes film festival, where 'Basterds' had its world premiere).

On a separate note, before the movie began, we were treated to some shockingly awful previews, the one that left the biggest impression being 'Case 39', a horror film starring Renée Zellweger. I remember seeing stills from this movie on IMDB since 2007 so I have a feeling this one has been on the shelf for a few years now...not a good sign. Combined this with the failure of her early 2009 release, 'New in Town', and the upcoming 'My One and Only', I gotta take to task those responsible for her career: her agents, her manager (if she has one) and, of course, Miss Zellweger herself. Having been a fan since she won Jerry Maguire's heart and ours in 1996, I know that this lovely actress deserves better material than what she's been getting offered and accepting. C'mon, Hollywood...DO BETTER!