October 12, 2007

October 12, 2007

Opening Today - Elizabeth: The Golden Age
Cate Blanchett is one of my favorite actresses, and I firmly believe she is one of the best of her generation. She hesitated for several years to climb on board the sequel to her star making and Oscar nominated performance in Elizabeth, and based on the outcome of the sequel she should have stuck to her guns more firmly. I don't know about you, but I kind of feel "Elizabethed" out with the recent Helen Mirren HBO miniseries (and The Queen, even though itwas a different Elizabeth) and the Showtime series, The Tudors. Guess others are feeling the same way since The Other Boleyn Sister starring Natalie Portman and Scarlett Johansson was moved to early spring 2008.

It's not that Elizabeth: The Golden Age is bad, it's just not good. The problem is that it's over the top and takes itself way too seriously. Blanchett spends the whole movie bellowing over music that is so loud, it overwhelms everything. (The music is really annoying, I'm not understating it) The film might look spectacular, the sets are enormous and Blanchett's costumes are amazing, but it feels hollow.

The film takes place in Elizabeth's middle years when she has gained confidence as a woman and ruler. But, the realm is threatened by the mighty Spain which is still smarting about England's denunciation of Catholicism. Because all wars, then and now, seem to be based on religion, Spain is amassing a force to take over England and install Elizabeth's cousin, Mary (played by Samantha Morton) on the throne. Elizabeth lived in fear of assassination for many years, yet refused to execute Mary who was behind many of the attempts for almost two decades. The scene where Elizabeth is almost killed, and when Mary is executed are the strongest in the film.

Joining the cast this time around are Clive Owen as Sir Walter Raleigh, the commoner who Elizabeth loves but cannot love, and Abbie Cornish as her favorite lady in waiting Elizabeth “Bess” Throckmorton who she pushes towards Raleigh. Elizabeth becomes enraged when she finds out they are together, jails Raleigh and banishes Bess. Geoffrey Rush is a big disappointment as Walsingham, her adviser, he just has no energy about him at all.

If you love Blanchett you should see this film because even though the film fails her, she is still a special performer.

The International Documentary Association's nomination are out
Women nominees include:
Feature: A WALK TO BEAUTIFUL- Mary Olive Smith, director
Short: BODY & SOUL: DIANA & KATHY- Alice Elliott, director/producer; THE FIGHTING CHOLITAS- Mariam Jobrani, director/producer; FREEHELD- Cynthia Wade, director
Limited Series: ADDICTION- Kate Davis, Susan Froemke, Liz Garbus, Chris Hegedus, Ellen Goosenberg Kent, Barbara Kopple, Susan Raymond, Jessica Yu, directors (among others); COMING OUT STORIES- Karen Goodman, director/producer; THE HILL- Ivy Meeropol, director/producer

Amy Sherman-Palladino (creator of the Gilmore Girls and the upcoming the Return of Jezebel James) has signed on to adapt and direct The Late Bloomer's Revolution to star Sarah Jessica Parker.
Parker and Sherman-Palladino Team Up (Variety)

Lifetime and Starz are teaming up to produce original movies. Films include:
Queen Sized, starring Nikki Blonsky ("Hairspray") as an overweight teen who overcomes the vicious insults of her schoolmates, ending up as homecoming queen. (Variety)

Around the Web
Can Across the Universe become a hit? It will if teenage girls have anything to say about it. (I liked this film a lot)
Is This the Next Cult Sensation? (LA Times)

I didn't think Stardust was that bad, but it sank this pastsummer. It's opening in England and Michelle Pfeiffer was on hand. I'm still waiting for the Amy Heckerling directed drama with Pfeiffer I Could Never be Your Woman which is supposedly opening next month.
Michelle Pfeiffer on Turning 50 (The Guardian)

Tube Today
Friday TV used to suck but no more. Tonight is the Season Premiere of the quirky Men in Trees (10pm, ABC) and the Series Premiere: Women's Murder Club (9pm, ABC). Also, don't forget Friday Night Lights.
Classic Alert: Sissy Spacek in the Altman classic 3 Women at 5:30pm on FMC