Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Dreamgirls is a Nightmare

As you can guess by the title, I didn't enjoy Dreamgirls as much as I'd hoped. I thought it would be a film with some catchy songs and amazing performances interspersed throughout. However, it was a musical with pretty rubbish songs from the original 80's stage show. That last comment may have come as a bit of a shock to you; either that the songs are rubbish or that it is based on an 80's musical. Unfortunately, this ruined the film for me. I liked the story, and the actors were believable enough, especially Eddie Murphy's washed up, drug abused character which seems a bit too close to the truth nowadays! Beyonce is reasonably good, and believable as a singer as part of a girl group - oh yeah, that's right, she is!

I wish they would have concentrated on the story and had some better songs to sing which would have fitted within their rise to stardom, rather than songs about their emotions every 10 minutes (which in my opinion suits a theatrical environment, not a projection screen)! However, this would have left out the best song of the film which is undoubtedly I'm Telling You sung by ex-American Idol runner-up Jennifer Hudson (see - reality TV is good for something!). I have embedded her singing it below for your listening pleasure!

However, in researching for this blog, I managed to find a clip of the original song in it's stage surroundings sung by Jennifer Holliday.

As you can see, this woman can sing, and even though Hudson gives it a good go, Holliday wins my vote, as does the stage show over the film. Just because Chicago had success, doesn't mean every other stage show can. Phantom of the Opera's songs were also too dated for a movie-going audience, so unless a new musical, such as Spamalot, can be made into a film (!!!) then I wouldn't advise it!

Prince at the Superbowl

I'm so happy he made such an impression at the Superbowl Halftime show that his sales on Amazon have gone up by something like 600%! Crazy stuff but he deserves the recognition. I'm sick of people not appreciating his talent. Just in case you missed his performance, I've been so kind to put it right here for you! Aren't I great?!

Also wanted to share some cool pics I found on Housequake so thanks to them who posted them there for me to steal!

Friday, February 02, 2007

Desperate Housewives is back!

Now, you're wondering what the hell I'm talking about. They've been back for a few weeks now, but it's only just started getting interesting again - just like the first season was. I saw an interview with one of them saying that the women have been given a few more storylines together, rather than their separate problems, so that might have something to do with it. Well, the main reason for me taking the time to write this is due to the last episode which was shown on E4 this week. (It will be on Channel 4 next Wednesday.) It made me sit up and gasp! Definitely do not miss this episode, even if you got sick of the show during the rubbish second season - now is a good time to return to Wisteria Lane!

Friday, January 26, 2007

Step 1 - Cut a hole in a box...

I recently found the hilarious SNL sketch with Justin Timberlake performing Dick in a Box. I strongly suggest you watch this. It is the funniest thing I've seen in a while! Probably the funniest thing on SNL since it went very shit! Glad the You Tube version is uncensored too.

I was just told about a funny female spoof called My Box in a Box. You can also watch that below!

If you go to her blog you will discover that the girl appearing in the video is lip syncing, she seems to be quite crazy (thinking she was going out with Justin Timberlake!) and sold the box on ebay for a $1525! God knows who actually picked that up, but at least the money went to charity.

Getting back to the SNL with Justin Timberlake, I haven't seen the whole show, but I did manage to watch a few clips on You Tube before they were taken off! Damn the people at NBC. Wish I could see the episode in full...hint hint! From the looks of it, seems as though he could have a future performing comedy, that is if his looks fade and his albums get rubbish...what am I talking about, that will never happen! (Unfortunately, that's exactly what happened to Britney! Maybe she should host the next episode!)

Monday, January 22, 2007

The Pursuit of Happyness

I saw The Pursuit of Happyness this weekend and I was so moved by it I was compelled to write about it in my blog. I don't want to spoil it too much for you, as I would insist everyone see this film! The story is based on the real life events of Chris Gardner and his son at a very difficult time in his life. He is a salesman who has spent his life savings on a piece of medical equipment, which is basically unnecessary so very difficult to sell. He is demonstrated to be a good mathematician by being able to solve a rubiks cube (very contemporary for the 1981 setting!) and so when he aspires to become a stock broker, we as the audience just know he'll be great at it, but he just needs to be given the chance. He applies for an internship at a prestigious company, but there are complications that go along with it that I don't want to ruin for you.

As you can imagine, there are many highs and lows throughout this film, however I must warn you, they're mostly lows (have a tissue handy!). The story itself is amazing - I'm not sure how close to the truth it is (I read that his son was actually only 18 months old at the time rather than 5) but even so, overcoming obstacles and all the odds is a compelling story to make you feel more fortunate in your circumstances. I doubt anyone could see this film and think they have it worse off than Chris had in 1981.

The acting sees Will Smith's usual great standard, and his son is also a delight to watch. I saw Will's interview on Film 2007 with Jonathan Ross about the fact that Jaden really wanted the role; he and Jada didn't force him into it at all, or even believe that he would get the part until he was amongst the last few candidates. I think the casting director did the right thing. The fact that they are real-life father and son makes the story even more convincing and you can see the devotion he has for his son.

If you've seen it, please let me know your thoughts. If you would like to know more about Chris and what he did after the point the film finishes, visit his official website here.

Moral victory

I'm sure you have experienced getting some kind of fine, or at least seen the anger it induces when someone you know gets one! Well, I've had two kinds of fines in the last couple of months, and somehow I've managed to fight my corner enough to be able to get let off for both of them! The first was a fine for not having a ticket on a train journey, and yet I'd already paid for the ticket in advance. It was a stupid mistake on my part, but I didn't think it was fair that I was made to pay an extra £57 for a journey I'd already paid £22 for. I spoke to a woman who worked for the company after my journey who was incredibly rude to me, and explained in no uncertain terms that I wouldn't be getting my money back, but gave me a form to send in to their customer services department - just in case! I'm so glad I wrote that letter (which was full A4 sized!) as they then wrote to say they would be sending me a cheque to reimburse me for the full amount of £57!

My second fine was a parking ticket in my local high street. I even checked that I wasn't on a double yellow line before I went into the bank, but technically I was, even though the lines looked as though they were scrubbed out. I was in the bank for around 20 minutes, closing my account which had £44 in it, and the parking ticket was £40! I was so furious that I'd even checked that I wasn't breaking the rules, and I got a ticket anyway! I went back to the scene of the crime later that afternoon to take photos of the non-existent lines (as you can see here - I was parked to the left of those 'lines') and again wrote a letter to the council including those photos to illustrate my point. I got a letter through a couple of days ago to say in that instance, they'll let me off!

So what I'm trying to tell you good people is if you find yourself having to pay a fine, but you believe you have a good enough excuse, definitely write a letter to contest it*. You never know, you might be able to get out of it! I've learned my lesson now, and will be more careful in future, but at least I know I have a way with words if I get caught out again!

(* - or you could try what Jack Bauer did on 24 and say the reason you don't have a train ticket is because you're trying to stop a suicide bomber!)

24 is back!

So Jack is back for season 6! How many bad days can this guy have? (I hope a few more until they run out of good ideas!) So in honour of such an amazing guy, I found a short montage of cool clips from season 5 on You Tube. Check it out!

Thursday, January 18, 2007

What have the Friends been up to?

Three years on from the end of one of the best sitcoms ever produced, the stars of Friends must be in competition with each other after having an equal sharing of wages on the show. Taking inspiration from a recent documentary about the Pythons after they went their separate ways, I'm going to list how each of these Friends are doing, in terms of their careers and their public persona's.

Jennifer Aniston
Career: Her film roles were really taking off at the beginning of the nineties, but since the end of Friends she doesn't seem to be getting particularly good roles. Films such as Derailed, Rumor Has It and Friends with Money didn't even interest me, although I did fancy seeing The Break Up, I never got around to it! No TV roles on the horizon, except for perhaps a cameo in Dirt (see Courteney Cox).

Life: So we all know about her split with Brad and the embarrassment she must have felt when he ran off with Angelina. Also her very public romance and split with Vince Vaughn. However, now she is rumoured to be thinking about adopting to 'settle down to a stable family life' - except without a man in the picture as she's fed up of dating at the moment.

Courteney Cox Arquette
Career: The Scream trilogy is her best film effort to date, but now she's back on TV starring in her own show - Dirt. Just seen rumours that Jen will be making a guest appearance on the show - possibly as her career is starting to dwindle? It's a cool show, with two very different sides to it. I'm enjoying watching Courteney's character and I'm hoping she'll get her hands a bit more dirty herself! She also has a horror film coming out soon, The Tripper, which her and David star in together.

Life: She's still happily married to David Arquette (although I've read they went to therapy last year to keep their marriage going, so who knows how long they'll last now) and they have at least one child together; possibly could be working on a second. Generally she doesn't seem to be in the tabloids that much, perhaps apart from being too skinny, but which celebrities aren't in the papers for that lately!

Lisa Kudrow
Career: Within a year of Friends coming off the air, Lisa had part-written and executively produced her show, The Comeback. Unfortunately, it didn't do so well and got pulled after only one season, as is the case for a lot of sitcoms in the US. I thought it was quite funny, but also painful to watch as I love Lisa, and didn't know where she ended and Valerie Cherish began!

Lisa has always had her hand in film roles, and that hasn't changed since leaving Friends. She currently has 4 films, either in post or pre-production. She is probably the most versatile actor out of the Friends.

Life: Again, her personal life seems to be quite quiet. She was married in 1995 and has had one son. Nothing to damage her career!

Matt LeBlanc
Career: Unfortunately, Matt decided to cash in on the Friends franchise, and carry on his character of Joey. However, it wasn't as funny or successful and only lasted 2 seasons. Since then, it doesn't look as though he's got anything else on the cards.

Life: He got divorced last year, and also got into a bit of trouble with a stripper who tried to sue him for defamation after he claimed she came on to him. She's dropped the law suit now.

Matthew Perry
Career: His film career has slowed down since the end of Friends, and instead he's been working on TV shows, such as Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip. At the moment he is in production with a film called Numb, and has been announced on another project for next year.

Life: As we all know, he had a tough battle with drug and alcohol abuse during Friends as his weight fluctuated from series to series. However, he went to rehab and sorted it by 2002. He was back in the news in 2005, when he went to hospital after a bad reaction to 'prescription drugs'. Not many details were released, which makes me think it was all a bit dodgy, but he hasn't been in the news again since.

David Schwimmer
Career: It was obvious he had directing in mind after leaving Friends as he was given the chance to direct 10 episodes. He went on to direct 2 episodes of Joey, and has now directed his first feature film, a comedy called Run, Fat Boy, Run with Hank Azaria. He has also performed the voice of Melman in Madagascar (and for the sequel being released next year), and in Big Nothing with Simon Pegg. He also made his debut on the London stage with the lead role in Some Girls in 2005.

Life: He doesn't seem to get into too much trouble, but has been linked with a few beautiful women without settling down as yet.

So, to summarise, I think Matthew Perry and Courteney Cox are doing the best out of the six of them with their TV careers and sometimes film roles, although I think Lisa Kudrow is the most versatile actor out of the six of them. David Schwimmer's directing career is now taking off, depending on the reviews for Ran, Fat Boy, Run. Unfortunately, Jennifer Aniston and Matt LeBlanc seem to be going through a dry patch, possibly due to the bad press they've been getting lately, but I'm sure they'll be back with a vengeance soon.

Racism in Big Brother

I had to comment on this as it's getting so much media attention. The fact that The Carphone Warehouse has now pulled its sponsorship must be worrying Endemol, but the show is getting more ratings now since people are tuning it to decide for themselves; are Jade, Jo and Danielle racist? I don't think so. I think they're frustrated with her controlling ways, and come from completely different backgrounds. The fact that Jade herself is of mixed race and suffered from racist remarks as a child makes me think she can't be. She's just an outspoken person, who likes to make a scene - possibly thinking it will make good TV, rather than her digging her own grave! In relation to Jo and Danielle, as is usually the case with cliques, they're sticking with the strong, ring-leader of their group and wouldn't question Jades behaviour as Jades' wrath might be put onto them instead! Danielle is too young and naive to realise that she is coming across two-faced and the comments she's making seem to be more race related than Jade.

I can't believe Big Brother wouldn't step in and stop their arguments, as in past series they would usually call one of the party to the diary room to break it up if it looks too heated. I guess the reason they haven't is due to the fact that it's good for their ratings. Big Brother calling Danielle into the diary room last night to tell her that she'd said 'she should f*** off home' and asking her the reasons behind this comment was interesting. She couldn't remember doing it, so I think she's only trying to impress Jade and isn't necessarily racist but perhaps got caught up in the moment. Plus I think they're all a bit jealous about the fact that the girl is gorgeous! You have to give it to Shilpa for not walking out after all of this hatred directed at her.

As I've said throughout my posts about Big Brother, you can never tell who is going to win! My predictions for Danielle, Jo and Jade are obviously out of the window, and I'm now thinking Cleo, Shilpa (possibly) and Dirk to win. I don't even know who I want to win yet! Jade and Shilpa are up for eviction this week. I wonder who will go?

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

And the Golden Globe goes to...

Prince! For Song of the Heart - but he wasn't there to accept it! Apparently Justin Timberlake was going to present it to him, but Drew Barrymore and Hugh Grant said a special mention when he finally arrived and asked him to take a bow! You can see all the nominees and winners here.

The Justin Timberlake clip has now been loaded onto You Tube: