Friday Video – Scissor Sisters, “Invisible Light”

Finally, the band makes a clip for our favorite song from their (awesome) 2010 album Night Work. And it’s weird, even by Scissor Sisters standards. We’re not sure what it’s about, really, but there’s some strange, psycho-sexual mind trip going on, one littered with religious symbolism and quite possibly traveling through time. Just try not to drool when you see the girl in the riding breeches. Hot damn.


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Five 2011 Academy Award Upsets We’d Like to See

It should be stated for the record that while the editorial ‘we’ was used for the title of this column, the truth is that these are my picks and solely my picks. Let the first person speak begin.

The Academy Awards have become a bit of a bore in the last few years. There have been next to no surprises in the major categories, except for perhaps Marion Cotillard winning Best Actress in 2008 for “La Vie en Rose” or Alan Arkin winning Best Supporting actor in 2007 for “Little Miss Sunshine.” For the most part, it’s decided pretty early who’s going to win, which totally sucks, if you ask me. Of course, there are categories where there is a performance that clearly stands out above the others, but in many instances, people win their Oscars not because they’ve delivered something otherworldly, but because it’s their time, and they’re due, or other such nonsense. These aren’t lifetime achievement awards, and this isn’t a welfare system. If you give the award to the worthy party the first time around, there will be no need to “pay them back” later (cough, Al Pacino and Denzel Washington).

Take Tilda Swinton, for example. Do you know why she won the Academy Award for Supporting Actress? It’s because the voters knew that “Michael Clayton” was going to be shut out in every other category, so they threw Swinton a bone just so the movie walked away with at least one award. What the hell kind of logic is that? Did she really give the best performance or not? She was perfectly fine in the movie, but there was nothing extraordinary about it, certainly not compared to her hilariously stone-hearted harpy in “Burn After Reading.” Needless to say, the Academy’s predictability of late has led me to rebel, which is why on Sunday, I’d love nothing more than to hear the following five names be read instead of what we will probably hear.

Best Original Screenplay: Christopher Nolan, “Inception

Current Frontrunner: David Seidler, “The King’s Speech”

“The King’s Speech” is a wonderful little film. It was #7 on my list of top movies of 2010. But that story has been done many, many times before, while “Inception” was so layered that it took 10 years for Christopher Nolan to finish it. Small stories are good stories, but when someone dares to, pardon the pun, dream like Nolan did here – and better yet, pull it off, which he does in spades – that should be rewarded. It would also serve as a warning shot across the bows of every action movie director that story matters, damn it, and to get rid of the jive-talking robots.

Best Supporting Actor: Geoffrey Rush, “The King’s Speech

Current Frontrunner: Christian Bale, “The Fighter

We called it three years ago: Christian Bale will win an Oscar before it’s said and done, and more likely sooner than later. Now it’s about to happen, and strangely, I wish it weren’t.

First off, credit where credit is due. Bale positively disappeared into the role of Dicky Eklund, shedding a bunch of weight to resemble the body type of a crack addict and sounding like an authentic born-and-raised Southie. It was flashy without being gimmicky, and that is the key to Oscar glory. There is just one teensy problem; his character doesn’t support the story – he’s a distraction to it, and every time the movie becomes Dicky-centric, it loses momentum. Which brings us to Rush, the heart and soul of “The King’s Speech” and without whom, as Roger Ebert astutely observed, “the movie is unthinkable.” “The Fighter” could survive without Dicky; “The King’s Speech” is dead in the water without Lionel.

Best Supporting Actress: Melissa Leo, “The Fighter”

Current Frontrunner: Hailee Steinfeld, “True Grit

Now, here is the supporting performance that drives “The Fighter.” Like Bale, Melissa Leo also disappears into the character of Alice Ward, but unlike Bale, there isn’t that sense of watching someone act. Instead, it was more like watching someone be, something Leo is remarkably good at. She also seems to have a fondness for getting ugly on screen, if this and “Conviction” are any indication.

Of course, the general consensus is that Leo and Amy Adams will split the “Fighter” vote, opening the door for Steinfeld to become the latest child to win an Oscar…but she’s not really in a supporting role, is she? Nope, the academy rigged the vote so she wouldn’t have to go up against Annette Bening and Natalie Portman. Don’t you think that, should Steinfeld win, it would feel a little hollow that they bent the rules for her? Just sayin’.

Best Actor: James Franco, “127 Hours

Current Frontrunner: Colin Firth, “The King’s Speech”
Colin Firth was humbled and regal. Jesse Eisenberg fired Aaron Sorkin’s one-liners like a sharpshooter. James Franco, meanwhile, carried his movie from start to finish. It was a one-man show, and better yet, thanks to the savvy editing, it didn’t feel like a one-man show. I think Franco’s biggest problem is that a lot of people refused to see the movie on principle once they realized they would have to watch someone (pretend to) cut his arm off, and I get that; I didn’t want to see it either, but was positively blown away by the movie, and Franco’s performance, once I did.

Firth has the buzz because he’s well liked and has carved out a nice, well regarded filmography for himself. But the race to an Oscar isn’t a marathon; it’s a sprint. And from here, Franco was running faster than everyone else.

Best Picture: “The Social Network

Current Frontrunner: “The King’s Speech”

In the interest of full disclosure, my #1 movie of 2010 was “Black Swan.” For the sake of the awards, though, I’m changing my tune.

What we’re looking at is something akin to when “Forrest Gump” beat “Pulp Fiction” and “The Shawshank Redemption” for Best Picture in 1995 (though if we’re honest, few of us knew how truly great “Shawshank” was until it was released on video a few months after the Oscars). The Academy has a chance to award a movie that will transcend time – there is a reason many people speak of “The Social Network” as a movie that will define a generation – but they won’t, and I’m not exactly sure why. Perhaps the elder members of the academy can relate to “The King’s Speech” better than they can to a movie about a group of kids haggling in court over Internet money, so they’re choosing what makes them comfortable. That makes sense, I suppose. But here’s the thing – odds are, someone is going to make a movie a lot like “The King’s Speech” in the next 12 to 18 months. You won’t see another movie like “The Social Network,” however, for a long, long time.

Oh, and I’d also love to see “Exit Through the Gift Shop” win Best Documentary. The movie rules.


“Birdemic: Shock and Terror”: why deliberately making a bad movie is cheating

When the press release for “Birdemic: Shock and Terror” rolled in, it had our attention. We see bad movies for a living, after all, and this flick was hailed as the “best worst movie of all time,” which puts it in some illustrious company. Then we watched it, and they weren’t kidding: it’s a terrible movie all right, filled with bad acting, bad dialogue, bad sound, bad editing, bad special effects, a cut & paste score, continuity errors, etc. You name it, it’s here.

There is just one problem with it: it’s bad on purpose. And if you ask us, that’s cheating.

Anyone can make a bad movie. Anyone can deliberately underwrite and overact something, and piece it together like they had hooks for hands. Praising “Birdemic” is like applauding the 1919 Chicago White Sox for finishing the World Series after they had already decided to throw the games for money. Forget that; give us a movie that someone assembled because they thought it was a great idea and had tremendous emotional depth, only to be horribly, horribly wrong. The best bad movies are that ones that are desperately trying to be good. Like, say, “Troll 2.”

Now, this movie is spectacularly bad, the true heavyweight champion of good bad movies. There’s even a documentary about it, “Best Worst Movie,” made by the film’s then-child star Michael Stephenson, and its best scene comes when the film’s director, Italian B-movie veteran Claudio Fragasso, attends a screening of the movie, and doesn’t understand why people are laughing at parts where they shouldn’t be laughing. He truly has no idea how bad his movie is. Isn’t that beautiful?

The same goes for “Death Bed: The Bed That Eats,” a 1977 film so bad that it went unreleased until 2003, and thanks to Patton Oswalt discussing the movie on his album Werewolves and Lollipops, the movie is now a cult classic. Still, George Barry was not trying to make a bad movie. To him, the idea of a demonic tree, who then turned into a breeze and then human form, possessing a bed and devouring anyone who dared sleep on it, seemed like a good idea. He even threw in commentary from an artist trapped in a painting on the wall, you know, to class it up. It’s ridiculous, but it thinks it’s terrifying. Definitely the hallmarks of a good bad movie.

Then there is “The Human Centipede,” which could go either way. Director Tom Six claims the idea was inspired by a joke (that child molestors should have their mouths stitched to the ass of a fat truck driver), but doesn’t appear to be kidding about the movie’s plot and is even convinced that such a procedure could actually be done. Everyone we know who’s seen it, though, says the movie isn’t bad so much as it’s boring. It’s bad too, but mostly boring, which makes it ineligible for Best Bad Movie, since it’s lacking in the unintentional humor department.

“Black Sheep,” on the other hand, is funny, and bad, but it’s also in on the joke, which disquallifies it from Best Bad Movie status as well. The truly good bad movie does not know its weaknesses, and lacks self-awareness.

Which brings us back to “Birdemic” – the damn thing is just lazy. Had they tried to make something good and then filled with crap special effects, that would have been a movie worth watching. But writing 40 seconds of score, and clumsily looping it over a five-minute title sequence? That joke was old after the second spin. “Birdemic” does not qualify for the Best Bad Movie discussion – it’s just bad.


True Sh*t: Ten Movies the 2011 Academy Award Nominees Don’t Want You to See

Everyone has taken that soul-sucking job in order to pay the bills. And while we proles may tease them for living the glamorous life, actors probably take that job more often than anyone, since they never know when the next job is going to come. (Case in point: Michael Madsen told us that he categorizes the movies he’s made as “good,” “bad,” and “unwatchable.”) Putting this theory to the test, we scoured the filmographies of this year’s nominees in the acting categories, looking for movie titles that screamed ‘bad idea.,’ and we were not disappointed with what we found. Jesse Eisenberg, for example, did a TV movie called “Lightning: Fire from the Sky,” which will be the main feature at our next Bad Movie night. Here are ten other films that this year’s candidates would probably prefer remained unseen.

Colin Firth (Best Actor, “The King’s Speech”)

Movie: Femme Fatale (1991)
IMDb rating: 4.6
The plot: An English artist-turned park ranger falls for and marries a stranger, only for her to disappear days later. As he learns more about his wife, he gets deeper and deeper into the Los Angeles underworld looking for clues that will lead him to her.
Firth’s character: Joe Prince, the aforementioned artist/ranger.
How bad is it?: You may not see the ending coming, but that is about the only thing this movie has going for it. Armed with one of the most awkward love scenes we’ve seen in ages, this movie does not gel on any level, using mental illness as a means of providing psychological depth, not to mention Acting!, with that last word ideally spoken like Jon Lovitz. Firth is actually passable here, given the material, and Danny Trejo pops up as a tattoo artist. But you can bet that when someone assembles a clip show of Firth’s finest moments, this movie will not make the cut.

Jeremy Renner (Best Supporting Actor, “The Town”)

Movie: National Lampoon’s Senior Trip (1995)
IMDb rating: 4.9
The plot: A group of delinquent kids takes a bus trip to Washington D.C. to tell the President first-hand what is wrong with the education system, something a couple of corrupt politicians intend to exploit.
Renner’s character: Mark “Dags” D’agostino, a slacker stoner. With pierced ears.
How bad is it?: Put it this way: the first actor listed in the credits is Matt “Max Headroom” Frewer, and the movie’s few laughs come from Tommy Chong as the drug-addled bus driver. On the “National Lampoon” movie scale, this one lands somewhere in between “Class Reunion” and “Van Wilder 2: The Rise of Taj.”

Read the rest after the jump...

Kelly Brook featured in new Lynx fragrance campaign

Men are such easy targets for advertising. Show us a woman in lingerie, photographed in compromising positions, holding a product that’s a third the size of her cans and we’re sunk. Mention the words ‘video game’ in the advertisement and we’re doubly sunk. Thrown in an angel fantasy and, well, let’s hope we can remember to lock the door before cracking the lid to the spank bank.

The new Lynx Excite fragrance campaign has all of the above, featuring the gorgeous Kelly Brook as the aforementioned Fallen Angel. As part of the Excite promotion, Lynx put together an Xbox/Facebook game that asks players to use the Lynx Effect to tempt Kelly down from heaven. It is absurd, and yet the usage statistics will doubtlessly be through the roof. We’ll do a lot for a pretty…face. Yes, that’s it…pretty face.

Feel free to browse through the gallery above, but don’t miss the video below for a behind the scenes look at the photo shoot that made such a hot gallery possible. As always, you can find more Kelly Brook at her Celebrity Babes page.