Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Cannes Film Festival Honors Marilyn Monroe

As seen on Vanity Fair:

The Cannes Film Festival has decided to pay homage to Marilyn Monroe this year by featuring the actress on its official poster. Celebrating the festival’s 65th anniversary, the poster features simply stunning a black-and-white photo of a youthful Monroe blowing out a single candle on a birthday cake.

Organisers of the prestigious film event, which begins this year on May 16th, explained the choice in a statement recently:

“Fifty years after her death, Marilyn is still a major figure in world cinema, an eternal icon, whose grace, mystery and power of seduction remain resolutely contemporary. The Festival poster captures Marilyn by surprise in an intimate moment where myth meets reality — a moving tribute to the anniversary of her passing, which coincides with the Festival anniversary. She enchants us with this promising gesture: a seductively blown kiss. The Festival is a temple of glamour and Marilyn is its perfect incarnation. Their coming together symbolizes the ideal of simplicity and elegance.”

The festival pay big attention to who goes on these posters, In 2010, Cannes featured Juliette Binoche and last year Faye Dunaway was the poster girl in a retro design. I think the Marilyn poster is just gorgeous and it's a wonderful way to pay homage to the talented actress who tragically died so young. I'm really looking forward to this years Cannes festival, they have a great and varied film selection and plenty of them will most likely be big hits for next years award season

And The Oscar Went To...

Award Season is finished, how on earth will us Cinefiles cope??! For those of you that may have missed out on all the Oscar antics, check out all my thoughts on the star studded evening (also up on the fabulous Pop Culture site that is

It’s the night that all of the Hollywood elite come out and dress to impress with hopes of taking Oscar, now at the grand old age of 84, home to proudly display on their mantel. Last night marked the show that added the cherry on top of award season, the 84th Annual Academy Awards.

For film buffs like myself, this ceremony is the highlight of the season as we sit up until the wee hours of the morning hoping that our favourites will take home the highly coveted gold statuette. A lot was riding on this years show, given last years disappointing Oscar Hosts, the boring Anne Hathaway and James Franco, so we were delighted to see the legend that is Billy Crystal was back at the helm.

Billy did what he does best and brought back a much needed old school glamour feel to the show, he was endearing, funny and ran a smooth show with easy charm. We love Billy; he might have played it a little safe but it really worked.

Aside from the winners, all eyes were on the ladies as they wore impossibly beautiful gowns and looked so perfect that it just wasn’t fair. The Red Carpet coverage was fairly sparse this year, the coverage was stopped just as some big stars had yet to strut their stuff (and they didn’t get Gary Oldman, booooo!) but we did get to see Sasha Baren Cohen throw a heap of white powder over an unsuspecting Ryan Seacrest, brilliant stuff altogether.

Gwyneth Paltrow, J.Lo (who mentioned Ireland in her presenting bit, woo!) and Milla Jovovich all looked stunning, (I would like come back as a combination of all three of them in the next life please) whereas I didn’t care for Sandra Bullock’s or Angelina’s outfit choices – eat some food woman!

On to the awards themselves: Silence roared as loud as it possibly could as it took away five gold statues including Best Picture. It became the first silent film in 83 years to win Best Picture at the Oscars. The Artist also struck gold for director, actor, costume design and original score, a numerical feat that was matched by Martin Scorsese’s Hugo, another homage to cinema that also won five trophies.

Best Director winner Michel Hazanavicius looked stunned and thoroughly delighted at his win and we were charmed by his lovely acceptance speeches. Best Actor winner Jean Dujardin was in one of the few nail-biters of the evening, winning in what was perceived a tight three-way race with superstars George Clooney and Brad Pitt. He truly deserved it and here at the Culch offices, we were thrilled for the whole cast and crew.

Best Actress winner Meryl Streep was in another tight race, the outcome of which no one could predict until the envelope was opened. It was her third Oscar win in a record 17 attempts, and her first in nearly 30 years, honouring her portrayal of former British Prime Minster Margaret Thatcher in The Iron Lady. Streep’s win caused a little surprise as it came at the expense of Viola Davis from The Help, who many thought would get the gong.

It was an especially grand occasion for Christopher Plummer, who at 82, was the oldest recipient of the award. He won Best Supporting Actor for Beginners, in which he plays a late-blooming gay man. Plummer received a standing ovation, as he happily accepted his first Oscar in his decades-long career.

Non-surprisingly, Octavia Spencer won Best Supporting Actress for The Help, received a standing ovation from the audience. Elsewhere, there were no surprises in the screenwriting categories, which both went to the favoured candidates: The Descendants for Best Adapted Screenplay and Midnight in Paris for Best Original Screenplay – YAY!!

There were some highlights, in the form of the Quebec’s Cirque du Soleil dance troupe, they performed an energetic special tribute to the movies to a beautiful score composed by Danny Elfman, Chris Rock got more than a few laughs as he presented the Best Animation award, which went to Gore Verbinski’s Rango – “..and then they pay me a million dollars!” and I loved Gwyneth and Robert Downey Jr’s comic turn as they presented best Documentary Film. There was also a mix of wonderful odes to cinema by Hollywood stars throughout the show as they spoke about their favourite thing about film. Touching and wonderful, I welled up at some of them! This is what the movies are about.

All in all, it was a great, albeit a slightly predictable show (we had no real surprise winners) but it was thoroughly enjoyable and thanks to Billy Cyrstal, we had a Oscar show as it was meant to be: full of fun, charm and always reminding us what makes movies so magical. Until next year, Oscar.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Underworld: Awakening - A Review

This review also appeared on Popular Culture website

Before we get started, it should be noted that I am an avid Underworld fan. With this in mind, I will be as unbiased as possible, except when referring to THAT outfit.

Ass-kicking bombshell Kate Beckinsale, star of the first two Underworld films, returns in her lead role as the vampire warrioress Selene, who escapes imprisonment to find herself in a world where humans have discovered the existence of both Vampire and Lycan clans, and are conducting an all-out war to eradicate both immortal species. Yep, this is essentially the storyline for popular Underworld flick number 4, Underworld: Awakening. The writers, wisely decided not to mention flick number 3 ‘Rise of the Lycans‘ so our story continues where underworld 2 left off.

12 years have passed since the events of the second film and Selene (Kate Beckinsale) awakens in a lab and escapes into to a world where the human race has virtually eradicated both Vampires and Lycans.

The remaining forces of the iconic monsters are forced into hiding as humans equip their guns with silver ammunition and ultraviolet weapons to even the odds. Now Selene tries to discover what she has missed and realizes she’s not the only subject that escaped the facility.
Fans of the genre and trilogy will no doubt enjoy seeing Selene back in action again (the original icy-cool Death Dealer is back) but those who didn’t enjoy the previous films definitely won’t appreciate this one. This won’t really hurt the film’s success though as there is now a tight coven (see what I did there) of fans online eager for as many installments as possible.

I watched the film in 3D, so its scenes were literally action-packed, but even the most devoted fans are going to agree that the storyline is paper thin. With the discovery that Selene’s half-Lycan lover (played by Scott Speedman – I heart him) has vanished, the film centres on lesser characters. As it was their relationship storyline that strengthed the previous two films, this leaves the audience with very little to latch on to. That, and the fact that though the stunning Ms Beckinsale looks amazing in that outfit, she actually doesn’t say much throughout the film (she’s just too busy kicking Lycan ass).

There are a few twists along the way (even one I didn’t see coming) but overall the weak plot is simply in place to lead us to the next Death Dealer/Lycan spat. I was disappointed overall, despite enjoying some moments, and think that the film suffered due to the fact that Underworld creator Len Wiseman, who directed the previous 3 films, wasn’t at the helm this time.

Fans of the genre and trilogy will no doubt enjoy seeing Selene back in action again (the original icy-cool Death Dealer is back) but those who didn’t enjoy the previous films definitely won’t appreciate this one. This won’t really hurt the film’s success though as there is now a tight coven (see what I did there) of fans online eager for as many instalments as possible.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Evanescence 'My Heart Is Broken' Video Premiere

Evanescence premiered their latest beautiful video for their official second single "My Heart Is Broken." The song is taken from their recent comeback album simply titled 'Evanescence' and singer Amy Lee came up with the concept from a film favourite of hers: "I used my inspiration of horror film Paperhouse for the concept. It’s about a young girl who creates vivid dreamworlds to escape the harsh reality of everyday life only to eventually realize she’s stuck in those dreams and her dream setting quickly becomes a nightmare.”

The clip was directed by Dean Carr and though simplistic, serves as an ethereal accompaniment to a gorgeous song. It's my favourite from the album and I'm really liking the video. Amy also recently announced via Twitter that 'Made Of Stone' is to be the third single. You can here a remixed version of this on the new 'Underworld Awakening soundtrack.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Versace Returns To Paris Fashion Week

After a 7-year hiatus, famed designer Versace returned to Haute Couture today, officially opening the Paris series of shows with the luxurious, excessive glamour that we know and love. The show was nothing short of decedent; we had Couture glamour at its finest. Stunning gowns from the sheer metallic, brazen cold and tangerine orange all flowed effortlessly down the stairs (call me old fashioned, but I'm a runway girl). The hair was sleek, the make up dark and sensual but it was those gowns that took our breath away.

It was a successfully stylish way to open Paris Haute Couture Fashion Week 2012. From January 23rd through January 26th,the world renowned designers will flaunt their most flamboyant and glamorous fashions for the entire world to see and envy. The week is reserved for some of the most dramatic and daring designers, including Jean Paul Gaultier, Christian Dior, Givenchy and a big favorite of mine, Chanel.

If the opening show is anything to go by, all fashion lovers are in for a big Couture type treat over the next three days. Versace is quite possibly my all time favorite designer (and a big hit come award season too). These dresses are stunning!!!

See below for a video of highlights from the highlights of the Versace show and try your best not to drool while doing so. (This will be beyond difficult, believe me).

Friday, January 20, 2012

Movie Review: 'The Artist' - Silence Is Golden

Another review done for the deadly

It’s the film that has charmed audiences and critics alike across the globe and all without uttering a single word. For many, it’s simply the best film of the year. The Artist proves that so much can be said by saying so little.

This tender, witty, charming film, which pays tribute to the classic silent movie era in Hollywood, is the best thing to hit our screens in a long long time. Sound like an exaggeration? Then you haven’t seen the film! Since premiering at the prestigious Cannes Film Festival last year, the hype surrounding the film has been huge and luckily, it does not fall foul of the hype. Having scored big at this year’s Golden Globe awards with three wins and numerous BAFTA nominations just announced, The Artist has captured us, and indeed Hollywood, like no film has done in years. It’s surely a shoo-in for Oscar glory.

The movie opens with us seeing Valentin at the premiere of his latest film ‘A Russian Affair.’ The Russian baddies are seen torturing his character in the opening scene, trying to make him talk. But he will not talk, thus setting the scene for his future and the future of the film. Valentin is at the top of his game when we meet him, the Gene Kelly of silent movies, but when The Talkies are introduced things slowly start to go downhill.

The story is a variation on the theme from A Star Is Born. An older, established star helps a talented young woman on the path to fame, only to see his career decline as she hits the big time. It is 1927, and George Valentin, played by Jean Dujardin, is a dashing and lovably preposterous silent movie star, endowed with hyper-real handsomeness and eyebrows and mustache, reminiscent of the era gone by. His trademark is always to appear on screen in the company of his little dog, Uggie, who is so adorable you couldn’t not mention him.

But its not to be. While Peppy becomes a huge star, Valentin, still refusing to talk, becomes yesterday’s news. All Peppy can do is look anxiously on and tries her best to help the star get back in the limelight once again. The humor and romance of the film are handled lightly but work wonderfully, and the audience will be drawn in by the beautiful silence of it all. No words are needed when it comes to our two stars; it is a joy to simply watch them on screen. French director Michel Hazanavicius has done his job perfectly; in the odd time that we do hear any sound, it seems invasive, like it just shouldn’t be there. This helps us empathise completely with the unfortunate situation George Valentin finds himself in, and it’s blissful when silence descends once again.

Early on, he meets and falls in love with Peppy Miller, played by the beautiful Bérénice Bejo. She wins a part in his next film and from then on embraces the new wave of Talkies. Audiences can’t get enough of her voice (which we never hear) but Valentin goes the opposite way. He remains stubborn, refusing to talk for fear that this will take away his artistry, and like Chaplin he decides to buck the trend and continue making silent films, writing, directing and financing his own work.

The film is awash with an array of references that culture fans will get giddy from, but you don’t need to pick up on these to enjoy the film. The film’s final scene, which I won’t spoil for those of you that have yet to see it, shows us everything that cinema is capable of which no other art form can touch. You’ll be left feeling light-hearted and smiling from ear to ear, the only disappointment being that it’s all over. This is a film drained of colour and sound, yet this lack is what makes the film so wonderful. If you see nothing else, you must see The Artist, a shining example of the fact that they can still make them like they used to, and no words are needed.

Go and see it people!!

The Hits and Misses From The Golden Globes

My review of this years recent Golden Globes ceremony also published on

Award Season officially got off to a glitzy start as this year’s Golden Globes saw the crème de la crème of the Hollywood elite come out in hopes of picking up a coveted award. We had our usual hits and misses in terms of the fashion stakes… Reese Witherspoon, when I die, I’m coming back as you but what where you thinking? Kelly Osbourne and Sarah Michelle Gellar? An entire post could be devoted to the fashion stakes, but the awards themselves proved to be more interesting.

Slightly more relaxed than the Oscars (with a hell of a lot more ad breaks too, it has to be said), TV stars also get a chance to be acknowledged here which is nice to see. British comedian Ricky Gervais gleefully stepped back into the ring as this year’s host, but despite the anticipation from all sides, his very reverential monologues didn’t quite make the cut (we’re guessing the producers had more than a quiet word after the controversy he caused last year). True, the opening monologue was very entertaining – the shot of the terrified stars as they waited with baited breath for things to start was classic – but after that his time at the helm proved rather more dull. Definitely a much more staid affair than last year – save for some of the host’s zingers, musical moments (thank you Felicity Huffman and William H. Macy!) and Seth Rogen’s reference to his penis (a moment of brilliance) — the ceremony capped a long week of statuette-accepting and speech-giving ahead of next month’s Oscars.

The Winners

We mimed our delight as The Artist further solidified its spot at the front of the awards-season pack with three wins including Best Motion Picture – Comedy or Musical and Best Actor (though our fingers were crossed for The Fass). Surprisingly The Descendants, which won for Best Motion Picture — Drama and Best Actor – Drama, showed that it could play the spoiler come Oscar night. Non-surprisingly, the veteran and all-round formidable talent that is Meryl Streep won for her role in The Iron Lady (kudos to her, she took advice from Gervais and dedicated her award to God and her entire family) and was so delighted and shocked to win that we can forgive her slightly rambled acceptance speech.

At the grand old age of 82, Christopher Plummer won for his role in Beginners (though disappointingly didn’t make any sort of musical reference – boo!) and Woody Allen very deservedly picked up a statue for his gem of a movie Midnight in Paris. The talented Michelle Williams deservedly picked one up for her performance in My Week With Marilyn, but how on earth did it get into the Musical or Comedy category?

The TV side was a more mixed affair, with no show dominating and high-profile wins going to newcomer Homeland and Modern Family. Kate Winslet very deservingly took home a statuette for her role in the HBO mini-series Mildred Pierce. The cast of the hit seriesDownton Abbey were thrilled with their win too.

The Losers:

Though it is of course always an honour to be nominated, there were a few who missed out on an award. Our own Brendan Gleeson more than deserved to win for his comic genius in The Guard, and Jodie Foster should’ve won for her role in upcoming Polanski film Carnage. In terms of TV, I think the brilliant Boardwalk Empire should have walked way with at least one award but hey, there’s always next year. And in terms of hosting skills, Gervais lost out big time. Let’s hope host Billy Crystal can give Gervais a run for his money in the humor stakes at next month’s Oscars.

All in all it was a good, albeit very rushed, start to the awards season and gave us some good indicators into who might be in with a chance for Oscar glory this year. Before all that we have the slightly smaller affairs of the Screen Actors Guild Awards and The BAFTAs to give out their honours to the best films this year.

For those of you that missed the show, here is a video of Ricky Gervais’s amusing Golden Globes opening monologue:

Friday, August 19, 2011

Official 'Carnage' Trailer

I posted the promo artwork for the film only a few days ago and now, at long last, we have been given the official trailer for the film.

Quite simply the story involves two couples who are brought together to solve a conflict between their young sons. What starts as a very civilized get-together, eventually descends into chaos - and we're given a nice taster of this in the trailer.

After thinking initially that the two couples - Kate Winslet and Christoph Waltz, Jodie Foster and John C Reilly seemed a little mismatched, after watching the trailer the couple are perfectly suited to each other.

Helmed by the legendary - and controversial - Roman Polanski, the film has created a buzz already and will no doubt make a big impact when its released later this year. We should just hand the Stars and Director the Oscars now I think...

Watch it below!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Video Premiere: Lady Gaga 'You and I'

Lady Gaga has surprised fans with an early release of her band new video for her current single 'You and I.' The highly anticipated new video was due to get its premiere on Thursday, but the video hit the web a few hours ago. Those who were disappointed with the eccentric popstar's previous simplistic effort for 'Edge Of Glory' needn't have worried as Lady Gaga more then makes up for it with this stunning visual. She takes on an array of different personalities including a Mermaid (pictured above) and her male alter ego!

It's my favorite video from the Born This Way Era so far. What do you think of the clip? Post your thoughts in the comments section below!

Movie Poster For Polanski's 'Carnage'

We've seen a few shots from Roman Polanski's highly anticipated new movie 'Carnage' but now the promotion campaign is starting to get into full swing as we now have the official poster for the film. This Andy Warhol style artwork features the lead actors showcasing a varied range of facial expressions and is a colourful change from his usually more serious film artwork.

The film is making it's premiere at the Venice Film Festival and will also be opening at the New York film festival before opening in selected cinemas in November. 'Carnage' is already creating Oscar buzz and with all the Oscars between the director and cast, I'm certain the film won't fall foul of the hype.