No Snub, No Surprise

So, we're gonna lose, aren't we June? Speak for youself Johnny.The talking heads had a hard time this morning when the Oscar nominations were announced. After the names were read the anchors turned to their pundits and asked what the surprises were and who was snubbed. They had little to say because there was little wrong with the list.

For a year that was mostly bereft of good films until the last few months, there is some fine cinema recognized. All the Best Picture nominees are worthy, but I would have put Walk the Line in that group instead of Capote. How do you have a Best Actor and Actress but aren't a nominee for Best Picture? But its not like its been ignored, so no harm done.

Again, I was happy to see the recognition of Crash, which I think has the best chance of giving Ang Lee's Brokeback Mountain a run for Best Picture, but the odds are not good. In fact the odds makers in Vegas agree with my picks from yesterday (see below), so I'm going to stand by them

As for the nominations, I would have given a Best Supporting nod to Don Cheadle for Crash instead of for William Hurt's scene-chewing in A History of Violence and considered Eric Bana in Munich and Ralph Fiennes in The Constant Gardner for Best Actor recognition, but I don't see anyone I would take off the current list.

Of course, that’s the kind of year it has been -- there are more than enough films to make picking a Top 10, let alone a Top 5 a difficult choice.

I Spy With My Little Eye, Somthing That is Gold

I'm a good actress. I am. Why are you laughing?We're into the finals of the film awards. The Oscar nominations will be announced tomorrow morning (or already have been, depending on when you are reading this.)

I don't figure there will be many surprises as the races have narrowed considerably. Brokeback Mountain wins for Best Picture and Director, Philip Seymour Hoffman takes Best Actor for Capote, Resse Witherspoon is named Best Actress for Walk the Line, Rachel Weisz takes Supporting Actress for The Constant Gardner and everyone's favourite everyman Paul Giamatti wraps up Supporting Actor for Cinderella Man.

Ooops, I got ahead of myself. We're only looking at the nominations aren't we? Anyway, the one thing I've been happy to see is the rise of Crash during awards season, with an ensemble win at the Screen Actors Guild Awards on Sunday. Of course it's far too late. I think the Academy should hire Mark Burnett to produce the show so he can, much like on Survivor, make us believe there is a chance some else will be voted off (or win in this case) other than the clear frontrunner. In other words, we need it to look like a race before they had Ang Lee his armful of statues.

Now with the good awards comes the so bad its good awards. The Golden Raspberry nominations were announced today, celebrating the worst in film. Son of the Mask led the way, but seriously, we knew that without watching. I was glad to see the pointless big screen version of the Dukes of Hazzard slapped and going after anything Paris Hilton makes (in this case House of Wax) is a good thing. Makes me wonder how she did at the Adult Video News Awards with her last release.

But once again I digress. What annoyed me about this year's awards was the inclusion of a new category, Most Tiresome Tabloid Targets. Wha? Come on Razzies, were you not getting enough attention that you needed to shoot some fish in a barrel? Tom Cruise couch jumping jokes? That's so old. Last year Halle Berry actually showed up to accept her award, so stick to smacking down bad acting and leave the celebs to the tabs. On the up side, you can vote if you want to. Just $25 lets you in on the fun.

Where Does the Truth Lie?

Where The Truth LiesNow I don’t know if two films a trend makes, but I’ve got a question: Does Hollywood have it out for the media or just women?

Female journalists don’t come off all that well in Atom Egoyan’s Where The Truth Lies. Karen O’Conner (played by Alison Lohman) is writing a book about Vince Collins (Colin Firth) and she not only messes around with her subject but sleeps with his music and comedy partner Lanny Morris (Kevin Bacon) as well.

So fine, there is one working woman who goes a little too far for the story. But then there is another woman, an editor of a college paper who sleeps with them both while interviewing them, and then attempts to blackmail them over a story.

We just saw Where The Truth Lies, but it came out around the just before the Toronto Film Festival, where Thank You For Smoking premiered. In it Katie Holmes' journalist character sleeps with a tobacco lobbyist played by Aaron Eckhart to get information that she uses in a scathing profile that ruins his career.

You may have heard about that scene – it’s the one that wasn’t in the Sundance version of the screening and has created much speculation that Tom Cruise used his star power to have the scene of his fiancé in the flesh expunged from the flick. The director says it was an editing mistake and will be back in the film when it debuts in March. I’ve seen it and it’s no big deal.

But I digress. Is this an attack against the media? Certainly Hollywood has no love lost for reporters. While they are necessary for them to sell their product I’m sure many see them as parasites. So is it women they are after, criticizing as social climbers who will do anything to get ahead?

Don't get me wrong, I actually really enjoyed the film and think it got hurt by a pointless NC-17 rating. I just wish I had asked Egoyan this question when we saw him at the screening. Ooops.

Pop Culture is Our Mythology

C.R.A.Z.Y.I saw a former Oscar-nominated director and a potential nominee last night. Ironically, I've seen neither of their current movies.

We were at the Pop Culture as History/History as Pop Culture panel, part of the Toronto Film Festival's Canada's Top 10 screenings. The panelists: director Atom Egoyan whose most recent film Where The Truth Lies screened at Cannes and TIFF (he was an Oscar nominee The Sweet Hereafter), and Jean-Marc Vallée, the director of C.R.A.Z.Y., Canada's official submission for this year's best foreign-film Oscar. We're off to see Where The Truth Lies tonight and are going to try and catch C.R.A.Z.Y. at one of the city's rep theatres on Sunday.

It was my first time going to the Top 10 series after years of attending the film festival. It took place at the Art Gallery of Ontario and was such an intimate setting that I felt part of the conversation between the filmmakers and the moderator. It was a good thing they took questions, as I was ready to interject. I guess that's what you get for sitting in the second row.

For both of these directors, pop culture sets the mood and tells parts of the story without words. In Vallée's case, music informed who his main character was and his relationship with his father. In Egoyan's film the pop culture was viewed as the cage that the performers were caught in. I can't wait to see their full films (we saw clips) and see how they used it.

What I really found fascinating was their discussion of rights and licensing. If a director wants to use a song, a poster, an album cover or a TV clip, they have to pay and pay handsomely. Vallée said he paid $112,000 to use a couple of minutes to use the Rolling Stone's Sympathy for the Devil. It's a small fortune, but he felt like he needed that particular song to complete his scene. Egoyan said he once used the Santana song Oyo Como Va and paid $5,000. He used it again in Where the Truth Lies and it cost $50,000, just because Santana’s profile is higher.

And those were the songs they could get the rights for. Egoyan said he had to digitally erase the cover of David Bowie’s Diamond Dogs album from a scene and Vallée said he had to replace a Joy Division song with The Cure’s 10:15 On A Saturday Night because he couldn’t get permission. (Geek side note: I have the same imported vinyl edition of The Cure’s first album that he was talking about.)

We all connect certain songs to moments in our life and if we were to make a film we would probably want the exact perfect song to bring it back to life. Which is why I find it so perplexing that artists (and more likely labels) make it so difficult and expensive for anyone else to use their music, especially as it will likely mean more sales for them.

Deadly Video Games

It's just a game folks...Did a Toronto taxi driver die because two teens were imitating the kind of driving they’d practiced on their video consoles?

Two 18-year-olds were racing a pair of Mercedes Benzes through the city on Tuesday night, reaching speeds of 140 kilometres an hour, when they piled into a taxi turning left, killing the driver. A copy of the racing game Need for Speed was found on the front seat of one of the suspect’s cars, following the crash.

"Here we have, in real life, two guys driving high-end cars at a high rate of speed in an urban area," said Toronto police Det. Paul Lobsinger. "I don't think it's a giant leap for people to say, 'Wow, how does this go together?'"

How does it go together? It doesn’t. What happened to the cabbie is a tragedy and should never have happened, but making even a casual link between video games and his death is ridiculous.

How could a couple of teenagers ever had the idea to race cars? Maybe they’d just finished watching James Dean in Rebel Without a Cause. Perhaps they had been listening to Jan and Dean’s Dead Man’s Curve. Or maybe they were just 18-year-olds with high performance cars.

I remember when playing Dungeons and Dragons was supposed to drive kids to Devil worship and murder. Ditto with heavy metal music. Pop culture doesn’t kill, stupid teenagers do.

Bowl Full of Delusion

So Eager to Please. They Can Even Be Trained.
Celebrities as Sea Monkeys, it's so perfect, I don't know how I didn't see it before. It's clear that they don't live in our world, at least the we see them on the pages of tabloids and the gossip blogs.

This is from Gallery of the Absurd, an artist who is "fascinated and horrified by the alarming rise in celebrity culture." Make sure to check out the full-size version on her site.

Higgins! Call Off the Dogs!

Yeah, I look this goodI’m no fan of remakes, especially when I can still remember the original. So the news that a movie version of Magnum PI. is in works has left me quite torn. Because I loved Magnum.

I have so many questions: Is Higgins also Robin Masters? How come criminals never noticed that a fire-engine red Ferrari was tailing them? Was Rick more involved with the mob then we knew? And what was Magnum doing when he ended the last episode back in his Navy uniform?

I watched the show, which ran from 1980 to 1988, and watched again and again when it ran into reruns. There were good mysteries, generous dollops of humour, Hawaii and Tom Selleck – the best moustache before Jack Layton came along.

Will it be an update on the characters, telling us where they are now and answering my questions? Seems unlikely, as who wants to watch a bunch of old guys creak around the palm trees (other than me I guess), and could Selleck squeeze into those little shorts anymore?

Losing Selleck means losing a lot of the appeal. So if not an update, what? A retelling? That concerns me, especially as the guy they have hired is Dodgeball writer-director Rawson Marshall Thurber. Dodgeball? Oh-oh. According to the industry trades, he doesn't intend to make Magnum into a spoof, but I worry.

If they are going ahead with this, who should play mains? The Stax Report suggests a few names:
Magnum: George Clooney; Hugh Jackman
Higgins: Ian McKellen
TC: Bernie Mac; Don Cheadle
Rick: Ben Stiller; Paul Rudd
Hmm, Clooney might be good. Well, it’s gonna happen. I guess I’ll just have to wait and see what happens and go find myself a Hawaiian shirt and a rerun.

It's All About the Money

Once Central Perk closed, they really let themselves go...Have they blown all their cash already? Rumours abound that the cast of Friends has signed on to star in four new one-hour specials.

Jennifer Aniston, who has starred in a string of flops since the final Friends episode, was the last to agree to the new deal, according to An NBC insider says, "She's the one who had been holding out. But she's now agreed to reprise Rachel (Green)."

Aniston, Courteney Cox, Lisa Kudrow, Matt LeBlanc, David Schwimmer and Matthew Perry all reportedly agreed to $5 million apiece, which is actually a slight pay cut from their heyday.

I know their careers haven't been all that, ahem, stellar since signing off in 2004, but c'mon, they were each making a million an episode the last season and that's not even considering what they get from the constant reruns. Of course if someone drove a dump truck full of money up to my mansion, I wouldn't say no either.

Now NBC is denying that any of this is true, but that is standard operating procedure. This is too early, when the episodes wouldn't air until next season.
In other news, a smaller dump truck has rolled up to the cast of Lost. The studio is offering to pay the actors nearly $80,000 an episode, which is double, and in some cases quadruple, what they are currently earning. For the past two years, the Lost gang's salaries have reportedly fallen in the $20,000-$40,000 range per episode, says E! Online.

I can get behind that (keeping in mind that Hollywood salaries have no relation to reality) as this is a cast worth rewarding. What I can't abide is the special deal Jack "stick-in-the-ass" Shephard (Matthew Fox) is getting, an additional one-time bonus of at least $250,000 in addition to the salary hike. For what, I ask you, for what?

Reality: Stranger Than You Think

I'm Richard Hatch. Who the hell are you?There is strange goings on in the world of the famous and wannabe famous. First off there is Richard Hatch. Remember him? He was the first winner of Survivor, the openly-gay, openly-naked, overweight Machiavellian who gleefully manipulated his way to the million-dollar win. He’s currently in court, fighting charges that he evaded paying taxes on said win.

Don’t count him out yet. In a development worthy of a Survivor twist, Hatch’s lawyer is now alleging that the show agreed to pay his tax hit:
The bargain purportedly came about after Hatch allegedly caught some of his fellow contestants cheating by having friends sneak food to them on the island. He told producers, who ultimately attempted to buy his silence, reports E! Online.
I love this guy! He’s always a step ahead of everyone. Some contestants are denying this could have ever happened while other nameless sources say everyone knew this was happening. Personally, I hope it’s true. It’s about time the curtain was pulled back so we can see the inner workings of the Survivor machine.

Speaking of the courts, Colin Farrell is finding out the hard way why making homemade porn isn’t always as good of an idea as it sounds. The scruffy star is battling his Playboy Playmate ex-girlfriend Nicole Narin in court, to block her from selling the 14-minute explicit romp online.

Farrell has admitted making the tape three years ago for personal viewing and got an injunction to keep it from being released. Despite that, footage from their frolic surfaced online earlier this week at, while Jossip and IDontLikeYouThatWay and probably some other blogs posted images from the tape. Farrell’s lawyer has added the offending (and very funny) sites to the list of defendants in the lawsuit and forced them to remove the screen grabs.

I snagged one of the pics back before they got, um, yanked, but seeing as Farrell’s lawyer seems so litigious I think I’ll pass.

Cinema Terrorism

Paradise NowI’ve had the good fortune of seeing both Munich and Paradise Now over the past few months and both films have given me greater insight into the seemingly never-ending struggle between Israelis and Palestinians.

Munich was about Israel's response to the killing of their athletes at the 1972 Olympics -- sending assassins after the Palestinian planners of Black September. Paradise Now’s perspective followed two West Bank friends chosen to be suicide bombers as they prepare for and struggle with their mission.

Both films began with the belief that violence must be met with violence. In Munich, Israeli Prime Minister Golda Mier say civilizations must sometimes compromise their values, as they defend their right to exist. Said and Khaled, the protagonists of Paradise Now, feel they are trapped in an open–air prison with no future and no respect, kept down by the military and economic might of Israel, responding to their planes with explosives strapped to their bodies.

By the end of the films, the black and white issues have considerably grayed. Avner, the lead assassin questions the effectiveness and the justice of the counterterrorist response that only appears to be breeding new resistance. In Paradise, only one of the two bombers heads into Israel, ready to carry out his destructive plan, only coming to that decision after debating with a resistance leader who argues that in killing there is no difference between victim and occupier.

Munich may net director Steven Spielberg an Oscar nomination in a couple of weeks and is in theatres now. Paradise Now just won a Golden Globe for Best Foreign Film and you can catch it at rep theatres. They will add to your understanding of a complex situation as both films come to the inevitable conclusion: the cycle of violence is leading nowhere.

Chuck Norris Counted To Infinity - Twice

If you can see Chuck Norris, he can see you.I was going to write a stunning piece of pop culture analysis today. It would have been sublime, explaining once and for all why people are obsessed with celebrities, why they are obsessed with themselves and the secret of the Caramilk bar.

But I'm tired. So instead... Chuck Norris!

You may have read about the Random Chuck Norris Fact Generator, which appears to be so popular that it's down. First we lose and now this! Why does God hate us so! Anywho... here are a few examples:
• Chuck Norris' tears cure cancer. Too bad he has never cried.
• Chuck Norris can touch MC Hammer.
• Superman owns a pair of Chuck Norris pajamas.
• Chuck Norris is currently suing NBC, claiming Law and Order are trademarked names for his left and right legs.
Hopefully the site will be up and running soon, but you can see the Top 30 here. Aside from the pure oddity of this page, which has become quite popular, the kung-fu ass kicker himself has given it his tacit approval.
According to the actor's publicist, Jeff Duclos, Norris' favorite Chuck Norris fact is the one about the Boogeyman: "When the Boogeyman goes to sleep every night, he checks his closet for Chuck Norris."
Ah, web obsessions... and now we have a actor's career revived and he didn't even have to appear on a reality show. Wonder when the t-shirts are getting made.

A Real Stickler

He's only happy when it rainsAnother great episode of Lost tonight, but it still leaves a big question (of course I have questions, it is Lost). Before Jack left his hospital, did they surgically insert a giant stick up his ass? That is the only thing I can see that would explain why he is some annoyingly holier-than-thou.

Now give my post the other day about spoilers, I'd suggest not reading any further if you haven't seen the episode. With that out of the way, I've gotta say that after Anna Lucia, Jack has got to be my least favourite of the castaways.

Ok, daddy was a tyrannical drunk and a philanderer, he's clearly got a full-on god complex and his wife cheated on him before hitting the road. Believe me, the last one makes me quite sympathetic, but I don't see where he gets off ordering everybody about. I guess I'm more of a Locke man myself.

Loved the return of the Others as well. I already like Zeke and they suggest so many more mysteries. They've kidnapped, used force, but they've only taken those that they've said are worthy. If we are to believe them, Walt is safe and sound. Are they a force of good or evil? Are they castaways like the Oceanic group or are they part of the experiment/tribulation that they are being put through? Does this rabbit hole have no bottom? If it does, I hope we don't get to it anytime soon.

They’re Selling, Everybody’s Buying

Shatner Bits for Sale: No reasonable offer refusedEverything to do with entertainment is about moving product. Some of what’s being pushed can be works of art, while other products are pure commercialism. If you’ve recorded an album, made a film, painted a picture, you are likely aiming for it to be bought.

This goes double for celebrities, but it is such a part of what they are that you rarely notice. But every once and awhile the curtain gets pulled back and you catch a glimpse of the machinations:

• Take Stephen King for example – he hates cellphones. “They're 21st-century slave bracelets,” he told the Wall Street Journal, saying he sees cellphones as an impingement on personal freedom. “If you've got one, it becomes addictive. Also, people can always find you.” So logically he is promoting Cell, his new novel about a pulse sent through cell phones turns people who hear it into killers, by sending text messages to 100,000 cell users and selling ring tones of his voice. Umm, is it just me, or did someone in marketing (or King himself) not read what the book is about, or why he wrote it? And what’s with King anyway? Didn’t he say he was going to retire?

• Now this one is just weird. William Shatner, the erstwhile Captain Kirk, has sold his kidney stone, with the benefits going to Habitat for Humanity.
"When I was contacted about selling my kidney stone to for an original price of $15,000 I turned it down knowing that my tunics from Star Trek have commanded more than $100,000," says Shatner. "I offered the stone, stint and string for $25,000 and informed them that 100 percent of the proceeds would go to benefit Habitat for Humanity and I retain visitation rights."
I guess if someone is willing to pay and the money going to charity, why not? And what’s in it for GoldenPalace, the group who has bought a piece of toast with the Virgin Mary on it and paid people who have gotten on TV with the corporate name written on their body? Well, I just wrote about them, didn’t I?

• Kelly Clarkson doesn’t seem to understand this marketing concept. It seems that the season one winner of American Idol is refusing to allow her songs to be performed by Idol contestants.
A spokesman for Clarkson's record label denied that the ban on her material was anything personal against Idol and said that the "Since U Been Gone" singer was not permitting any of her songs to be licensed for other uses. Nonetheless, Cowell lashed out at Clarkson, accusing her of "ignoring the audience" responsible for her fame.
I’ve never been much of a fan of Idol, and I certainly didn’t expect someone would build a real career out of winning, but now that she has it’s seems a little sour to be shunning the show. Ya gotta dance with the one what brung ya.

Just Hand Them The Award

Hands off the goods, unless you're a designer!You can fill out your Oscar ballot now. Just check off every category that Brokeback Mountain is in, throw in Philip Seymour Hoffman and Reese Witherspoon and you’re done. That was the results at the Golden Globes and so it shall be at the Oscars. If this show seemed anti-climactic, imagine what it will be like when you watch it all over again on March 5.

Anyway, here are a few things that amused me about the show. For full results and all sorts of red carpet pics, head to my friends at Dose.

• Just before Gwyneth Paltrow presented Anthony Hopkins with the Cecil B. DeMille Award, she said it was going the greatest actor of our generation. The clip that aired seconds earlier finished with Hopkins saying: "Don't blow smoke up my ass." Perfect

• Isaac Mizrahi – was he a mess on the red carpet, or a breath of fresh air? He certainly wasn’t staid, asking all the women if they were wearing underwear; asking Hillary Swank, who just announced her separation from Chad Lowe, about being single; grabbing a handful of Scarlett Johansson’s ample bosom (if you missed it, you can watch it here); and telling Charlize Theron that in every movie she's been in for the past three years, she looks like "a scary dyke with no teeth."

• It was great that people weren’t taking things too seriously. Geena Davis, during her acceptance speech for Commander In Chief, said as she was walking in a 9-year-old girl tugged at her dress and said “because of you, I want to grow up and be president.” The whole audience aaaahed. Then she said, "That didn't actually happen, but it could have!"

• Did you catch co-presenters Matthew McConaughey rubbing his hand on Sarah Jessica Parker's bare back? The camera cut to them as they waited for the director of Paradise Now (who I met at the Toronto Film Festival) to come up on stage, while they thought they were safely in the wings. Naughty.

• Here's a question: If theses actors are the cream of the crop, why do they sound so wooden when reading their presenter lines? See Teri Hatcher and Harrison Ford as examples.

Stop Talking! I Taped it!

If you tell anyone what happens, I'll find you and I'll kill you.What’s the expiration date for spoilers? You’ve all probably started talking about the latest episode of Lost or 24 and had somebody yell “nah-nah-nah-nah,” jam their fingers into their ears and run in the opposite direction.

I’ve been reading a lot about how our technologies are separating us and how we have fewer common cultural experiences. The theory is we all record our own shows and have very little crossover with each other.

That sure didn’t seem to be the case today in my office with the amount of chatter about the debut of the new season of 24. Everyone was talking about it, but as they did, hands started clamping over ears, with protests of “I taped it!” and “Stop, I’m watching it tonight!” peppering the conversation. This problem is getting worse with DVDs and people who wait to see the full-season.

How long do you have to watch your pop culture conversations? Do you give people a day or two? Until the next episode? It’s always been hard with reality shows not to find out who got kicked off the next day, so who’s responsibility is it? Do you need to ask “Has anyone not seen…” before you start talking? Even Lost star Evangeline Lilly spoke on the Golden Globes red carpet about having to be careful about reveling secrets when talking about her own show with people who aren’t caught up to the latest episodes.

So, how long do you have to keep quiet?

Guess Who's all Wet?

It burns! It burnnnnnnnssssss!Some pistol-packing paparazzi soaked stars Heath Ledger and Michelle Williams at the Australian red carpet premiere of Brokeback Mountain over the weekend. Seems like Heath has pissed off some of the camera jockeys by spitting at them at some previous event, and they were out for revenge.

"It's true that he's misbehaved for the past 18 months but he won't do it again in a hurry," said photographer Peter Carrette. "...I hope that Heath learns some manners out of it and that he will learn that in this profession it's a two-way street."

While Ledger didn't respond he may be pressing charges and the studio says the cameraman will never get accreditation again. Responds the man with the license to spray: "I put out [photographs] to 56 countries of the world and if they don't need that sort of publicity ... they're cutting off their noses to spite their face."

Which raises an interesting relationship -- the unspoken one between the paparazzi, the tabloids and celebrities. They need each other, feed off each other and wouldn't exist without each other. Sure celebrities complain about their presence and talk about how their privacy gets invaded, but without them they would disappear between films, and the only thing worse than being talked about is not being talked about.

It is a two-way street. Stars (and their handlers) want red carpet photographs, they want to be fawned over during press junkets and so they complain, but not too much. And they release personal details as payment. Why else would Brad and Angelina and now Gwyneth announce pregnancies, would Eminem's publicist confirm that he got married over the weekend?

Celebs don't have to talk about this stuff. They don't have to confirm or deny or say anything. The tabs will suss it out on their own and some would say they write whatever they want. So why do they do it? Because they want to. It's easy to forget the paparazzi and celebrities work in the same business -- one just makes a little bit more.

The A-List Mythology

I don't deny she's cute, just not a movie starIs Jennifer Aniston a superstar, asks Entertainment Weekly in the latest issue. Just asking means there is an assumption that she should be, a "c'mon, look at her, she's Jennifer Aniston!" attitude. It's part of a belief that some actors can be placed into any project and the result will be a blockbuster, that ticket buyers will fall over themselves just to see the "star" no matter what the film is about.

If that were the case, wouldn't A-listers like Tom Hanks, Julia Roberts and Will Smith always have been superstars, right from their first film? No, you have to earn it and keep it by making smart choices -- either compelling stories or at least the kind of cheese that works for you.

Ever since Friends began, Aniston has been tagged for future glory. When her fairytale marriage to Brad Pitt collapsed, many thought she would get a box office boost á la Nicole Kidman, but there is a huge difference: Kidman can act and picked roles in films like The Hours while Aniston is a light weight and picks films like Rumor Has It.

Of course anytime you point this out a Team Aniston fan tells you she has talent, just look at The Good Girl, just as EW does. Fine, she slummed it in one indie. Now name another. Sly Stallone did the same in Cop Land to rave reviews, subsequently returning to gems like Driven and he is now making another Rambo. One film isn't a career.

EW even tries to credit her with box office hits, citing Bruce Almighty and Along Came Polly, but these are Jim Carrey and Ben Stiller vehicles, and she was just along for the ride.

Aniston is reportedly commanding $9 million per film, so I don't deny that someone thinks she's worth it, but she's not going to be a huge draw until she works her way up through some more small, supporting roles. Rachel made her bigger than life, but she's tiny on the big screen.

Like It's Been Frozen Somehow

Yes, I always look like this. What's it to you?If you're like me (and who isn't), you've seen a lot more photos of Paris Hilton over the past few years then you ever thought you would have.

No, I don't mean those photos, I mean the ones where she poses over and over for photographers, never having met a camera she didn't want to make love to. Now, lest any of those shutterbugs think those bedroom eyes were meant for them alone comes evidence she only has the one look.

Check out Lemonzoo's Paris Hilton Really Has Just One Face and see the proof of what your mom always told you - if you keep making that face, it will stay that way.

Umm... that's it. I've really got nothing deeper than that today. I'll try and be a little more pithy tomorrow and take down that snooty Jennifer Aniston.

My Gossip Runneth Over

Please Quentin, stay behind that cameraReally, how is one to keep up with Hollywood these days? If all the stars publicists could get together and plan out a schedule, it would be a lot easier for us to keep up. Today we heard:

• Angelina Jolie is pregnant with a little Pitt. There was much conversation at my workplace about whether she is a homewrecker and if the couple should admit publicly that they are indeed a couple -- both issues seemed to have an obvious answer to me. Celebs are fun to talk about, no matter how inane the topic. Why else would we care about them? Their acting ability? Ha, ha, ha.

• Colin Farrell is as dirty as we always thought. His much-rumoured sex tape finally surfaced on the web (as all self-filmed celeb pornos do) at, which promptly crashed from all the traffic. Probably his best debut yet. You can read more at Jossip and see screen grabs from What Would Tyler Durden Do? I'd usually just post one, but I can't bring myself to do it.

• Of course the one that amuses me the most is not from today, but I've been busy -- didn't you just read those other bits? Anyway, looks like Quentin Tarantino has been reading his own press again, and now believes he is the source of all that is good in film, whining to the Sunday Mirror:
"I'm annoyed that the James Bond producers never even called me up to talk to me about it because I can tell you they would not be making Casino Royale if I hadn't talked about it first. They should have called me. Especially since they are taking my idea and they are taking the publicity I gave them towards that idea. They should have at least out of courtesy had coffee with me."
Oh, get over yourself Quentin, like nobody in Hollywood has ever thought of remaking a film (King Kong) or reinventing a series (Batman Begins). You're a great director, but you aren't getting this gig. Get over it.

Did So. Did Not. Did So...

So I've taken a few drugs. Who cares, look at me!Let me assure you, I'm not obsessed with Lindsay Lohan. I've not seen any of her movies, nor her TV shows or heard any of her music. Despite that, it has been nearly impossible to avoid all reference to her, especially in the celeb pages, which have spread far beyond the gossip columns.

So when she was hospitalized for an alleged asthma attack, I knew we had the start of something, and it just keeps getting better. She is now denying parts of the Vanity Fair profile that probably seemed like such a good idea at the time, in particular that she ever had an eating disorder.
"The words that I gave to the writer for Vanity Fair were misused and misconstrued, and I'm appalled with the way it was done... Aside from [the writer's] lies and changing of my words, I am blessed to have this job and wonderful family that I do."
Lohan turned to the more celebrity-sympathetic Teen People with her tale of being hard done by, emailing the mag her statement. Her publicist, Leslie Sloane Zelnik, followed up, saying that Lohan does not have bulimia now, nor did she ever.

Well that settles that, right? Not a chance. Says E! Online:
"Evgenia Peretz is one of our most reliable reporters," the magazine said in a statement. "Every word Lindsay Lohan told her is on tape. Vanity Fair stands by the story."
It's on! Stay tuned...

Who You Callin' Old?

Go fogies, go fogies...
With the announcement of its 12th season cast, the grandaddy of reality shows is in denial about its age. How else to explain the breakdown of the tribes for Survivor: Panama?

At the beginning of the show the 16 Gilligans will be divided into four tribes: Older Men vs. Older Women vs. Younger Men vs. Younger Women. And how seasoned do you need to be to fall into the older categories? The ripe old age of early to mid thirties. The two groups will include a 35-year-old man and a 32-year-old woman. Wow, who let the fogies out of the retirement home?

Anyway, despite the shows don't-trust-anyone-over-30 attitude, the idea of four tribes sounds interesting, forcing people to make personal alliances almost immediately. I think they should do a season where there are no tribes and every challenge is for personal immunity. Then we'd really see the long knives come out.

Hack vs. Auteur

Don't make me angry. You wouldn't like me when I'm angryJust got back from seeing Munich and it got us talking about Steven Spielberg. How can he put together such a dark, nuanced film about the compromises made when a nation abandons its morals and also direct the one-note, rah-rah, War of the Worlds?

Munich was about Israel's response to the killing of their athletes at the Olympics -- sending assassins after the planners of Black September. But it was also an allegory about the American response to September 11. Whereas War of the Worlds was just a story about how if people just buckle down they can overcome any foe, no matter where it comes from.

Yeesh, guess which one will end up having done better when the box office is tallied?

Not many directors or actors can straddle the line between blockbuster and art -- and it is a line, there are even fewer films that are both. Spielberg seems to move back and forth, though I would prefer he would commit to his muse and stop chasing the dollar.

Fox Giveth and Fox Taketh Away

We love ya Bender. He knows it.There may be a future for Futurama. Fox is reportedly in talks to bring the Matt Groening animated series back to TV, after its success on DVD and reruns.

Shades of the Griffins! Fox performed a similar resurrection on Family Guy in 2004, which they had killed off before its time. I always felt that Futurama was more deserving of a return and was a show that had been shuffled around, preempted and never allowed to find its audience.

Seems like the execs at Fox aren't above making complete u-turns on their programming decisions, so it really makes me wonder about Arrested Development. It has a cult following, is selling well on DVD and critics love it. Naturally, it is slated for cancellation. Perhaps it is a strange marketing plan to sell more DVDs and get tons of free ink, before bringing the show back.

I've never understood Fox. They program such trash, but they have also launched (and cancelled) more cutting edge comedies then most of the other networks combined -- Action and Andy Richter Controls the Universe, but to name two. Maybe they should put the people who develop the shows into the scheduling department.

Anyway, if Futurama can come back after a couple of years off the air, perhaps there is a chance for Arrested as well. Save Our Bluths!

Movie City Maniacs

Yep... Mmm Hmm...The award nominations are being announced so fast and furiously these days that if you aren’t paying attention the prohibitive Oscar favourites will be crowned without you even noticing.
Case in point, the Screen Actors Guild, the Directors Guild of America, the Producers Guild of America and the Writers Guild of America all released their nominees over the past two days.

These folks matter because many in their membership are also Oscar voters and their lists tend to mirror the Academy. Speaking of which, it looks like the top nominees have been set, and probably in this order:

Brokeback Mountain; Good Night, and Good Luck; Crash; Capote; Munich; A History of Violence; Walk the Line
I’m reserving my judgment as there are still a few on that list that I haven’t seen yet, so I’m off to the theatre again this weekend. I will say that I’ve seen Brokeback, and while it was a good film I spent most of the screening wondering when it was going to be a great film. That’s not to say it won’t win Best Picture, I just don’t think it is.

Other interesting tidbits:
Russell Crowe is back in the actor’s race with the SAG nod, but it appears to be Philip Seymour Hoffman’s to lose. Cinderella Man, though, doesn’t seem to have much of a shot anymore.

Crash has become a fave over the last two days after being nothing but a dark horse. Nominations from all of the guilds tends to help, despite being missed by the Golden Globes.

King Kong is mostly being ignored and will likely have to be happy with a podium full of technical awards, that it will have to share with Narnia. Good thing Peter Jackson already has enough that he wouldn’t notice if he misplaced one anyway.

Gossip, Fully Loaded

She hates the writer, but loves the picYesterday I suggested that it wouldn't be long before the rumour mill started grinding Lindsay Lohan's hospitalization apart. How right I was.

In an amazing coincidence, Vanity Fair is featuring the ingenue actress on their next cover and released the photo and the article today. Turns out Miss Lohan had a little taste for drugs and at one point not much of a taste for food. If I was the conspiratorial type, I would suggest that her collapse was somehow tied to selling more copies of the magazine and there was a financially agreeable arangement. But that would be absurd, wouldn't it?

Here's a wrap of what some other's (among the 500+ entries on Google news at this writing) had to say.

The New York Post: Lindsay Bares All in Shocker
Tinseltown teen queen Lindsay Lohan has finally 'fessed up to doing drugs — and becoming so bulimic that she couldn't stand the sight of her own skeletal figure.
Defamer continued to go after Linds:

America's Most Suspiciously Hospitalized Sweetheart makes some shocking—shocking!—revelations: she used drugs "a little," suffered from the much more PR-friendly bulimia last year during her much-photographedSNL's Lorne Michaels, no stranger to self-destructive talent, staged some sort of intervention after Lohan hosted his show former fighting weight. "skinny phase," and that dangerously underneath her
And one the most interesting tidbits came from an unusual source,
A source told that early Wednesday morning, a friend of Lohan was spotted returning to the hospital with a plastic shopping bag containing an EPT pregnancy test, Cocoa Puffs cereal, cans of Coke, mouthwash and playing cards. It is not known if the items are for Lohan.
Bless celebrity gossip.

The Truth and "The Truth"

Don't hate me 'cause I'm rich...Lindsay Lohan has been hospitalized.

Ok, what was your first thought? If you're reading this post, chances are you've heard more about Lohan than just her acting in films like Herbie and Mean Girls. Chances are you've read about her party-hearty ways with the rest of young Hollywood, led by their queen Paris Hilton.

Anytime a young actor or actress heads to a hospital it's often due to something loosely defined as exhaustion. Later it comes out it was for an eating disorder or rehab. That's not the case with Lohan, who was admitted to the hospital Monday night after experiencing breathing difficulties in her hotel room in Miami. But that thought runs through your head -- it's hard for it not to.

So far everybody seems to be playing this story straight, but I wonder when the speculation will begin... Ooop, just took a quick look and saw that it has begun, as Defamer sez:
It seems that this year, LohanÂ’s flacks have decided to go with an alphabetical progression of reasons why a starlet might reasonably be checked into a hospital and spared themselves some stress.
Well, that didn't last long, did it?

It's The Pictures That Got Small

I wonder if anyone will ever give me a role without a sword...There are no 20-something acting superstars these days, and The New York Times blames it on the actors.

Using the career arc of Orlando Bloom, Sharon Waxman argues that today's stars can't open a film and are unable to fill box office coffers. Bloom rose to prominence as the elf Legolas in The Lord of the Rings trilogy before moving on to Troy, Kingdom of Heaven and Elizabethtown.
Stardom came easier to the young only a decade or two ago. At 23, Tom Cruise grasped it with the release of Top Gun in 1986, and flaunted it two years later by turning a vehicle as slight as Cocktail into a major hit. Julia Roberts was a superstar at 22, after the success of Pretty Woman in 1990, and Leonardo DiCaprio was just 23 when Titanic turned him into an international screen presence in 1997.

All quickly rose into Hollywood's top salary tier - the ranks of the $20 million actor, or thereabouts - and achieved bankable status with nervous executives who were willing to make a costly film because these actors were in it.
There are just so many problems with this argument that I just don't know where to begin. Firstly, this smacks of the same excuses for this summer's box office drop off. It's because of DVDs, video games, an ancient curse, etc., etc., anything to take the spotlight off the awful films that were released.

Look at the movies referenced as star makers: Top Gun, Pretty Woman and Titanic. All three are in the Top 100 box office earners, with Titanic leading the list. Hardly a fair comparison to Kingdom of Heaven now, is it? I remember when Titanic was playing and nobody was saying, 'Hey, let's go see that Leo DiCaprio flick.' The argument seems to be that if there had been anyone else in the lead role of these movies, they would have been forgotten about.

The right casting can add to a great film, but no actor can save drek. It wasn't Orlando Bloom that sunk Kingdom of Heaven. Maybe it was a film about a Middle Eastern crusade when the U.S was invading an actual Middle Eastern nation that put people off. Of course if Russell Crowe was in it, it would have been huge. Sure, just look at Cinderella Man.

It's not the stars that got small, it's the pictures.