Tuesday, November 30, 2010

'Winter's Bone': *star

'winter's bone' is this year's darling of the critics. infact it is as dull as dish water. i love independent films. each year a number of those released are better than 'mainstream' studio films. this is not one of them.

jennifer lawrence in the lead role is being lauded all over the place especially at film festivals. she is being hailed by many critics and bloggers alike as the 'best' of the year. better than whom? everyone else? she is merely fine in a boring role in a boring film. 

it is not the worst movie of the year. that slot is still reserved for 'alice in wonderland'. 

in two words: don't bother!

Franco and Hathaway to Host Oscars

well perhaps they got it half right. perhaps.
franco is that half. hathaway oy vay!

Song of the Day: 'Ode to Billy Joe'

Monday, November 29, 2010

For Mom

my mom's name was caroline but was called dolly since she was a kid. so this one's for you mom.

(thanks pet)

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

I'll Be Back Soon

my mom passed over this weekend past. I plan on resuming postings on monday

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Jill Clayburgh: Memories V: 1981-1983

jill had three more major releases that showcased her star quality if not her declining box office success between 1981 and 1983.

1981 gave us 'first monday in october'. based on the broadway play jill played the first woman appointed as a supreme court justice. jill was perfect for the role as the intelligent, independent woman that she embodied. the plotline after her selection to the court declined into a silly unrealistic 'mystery'. jill was as good as ever but caught in an underwhelming and inferior script.

1982 gave us 'i'm dancing as fast as i can'. it was a 'rushed' job as another hollywood strike was looming. jill later said she believed this real life drama about valium withdrawal may have been served better as a tv film. perhaps she was correct. it bombed at the box office and left even me wishing her talent had not been wasted on it. 

1983's 'hannah k' more or less put the proverbial nail in jill's star power and film career. she wanted to work with costa-kravas and considering he was the director and she was the star this should have been a hit. so what went wrong? it's politics went wrong. jill portrayed an attorney in this pro palestinian drama. it was a good film but theater owners refused to show it. so much for free speech. i'll say this as a jew...should we not be able to see two sides of the story? guess not! 

if you can find it see it. it's better than we'd be led to believe.

jill's era came to an end in 1983. she would go on to star and costar in films and tv movies until her untimely death. she concentrated more on motherhood thru the 80's and 90's. she returned to the stage where her talent was better utilized and appreciated.

i truly believe had she lived the screen would have seen her 'rise' again much like julie christie has after her 'icon' period ended. like julie she would have returned in good and meaty roles later in life and would have been a welcome relief from 'the flavor of the year' actresses. we'll never really know but i know that i am correct.

rest in peace friend jill. you are sorely missed but have left a nice body of work for us to revisit. thank you for your talent, your grace and your beauty.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Jill Clayburgh: Memories IV

before 'an unmarried woman' there were three notable  jill films, some films worth forgetting, some tv appearances and two very notable tv movies. 'husting' (1976) and 'griffin and phoenix: a love story" (1976) were career boosts for jill. 'hustling' earned her an emmy nom portraying wanda a street smart prostitute helping reporter fran morrison (lee remick) expose the underbelly of the street trade.

1976 also brought jill to the big screen in 'gable and lombard' i love this film. it showed a wise, funny jill as the zany carole lombard bucking the hollywood system. the movie was better than it was received. i recommend it.

'silver streak' was also released in 1976. it was really the first big movie hit that jill costarred in. it was a funny, breezy cross country train romp. it holds up today. jill shined in it.

1977 saw jill in what was basically a menage with burt reynolds and kris kristofferson in 'semi-tough'. it was a year before 'an unmarried woman' and jill's star was on the ascendant.

to be continued

Saturday, November 20, 2010

'Fair Game' Rates ***stars

naomi watts shines in this story of the bullies of the bush administration vs all well the meaning dedicated americans embodied by cia agent valerie plame. the outing of ms. plame by cheney and his lap dog scotter libby is condensed well and keeps a good pace by director doug liman. mr. liman keeps it strangely pibartisan. an amazing fete considering mr. libby was guilty as hell in her outing and the dark shadow of the mad dick cheyney looms ominously over the proceedings.

sean penn so becomes ms. plames husband joe wilson that it's almost eerie. ina more subdued than usual performance he once again proves how great an actor he is. but the film does belong to naomi watts. i see a possible oscar nom looming for her.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Song of the Day: 'Heart of Glass'

blondie's 'heart of glass' is classic

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Song of the Day: Josh Groban's 'Hidden Away' from ''Illuminations''

i just love josh's voice. i've often said if i believed in god he has given his voice to josh. 'illuminations', released this week, is quite beautiful to say the least.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Jill Clayburgh: Memories III

after 'an unmarried woman' there were four films that kept jill in the spotlight but her dominance in film as the iconic 70's woman was about to end. jill made some strange choices during this period. but she wanted to work with great directors like bertolucci and costa- kravas. these turned out to be great personal choices but bad career moves. remember in hollywood actors, particularly women, are only as good as their last film or should i say the gross income of their last film. the following did not make money. jill's star power was fading. i always considered this a great loss for film.

first there was 'luna' prior to 'starting over'. jill wanted to work with bernardo bertolucci and she did in this film. the topic bordered on the strange often bizarre and bordered on the incestuous. it was rough to watch for many. jill was amazing in it. the audience was not ready for it. yet it is a good film and deserves a shot. if you are squeamish by-pass it. otherwise take a risk and decide for yourself.

the opening scene of 'luna'. the cameraman on this filmed loved jill. it is so apparent. she has never looked so beautiful on screen.

to be continued

Monday, November 15, 2010

Song of the Day: 'On the Path of Glory'

'on the path of glory' recorded by petula clark and harry belafonte caused quite a stir when the duo performed it on pet's tv special in 1968. while performing petula dared touch harry's arm. the network execs went nuts. a white woman touching a 'negro'? oh lord that was too much for the lily white cowards of the day. eventually brains won out and the anti-war song written by petula was performed and seen as intended. one would think we might have come far from this mentality but with two wars raging and the 'birthers' front and center i sadly believe we have not.

as originally performed live

as recorded by pet on her 'petula clark: these are my songs'" cd

Happy Birthday Petula

'with one look'

'i dreamed a dream'

'as if we never said goodbye'

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Loving Jill


my tribute to jill.

the songs are from the musical 'pippin'. jill does the vocals with john rubenstein on the duet.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Jill Clayburgh: Memories II

1979's 'starting over' gave jill her second and final oscar nom. there was no chance at all as sally field was the deserved front runner and winner for 'norma rae'. i've often wondered what jill was thinking when sally's name was announced as jill had turned down the role as did jane fonda who was also nominated for 'the china syndrome'.

it was a cute movie but a minor follow-up to 'an unmarried woman'. actually candice bergman stole the film in a supporting nominated role. candice lost to meryl streep in 'kramer vs kramer' but i digress.

one of the rare moments in 'starting over' that allowed jill to shine

1980 brought 'it's my turn'. i love this breezy romantic comedy that teamed jill with michael douglas. charles grodin costarred. it's a charmer. my only question is: why the hell has this not been released on dvd? luckily itunes has it available for download.

spoiler alert: the following are the beginning and the end.

the beginning

the end

that's a wrap

(to be continued)

Friday, November 12, 2010

Jill Clayburgh: Memories

for me it all began with the musical 'pippin'. jill played catherine. she had three songs. at that moment she had me forever. jill had two solos and one duet with john rubenstein portraying pippin. these songs will appear in my 'loving jill' video over the weekend and on my ipod forever.

the tv film 'hustling', 'gable and lombard' and 'silver streak'  came next. but more on them later except to say that as carole lombard in the aforementioned 'gable and lombard' my love affair truly began.

and then in 1978....

the deal was cemented with her first major role as erica in 'an unmarried woman'. jill became the toast of the cannes film festival after it's premiere. she won best actress at that festival. the oscar money was on jill to win best actress in 1978. the oscar, heaven help us, went unwisely to jane fonda in the mediocre 'coming home'. another oscar crime.

i believe jill was too 'new york' for the mostly hollywood voter. it was this prejudice that cost her the oscar win. they just did not get jill or her character erica benton with their upper west side sensibilities.

about four minutes into the following scene you will see why she was at least oscar nominated. yes and why she should have won.

the following scene early in the film shows the dreams of the married woman. it's a charming and delightful scene that we have all imagined in some way or another. then dreams are shattered for awhile as she becomes an unmarried woman. erica benton as her portrayer would not let the bad permanently halt the future.

'an unmarried woman' began a string of roles for jill that showed smart,capable, independent women with a touch of the neurotic. hell that means she portrayed a real person. we all have our own nuerosis though try and hide them we might.

meet erica benton

to be continued

Song of the Day: 'San Francisco'

scott mckenzie's 'san francisco' became the anthem of a generation and the background music of the sexual revolution of the late 60's and early 70's.

and as luck would have it the anthem was recorded by the always wonderfully pet clark

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Happy Birthday Leo

Song of the Day: 'If You Could Read My Mind''

written and originally recorded by gordon lightfoot was a damn near oerfect song

but streisand put a twist on it and sang it from the woman's perspective. she did a damn good job. but the best was yet to come.

and the best came when viola wells created the monster dance version that is in constant replay in the collective ears of a generation

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Broadway to Dim Lights in Memory of Jill

NEW YORK – Broadway theater marquees will be dimmed in memory of Jill Clayburgh, who appeared in Tony Award-winning musicals and plays in her five-decade career.
Clayburgh died Friday after battling leukemia for over two decades. She was 66.
The marquees will go dark Tuesday at 7 p.m. for one minute.

Clayburgh's Broadway credits include Noel Coward's "Design for Living," the original production of Tom Stoppard's "Jumpers," and the musicals "Pippin" and "The Rothschilds."

The New York native also appeared in movies such as "An Unmarried Woman," "I'm Dancing As Fast As I Can," "Silver Streak" and "Running With Scissors."

Song of the Day: 'Eternally'

'eternally' was written by charlie chaplin for the film 'limelight' and was recorded by petula clark at his request as she had already had a hit recording with his 'love this is my song' from his film 'a countess of hong kong'.

'Limelight' is a 1952 comedy-drama film written, directed by and starring Charlie Chaplin, co-starring Claire Bloom, with an appearance by Buster Keaton.  it's film score was composed by Chaplin as well as this theme song.

The film was released with much scandal, as it was while touring to support the film that Chaplin was refused re-admittance to the United States, which was in its intolerant McCarthyist phase. The film was subsequently passed over by many theaters. In 1972, the film was given a wide U.S. release and honored at the Academy Awards.

today i dedicate the song to jill clayburgh. it is a fitting and personal tribute to her from me her biggest fan