She's a smart one, that Sandy Bollocks.
Nicking off for a few years after The Lake House, Infamous, Premonition and...er... Miss Congeniality 2: Armed & Fabulous were released to universal indifference, she's now got the biggest hit of her career with The Proposal.
She's not doing anything different, mind. The Proposal is com-com by numbers if ever you saw one (though better than the upcoming Ugly Truth, reviewed elsewhere on this site).
But seeing her again after a while, you sit in the movie thinking 'Awwww, bless Sandy. She's really quite good. I sort of missed her.'
Of course the truth is, you probably didn't. But if Bollocks can do one thing, she can make you love her. Always has done, always will do. And after a two year gap, that charm feels even more welcome.
She's warm, natural, pouty but not snooty. She's not the munter Miss Congeniality made her out to be, but at the same time she's not off-puttingly fit. She looks like the kinda girl you could have a drink with, shoot some pool and end up on a table doing air guitar to 'Sweet Child O' Mine'.
That's my kinda night, readers.
And going away has only made us believe that all the more. Welcome back Sandy Bollocks. You've made us think we missed you.
2. Over The Hedge
4. Chicken Little
5. Open Season
Now it seems all about sci-fi. Old-skool, 1950s B-movie sci-fi:
2. Monsters vs Aliens
3. Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs (man invents machine that drops food from the sky)
4. Planet 51 (astronaut lands on planet of green aliens who live like humans)
It's a bit like 2009 being the year of female electro pop or 2008, Amy Winehouse rip-offs. Different record labels all compete to see whose artist does the best. But which animation will be the Duffy and which the Gabriella Cilmi?
Thankfully some movies buck the trend. Disney/Pixar's Up, about a man and boy who travel the world in a house that floats using balloons, doesn't really fit any box. Amazing.
And next year, this one looks enjoyably odd, dare I say 'Hitchcockian' - as well as boasting 'the cream' of comedy to do the voices (and Julie Andrews).
Just graduated? Can't get a job? Depressed?
Don't worry, Uncle Hollywood's here to help you by making huge amounts of money out of your misery, in a film featuring the star of The Sisterhood Of The Travelling Pants.
2006 -The Devil Wears Prada. 2010 - The Devil Has To Sell Her Prada Coz Of The Global Economic Downturn.
Land Of The Lost is out here on 31st July. In the States it's already come out and made an underperforming $50 million. I know that $50 million hardly sounds like the proverbial 'peanuts' but when you've got a $100 million budget it ain't so fun. Suffice to say, someone, somewhere, will be getting told off.
Having seen the Will Ferrell 'science fiction comedy' I can see why. It doesn't know whether it's a kids fantasy flick or a teen comedy. Will Ferrell does his normal schitck (very funny) but he also fights dinosaurs (not funny).
It's not a million miles away from Year One, where Jack Black also does his normal schtick (very funny) but also fights Egyptians (not funny).
All of this whilst The Hangover quietly makes $300 million around the globe.
All of which rather poetically sums up the dilemma of being a well-recognised star with a well-recognised routine:
1. We don't like it when stars try to do something different. Will and Jack in weird settings - The Lost World's other dimension or Year One's ancient world - just aren't as funny as when they're talking about rock music or reading the news.
2. BUT Will and Jack doing their normal routines is also getting a little bit tired (Step Brothers, Tropic Thunder) so it's quite refreshing to see a comedy with 3 stars who are relatively unknown, arsing about in Vegas. No expectations = you can only be impressed.
The answer for WF and JB? Sequels. Familiar ideas but with a new twist (though not too weird). Hello School Of Rock 2. Hello Anchorman 2. Hello desperate re-treading of former glories.
There, my friends, is The State Of Hollywood Today.
Sci-fi isn't normally my 'thing' but Moon starring the rather brilliant Sam Rockwell is something else. Director Duncan 'David Bowie's Son' Jones has said that he's not into silly, action-figure-selling sci-fi. He likes the old-school stuff like 2001: A Space Odyssey and Alien. Sci-fi that deals with, amongst other things, the drama of loneliness out there in the middle of nowhere. Or in this case, as the title suggests, the moon.
It's all really engrossing. A film that's both about intimate, personal emotions and global, cold-hearted greed. It's got that eerie background hum to it that all great space station movies should have to.
But way, way, waaaaay more important than that is that Sam Rockwell's astronaut is woken everyday by an alarm clock that plays 'The One & Only' by 90s one-hit wonder Chesney Hawkes. I WANT THAT TICKER! Weirdly, in the context of the film, the song's lyrics take on a kind of existential power too. Nice one Sam. Nice one Duncan. Nice one Chesney.
It's out this Friday (17th July).
Well, who'd have thunk it. Some lad called Tobey Maguire is back, back, back! And he's only gone and made a movie with Jake Gyllenaal, the doe-eyed Donnie Darko who dated Kirsten Dunst straight after the Tobester.
That said, if actors who've dated Kisten Dunst weren't allowed to make films together, Hollywood would shut down.
Brothers is directed by Jim Sheridan, a man who's previously made In America, The Boxer and In The Name Of The Father to mention but a few. To say he likes to wear his heart on his sleeve is an understatement. To say he shouts out his fiery political opinions everytime he starts his camera rolling would be more accurate. The fact that Brothers deals with the fallout of war suggests we're in for plenty more soap-boxing.
The fact that it's out at the beginning of December in the States also suggests it's 'Oscar material' (always a scary prospect).
Anyways, it's lovely to see the return of Jake G. Natalie Portman is obviously attempting to do her 'everyday American housewife' thing that might not be quite so successful. And old Tobey, meanwhile, hits the comeback trail - leaner and meaner than ever before (ooooh, weight loss - good for the Oscars) and still decidely - and brilliantly - odd.
Slow, ponderous films about teenage Summers, growing up, falling in love, drinking too much Strongbow etc.
In this list I would include Before Sunrise, Dazed & Confused, Garden State, The Virgin Suicides , Juno and, at the broader end, Superbad.
And now Greg Mottola, 'helmer' of that last movie, has made Adventureland, a film where Jesse Eisenberg and Kristin Stewart bond one Summer whilst working at the local theme park.
Not a huge amount happens but both the leads are beautifully subtle and there's lots of willowy indie rock on the soundtrack. There are also supporting roles for the frequently-rather-hilarious Bill Hader and the better-in-small-roles Ryan Reynolds.
It's dreamy, slacker rom-com at its finest. It's out here 11th September. Go watch it.
DAVID TENNANT AND SARAH HARDING JOIN RUPERT EVERETT, COLIN FIRTH AND THE GIRLS OF ST TRINIAN’S
AS MAYHEM HITS LONDON FOR EALING STUDIOS’
“ST TRINIAN’S® II: THE LEGEND OF FRITTON’S GOLD”
Oliver Parker and Barnaby Thompson return to helm on
follow up to UK box office smash
London, 6th July 2009: Eight weeks of principal photography commences today in and around London and at Ealing Studios on “ST TRINIAN’S® II: THE LEGEND OF FRITTON’S GOLD”.
David Tennant (Dr. Who) and Sarah Harding (Girls Aloud) will join the cast from“St Trinians” which includes Rupert Everett (My Best Friend’s Wedding, Shakespeare in Love, Stage Beauty) and Colin Firth (Dorian Gray, Mamma Mia!, Bridget Jones’ Diary, Love Actually), Gemma Arterton (Quantum of Solace), Talulah Riley (The Boat That Rocked), Jodie Whittaker (Venus, Cranford), Juno Temple (Atonement, Notes on a Scandal) Tamsin Egerton (Keeping Mum), Celia Imrie (Calendar Girls, Bridget Jones’ Diary) and Fenella Woolgar (How to Lose Friends and Alienate People, Vera Drake). Actors joining the exciting cast line up will include new talents Ella Smith, Zawe Ashton and Montserrat Lombard.
“ST TRINIAN’S® II: THE LEGEND OF FRITTON’S GOLD” sees the schoolgirls start a new term amidst the usual chaos and excitement. Rupert Everett returns as unconventional headmistress Camilla Fritton and Colin Firth as her old flame Geoffrey Thwaites. A rollercoaster-style treasure hunt for the legendary Fritton’s Gold ensues as they face their most fearsome establishment rivals yet, but the feisty and ever-resourceful girls of St Trinian’s are undeterred in their mission to outwit the villainous Pomfrey (David Tennant) and his sidekicks from the women-hating secret society known as AD1.
On the downside:
1. It's made by the same people who did the last one.
2. It stars people called Fenella, Tallulah, Tamsin and Monsterrat.
3. It will therefore be another thrown together shambles of a film, created by posh old men trying to be cool and lacking anything close to charm or style.
On the upside:
1. I spend a lot of time in Ealing. I may see Sarah Harding.
Beverly Hills 90210. Dawson's Creek. The OC.
Shows I have loved and lost and shows where I presumed the stars would go on to great things.
If you consider Mischa Barton being pictured stumbling out of Bungalow 8 as a 'great thing' then I was right. If you're more about great acting in great movies then it's fair to say, I wasn't.
Therefore I'm not going to make any predictions about which stars of my current fave Gossip Girl will go on to great things on 'the silver screen', but I will say this:
BLAKE LIVELY IS VERY GOOD IN HER NEW FILM.
In GG, she's a bit rubbish. Very pretty? Yes. Great clothes? Definately. A mop of blonde hair that's single-handedly keeping John Frieda in business? Absolutely.
But still a bit rubbish.
Yet in 'The Private Lives Of Pippa Lee' she's really rather good as a drugged-up, rebellious teen in 70s New York. There's attitude there but also a real vulnerability that's not just reliant on her being a bit whiny.
The pic's directed by Rebecca Miller, a woman who boasts Daniel Day-Lewis as her hubby and has made the-also-very-good 'Personal Velocity' and 'Ballad Of Jack & Rose' in the past. I'm beginning to believe that she might have a bit of magic in her fingertips since not only is Blake good in 'Pippa Lee', but so is...gasp...Keanu Reeves.
Still, I'm making no predictions about Blake being the next Cate Blanchett. 'Pippa Lee' is worth seeing though. And with Ed Westwick's (Chuck Bass) 'Donnie Darko' sequel 'S.Darko' limping into a couple of cinemas before heading straight-to-DVD she's certainly ahead of the pack. *
Not that I'm making any predictions, mind.
* Until Chace Crawford remakes 'Footloose', anyway.
1. Its title, 'The Invention Of Lying' isn't great but I can see why studio execs chose it over the original name 'This Side Of The Truth', which doesn't mean a huge deal. As it is, the new title is very much in the vein of the story, which is about a world where no-one can lie and everything is matter-of-fact. So if you're going to make a film about the invention of lying, you might as well call it...er... 'The Invention Of Lying'.
2. It's Ricky doing his 'thing'. As in the little-bit-underrated 'Ghost Town' I think his 'thing' works rather beautifully up against big shiny Hollywood types with lovely teeth, like Jennifer Garner and Rob Lowe. They're all polished and fake, he's deadpan and real. Therefore, we like him.
3. Although some people may now be starting to tire of Ricky's 'thing'.
4. The trailer - as is their wont - is a bit brash and brassy but the film probably won't be. At the moment it feels like a Jim Carrey trailer but with Ricky co-writing and co-directing I can't believe the finished product will be. I think it will be less zany, more melancholy and slightly romantic. ALL OF WHICH IS GOOD.
5. This isn't the film that Ricky is currently making with Stephen Merchant. That's 'Cemetery Junction'.
Bandslam is an odd one.
50% edgy teen issues pic, packed with references to New York scenester bands and avant-garde icons such as 'Dame' David Bowie.
50% tween cheese.
After every cliched 'let's do the show right here' moment, there's dark bit where nihilistic slackers look depressed and listen to Velvet Underground.
So who's going to enjoy this? Who's been asking for a mix of 'Garden State' and 'High School Musical'?
I think it's fair to say that most of us have varied music taste, the classic 'bit of everything, really', but when we pay our money to watch (or listen to) something we tend to like to know exactly what it is we're getting. 'Bandslam' doesn't know what it's giving.
I enjoyed it but then, I didn't have to pay. Its bizarre attempt to snare hugely different demographics turned it into something hugely camp, but that's hardly a quote for the poster. Vanessa Hudgens is pretty good playing it moody and Alyson Michalka (from AJ & Aly, Disney fans) is awesome. Some of the tunes are genuinely powerful too. If you feel like taking a risk, go see it.
But I've just got visions of queues outside cinema toilets when the film is finished, mothers holding hands of their under-10s, the little moppets looking up to their parent and asking, bewildered, 'Mummy, who are Vampire Weekend?'
- Rom-com film posters: A short history
- Congratulations, Sandy Bollocks
- Michael Fassbender awesomeness...
- Despicable Me trailer
- I want this t-shirt...
- Postgrad is out Jan 2010.
- This week's vote: THE RESULTS
- Thoughts on 'The State Of Hollywood Today' after s...
- Moon starring Sam Rockwell... and Chesney Hawkes.
- Peter Parko - Tobey and Jake are Brothers this Dec...
- The ugly truth about The Ugly Truth...
- The Ugly Truth is out 7th August
- Adventureland loveliness...
- Potentially cack sequel alert.
- Some reasons why Bruno is not homophobic.
- Someone who is quite good...
- Some thoughts on the trailer for Ricky Gervais in ...
- Bandslam is out August 12th
- ▼ July (18)