Liz is late ...
Like the last of a kind, and in her case, one of a kind, old school movie star that she was, she knew the power of being fashionably late. Even to her own funeral.
From the AP:
"Elizabeth Taylor's funeral started late - just the way the screen legend wanted it.
"Her family held a brief private service Thursday at a Southern California cemetery famous for being the final resting place of Hollywood celebrities, including her good friend Michael Jackson.
But the funeral began 15 minutes after its announced start time in observance of the actress' parting wish, according to her publicist, Sally Morrison.
"She left instructions asking for the tardy start and had requested that someone announce, 'She even wanted to be late for her own funeral,' Morrison said."
She can act too ...
But regardless, enough people have called her on the who is dancing through most of the movie question, that her dance choreographer/on screen partner/real life fiancee (Benjamin Millepied) has made a point of addressing it.
His answer: Calm down and get off her case. Portman did a lot of the dancing.
Here's more from the Huffington Post:
"Millepied is featured in a new Los Angeles Times article that focuses on both his career in dance and his relationship with Portman. The French-born former dance prodigy personally instructed Portman in her film dancing and even wrote her routine. The accusations are baseless, he says.
"'It was so believable, it was fantastic, that beautiful movement quality," he told the paper. "There are articles now talking about her dance double that are making it sound like [Sarah Lane, her body double] did a lot of the work, but really, she just did the footwork, and the fouettés, and one diagonal [phrase] in the studio. Honestly, 85% of that movie is Natalie.'"
The making of 'Cleopatra'
For a fun dose of film history, this is a juicy page turner (or mouse clicker) that's as entertaining as it is educational.
As the intro states (and to add and update, should also include the Angelina Jolie, Brad Pitt achievement, "Mr. and Mrs. Smith"):
"Forget 'Titanic': the most expensive movie ever made opened 35 years ago. It took $44 million (about $300 million today), two directors, two separate casts, and two and a half years of on-and-off filming in England, Italy, Egypt, and Spain to bring 'Cleopatra,' Twentieth Century Fox’s lavish, eyeball-popping spectacle, to the screen. David Kamp relives an epic folly that was eclipsed only by the international furor over the scandalous romance of its stars, Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton."
The Clean Speech ...
Here's more details from Coming Soon:
"The Weinstein Company has announced that the studio will release a PG-13 version of 'The King's Speech' on April 1st:
"The Weinstein Company (TWC) announced today that 'The King's Speech,' the family-friendly version of its Academy Award-winning historical drama about King George VI, will open on 1,000 screens nationwide on April 1, and will be the only version available in theatres.
"One of the year's most celebrated, successful and beloved films, THE KING'S SPEECH was honored at the 83rd Academy Awards with Oscars for Best Picture, to producers Iain Canning, Emile Sherman and Gareth Unwin; Best Director, to helmer Tom Hooper; Best Actor, to star Colin Firth; and Best Original Screenplay, to screenwriter David Seidler. The announcement was made by TWC's President of Theatrical Distribution and Home Entertainment Eric Lomis.
"Said Lomis, 'We are thankful to the MPAA for their wisdom and swift action in approving the release of THE KING'S SPEECH PG-13 release. The action enables those to whom it speaks most directly - young people who are troubled by stuttering, bullying and similar trials -- to see it.'
The trailer for the new Jim Carrey movie
By looking at the trailer below, we can see that the book has been updated to modern times and that, well ... Vanilla Ice might enjoy a brief resurgence. Also, kids will be asking for pet penguins for Christmas, which is obviously illegal and most parents won't go there. But, oh my. The power of cuteness is pretty potent. We might hear a story.
With that, watch the trailer.
The actor and director begin their fourth film together
Here's more from the Huffington Post:
"'Maybe I'm spending too much of my time starting up clubs and putting on plays. I should probably be trying harder to score chicks.'
"So said Max Fischer, played by Jason Schwartzman, in 'Rushmore,' his first film with Wes Anderson. Turns out, putting on plays has worked out pretty well.
"Schwartzman, it was announced on Wednesday, has joined the star studded cast of indie director Anderson's upcoming new film, 'Moonrise Kingdom.' His addition was announced alongside Edward Norton and Frances McDormand, who were already in talks for the film; they officially join Bruce Willis, Tilda Swinton and Bill Murray in the cast."
Remembering the legend and her movies ...
Oh no ... not Elizabeth Taylor.
As I wrote earlier today, the passing of Elizabeth Taylor at the too-young-for-Liz age of 79 is such a loss; it's tough to describe her death without resorting to prose that mirrors her legendary eyes -- purple. So, I'll just say right here, briefly, and in all caps befitting the occasion: RIP LIZ. SAD. BOOM! Oh, Liz! (And I haven't even discussed your brilliance in 'Boom!' yet) What a sad day. Your cat, Maggie and your hellcat Martha, will always be alive.
With that, and with "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf" in mind, here's five of Miss Taylor's memorable roles. There's so many, but these are five you should see -- immediately -- and please check out the honorable mentions as well. Miss Taylor deserves as much.
"A Place in the Sun" (1951)
There's nothing quite like young, tragic love. And George Stevens' "A Place in the Sun" understands this perfectly. By adapting Theodore Dreiser's masterful novel "An American Tragedy" with two of the most heart-stoppingly beautiful people in cinema (Montgomery Cllft and Taylor), Stevens immediately puts the viewer in the lovers' corner, no matter what they do. But it isn't just their looks that make you swoon; it's the chemistry and fragile performances. In the famous dance scene between the lonely, lovelorn Clift and the full of promise prize, Taylor, Stevens utilizes close-ups that obviously reveal the actors' beauty, but also how much they could say with their faces. Clift may be blurting out that he loves Taylor, but his pleading, poignant eyes reveal so many layers of desire, you know something is haunting him even if you don't fully understand the circumstances (he has just witnessed his pregnant girlfriend drown and, frantically in love with Taylor, he's chosen to do nothing about it). And Taylor gets him -- without saying a word. It's a brilliant dance macabre, but one of the most spine-tinglingly romantic moments of all time.
"Cat on a Hot Tin Roof" (1958)
Though the above film showed Tennessee Williams in all of his excessive glory, he also knew much about the simplicity of Southern sexiness. His work inspired the cinematic images of macho Marlon Brando hollering “Stella!” in his ripped white tee shirt in A Streetcar Named Desire and, more importantly, today Elizabeth Taylor slopping around in a form-fitting white slip in "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof." Well, she wasn’t exactly slopping—more like slinking. Taylor’s Maggie --“The Cat” of the title -- is a sexual animal unfulfilled by her disinterested hubbie (which must have been torturous for her, given that her husband is played by Paul Newman). Liz proved again why she was considered one of the most beautiful women in the world and yet there’s something almost regular about her. Like she’s on the cusp of dumpy. But even dumpy (see Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf), she absolutely smolders. Taylor devoured her role with such gusto, that to quote another Tennessee Williams tale Baby Doll (one of my favorites), she makes the viewer feel a little “hysterical.” In Tennessee Williams territory, that’s a good thing. A bad good thing.
"Suddenly, Last Summer" (1959)
Even scripter Gore Vidal admits to going way over-the-top with this Tennessee Williams adaptation, but bless the man for doing so. To please the production code, he had to -- making the film's homosexual character not only an enigma, but a faceless monster, perishing at the hands of fed-up native boys. Joseph L. Mankiewicz's "Suddenly" is a picture I watch with alarming frequency, but I can't fault myself -- the picture has it all -- Katharine Hepburn at her most evil scene chomping best, Miss Taylor donning not only the "it" bathing suit but being the "it" woman to procure young men for her confused cousin. Insane asylums, lobotomies, creepy Venus flytrap Gothic gardens, the Galapagos Islands, cannibalization! And the beautiful Montgomery Clift as Liz's supportive shrink. The movie finds the deliciously named Violet Venable (Hepburn) as a New Orleans widow unnaturally obsessed with her "poet" son Sebastian, who died while on vacation with her gorgeous niece Catherine (Taylor). Her fixation on Sebastian is Oedipal with a capital O, and her need to remove pretty Liz from the situation is scary. She wants to give the poor young woman a lobotomy. But Catherine's thoughtful shrink Monty will get to the bottom of this poisoned well leading to the movies memorable blood-curdling moment: When Liz screams "Help!" -- something that has invaded my dreams for years and years. A powerfully poignant, overwrought nasty elegance. And one of Taylor's greatest performances.
"Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf" (1966)
A shocking picture for 1966, Mike Nichols' debut film was an expletive-ridden salvo that frightened some and impressed many. So notable was Woolf that the picture that was the first to use the words "go*damn" and "bugger" went on to Oscars galore, earning Elizabeth Taylor a richly deserved second Academy Award. Taylor de-glammed herself to play opposite real life hubby Richard Burton in this brilliant adaptation of Edward Albee’s award-winning play, which concerns serious, searing dipsomaniacal dysfunction. “Braying” Martha enjoys calling her history professor husband George “Swampy”, “A cluck” and “A bog! A bog in the history department!” while fielding equally nasty jabs from George (“You have ugly talents”) in mind games that would make Dr. Phil’s head explode. And to top it off they invite guests! But while the dynamic dysfunctional duo hit below the belt, there is something oddly romantic to their union (I’m not kidding). At least they’ve stayed together and well, kept it interesting. Especially when she creatively exclaims why she’ll never leave him: “I swear if you existed I’d divorce you!”
"The Only Game in Town" (1970)
This is a hard one to find and a picture that's been much maligned since its release. But it's so very underrated and contains a wonderfully raw, fitfully faded performance by Taylor as a sort of second act to her Oscar winning Gloria in "Butterfield 8" (also great). I'm fascinated by the saggy, depressing, accidentally (maybe not accidentally?) quirky picture. Something of a disaster in its day, the movie deserves consideration not only for its interesting and downright strange performances by Warren Beatty and Elizabeth Taylor but for its effectiveness in showing just how lonely and depressing the idea of winning can be. Any kind of winning. Earning tremendously bad buzz for going over budget and for catering to Elizabeth Taylor’s location demands (the film wasn’t shot in Vegas but in Paris so the star could be with Richard Burton while he was making another movie), the picture is indeed bizarre at times, but its claustrophobic weirdness and poignant sadness gives it a power that wasn’t appreciated in its day. Both Taylor’s ex Vegas showgirl and Beatty’s compulsive gambler are losers waiting for their jackpot (Taylor to marry a rich guy, Beatty, to simply win big) which makes their relationship understandable even while being somewhat off. Directed by George Stevens (his final film), the film moves slowly, but it’s peppered by some terrific dialogue and memorable interplay between Taylor and Beatty. And how could that not be memorable?
But there's so much more of Liz to love. Other movies after the jump.
James Franco and Bruce Vilanch are still talking Oscar
OK -- let's keep this together because apparently this is the Oscar hosting drama that won't die.
With that, the above photo is Oscar writer Bruce Vilanch's explanation to this year's Oscar host James Franco after Vilanch criticized his hosting duties. Vilanch didn't mean it that way and is sorry, James is cool with it, Franco tweeted the above, and now we all know -- James Franco thinks most blogs are dumb.
Here's the story via The Huffington Post:
"Like most classic Hollywood dramas, this Oscar story has a happy ending after all.
Following what seemed to be an attack on his hosting performance by longtime Oscar writer Bruce Vilanch, a vengeful James Franco tweeted out a graffiti'd photo mocking Vilanch's career.
"The photo can be seen here.
"Turns out, Vilanch didn't quite mean what he said maliciously; in a message to Franco, he claimed that he actually defending his host. It reads, in part:
"'i was JOKING with this guy on the red carpet about all the sleeping jokes about you. he then got vehement about how bad you were and i was trying to DEFEND you. i don't know what version, what context you read these remarks in, but believe me, i would never diss you. that's not my style.'