Tuesday, November 27

Liz & Dick

The Film Fatales suffer senselessly through a Lifetime movie.

2012. 88 minutes. Starring Lindsay Lohan and Grant Bowler. Directed by Lloyd Kramer. Appearing on Lifetime – Television for Women Who Need to Stop Watching Lifetime and Realize There’s Better Entertainment to Be Had Elsewhere.

On the set of Cleopatra…Elizabeth Taylor, fell into the arms of one of the world's greatest actors, Richard Burton - and she didn't leave. Their subsequent white-hot, scandalous love affair gave rise to the paparazzi and they became the most hunted and photographed couple on earth….This Elizabeth Taylor - Richard Burton story is a no-holds barred account of their undying, but impossible love. [imdb]

Nicole: 88 minutes. 88 minutes never felt so long in my entire life. Except that one time at the DMV when I had to get my picture retaken. But even that was less painful than the torturous 88 minutes it took to tell the story of Liz Taylor and Richard Burton’s tempestuous love affair. I suffered through it, thanks in part to having it play in the background while I shopped for holiday gifts online then resorted to playing Bejeweled. Judge me, go ahead. But I highly doubt you would have done any different – lest you’re some kind of masochist and actually enjoyed this film. I can’t even use the word film. Film is too good a word for this waste of celluloid. 

elizabeth: I just love your description of the Lifetime channel. I am always a little uncomfortable putting Lifetime on while the TV is plugged in. How did Project Runway end up on it? We were talking about Liz and Dick. I mean, you were. The commercials were enough to keep me away. I did sneak a look, but the only two people who can play Liz and Dick are dead. Case closed. If you want to see steam come off your 236” flat screen then watch some of the old footage of Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton.

Nicole: OK, insults accounted for – why was it so bad? Two words: Lindsay Lohan. Only if I put a piece of cheesecloth over my face and stuffed my ears full of cotton would Lindsay Lohan look and sound like Liz Taylor. In what high-on-crack universe did the casting agents responsible for this “film” think Lindsay Lohan was up to the task of playing Liz Taylor? Was Sean Young not available? Was Courtney Love too busy? Was Rose McGowan having her face dramatically altered again? Frankly, I can’t think of any reason why the geniuses over at Lifetime thought Lindsay Lohan could master the part – except that those clever, conniving fiends figured everyone would tune in to see the inevitable train wreck. Screw quality – we want numbers! That’s what it’s all about in the end, ain’t it? Ratings. 

Lindsay – a word of advice. Fire your agent and stick to comedies. Try channeling yourself circa Mean Girls. Don’t try to challenge yourself. Stay comfortably in your niche and enjoy a profitable career. 

elizabeth: I feel a great deal of sadness  toward Lindsay Lohan. She didn’t ask for her life to totally unfold in front of us. The hell with the movie and the part she was not born to play. She needs to step back and tell all of the manipulative people in LA to go feast on someone else’s bare bones. Her real talent will be there when she gets back to being Lindsay. I just hope the reviews will not cause her to plummet even further down an unforgiving rabbit hole.

Nicole: When the hell did you become nicer than me? Quit it. 

The Film Fatales give Liz & Dick

Sunday, November 25


The Film Fatales, a couple of New York yanks, court President Lincoln.

2012. 150 mins. Starring Daniel Day Lewis, Sally Field, Tommy Lee Jones and David Strathairn. Screenplay by Tony Kushner. Directed by Steven Spielberg.

As the Civil War continues to rage, America's president struggles with continuing carnage on the battlefield and as he fights with many inside his own cabinet on the decision to emancipate the slaves. [imdb]

Nicole: Upon seeing the first stills from the set of this movie, I had a feeling it would be a masterpiece. Daniel Day Lewis in full Lincoln costume – uncanny resemblance. Those stills and the previews that followed proved my hunch right. Spielberg honored Lincoln, arguably our greatest president, with a delicate respect and truthfulness. By relying on Doris Kearns Goodwin’s weighty tome “Team of Rivals,” Spielberg was certain to make film history. Source material aside, this film might not have been as masterfully crafted if not for Spielberg’s careful and dedicated direction.

elizabeth: I also knew upon walking into the theatre that this would be a movie for the ages.  We all know how it ends, so I appreciated the very intimate portrayal into the life of this gentle man, his family and the country he presided over. Spielberg’s genius in taking this book to film made me grieve for the potential that ended at the Ford Theatre on April 15, 1865. I walked out wanting to read Kearns Goodwin’s book and Santa if you are listening…

Nicole: As for the cast – it’s hard to imagine better. I think Daniel Day Lewis was born to play this role. At times, he disappeared into Lincoln and I was certain I was watching Lincoln himself. Day Lewis’ portrayal afforded us a look at Lincoln’s sense of humor, innate gift for telling stories, and affectionate character.  Day Lewis turned Lincoln from a political icon into a human being. If he doesn’t win the Oscar, he’ll have truly been robbed.

Sally Fields, who fought hard for this role despite the 10-year age difference between her and Day Lewis, was also remarkable. The tired, old POV of Mary Todd Lincoln as a hysterical, irrational woman is now cast aside. Instead, we’re given what is probably a more accurate picture of Mrs. Lincoln: A woman struck with grief over the untimely death of her middle son. A woman who was not afraid to mourn in a time period when prolonged grief was often misconstrued for madness. Fields delved deeper into Mrs. Lincoln’s personality, producing a feisty, outspoken and fiercely devoted mother and wife.

elizabeth: I have to agree with you on Day Lewis and Field. Daniel Day Lewis is the finest and most gifted actor we have around and while I would like to see him up on the screen more often, I am glad that he waits for a role that propels him to shed his own skin and become the character. Trust me when I say this, you are not watching Daniel up on that screen. Somehow and I don’t know how he does it, but he is channeling Lincoln in this movie. He is Lincoln. And I admired how Day Lewis captured Lincoln’s gift of storytelling as well as his subtle and amusing sense of the absurd. I won’t add another word about Sally Fields’ Mary Lincoln, It annoys me to say this, but your comments on Field’s compelling and heartbreaking performance are spot on. 

Nicole: Other standouts – Tommy Lee Jones and James Spader. I won’t discuss their roles too much, because the former’s payoff is truly rewarding and the latter’s humorous turns are a total treat. If I had anything at all negative to say, it would be only that the historical figures portrayed are many and we might have benefitted from better identification and a touch more back story. But, that’s nothing cracking open a book won’t cure. Overall, I think this movie will stand at the apex of biopics. Any future filmmakers and actors who attempt to tackle the story and roles in the future will have a very difficult time surpassing this incredible feat.

elizabeth: Another stand out performance is the cinematography. It holds all the characters and storylines together. The reduction of color casts such a somber mood over the film and rightfully so. The country was in the middle of a bloody war between the states and a highly contested vote to emancipate the slaves was coming up. Mr. Lincoln, we could use you right about now. This is what going to the movies should always be about. Well, this and the upcoming Hangover 3.

The Film Fatales give Lincoln

Monday, November 12

The Film Fatales’ Casting Couch

The Film Fatales are taking names 
and recasting some of your favorite movies.

Nicole: So, Cassidy – ever found yourself watching a movie and thinking: “God, this is a great movie, but it would be soooooooooo much better if so-and-so were playing the lead”?

I can think of three movies in particular that I’d love to recast. In fact, watching them now with my choices in mind makes them almost hard to watch – thinking of what could have been if H-wood had only made the right choices!

elizabeth: You got to get out in the fresh air more often. I have to say that I don’t really think about it although I know one certain actor ruins it for me all the time. Read on.

Nicole’s Casting Couch

Moonstruck. 1987. Starring Cher and Nicolas Cage.

Nicolas Effing Cage. Look, it’s a mystery to me why after spending years ruining delightful romantic comedies he’s now an action hero – but I prefer him in that genre rather than anything remotely romantic in theme. I know Cher handpicked Cage for this role, but she screwed up. There, I said it. Who should have gotten the role: Mickey Rourke. Hang on, hang on. Before you get your panties all in a bunch – this was pre-wrestling/pre-plastic surgery Rourke. I’m talking Diner Rourke. See? Now you’re reading me loud and clear, aren’t you? Let it sink in and the next time you watch Moonstruck, it’s gonna hit you like a ton of bricks. 

Chicago. 2002. Starring Renee Zellweger, Catherine Zeta Jones and Richard Gere.

I bet you think I’m going to recast Zellweger here, huh? Nope. As much as I want to, she sold this role. It’s Gere. Sure, I know there’s a long history of Billy Flynn’s having a sincere lack of musical prowess, and Gere did an OK job considering. It could have been a lot worse. But, now – take a minute…and sit down, ‘cause your knees will buckle after I make my case: think how much better this movie could have been with Hugh Jackman in the Billy Flynn role. Yep. It’s all you can think about, huh? Yup. Me, too. Sigh. Sad it didn’t happen. He’s a triple threat (strike that – quadruple): He can act, sing, dance and look smokin’ hot – all at the same time. A seriously tragic example of missed-opportunity casting. 

The Bridges of Madison County. 1995. Starring Meryl Streep and Clint Eastwood.

I think you know right off the bat who I’m recasting here. Yes, sometimes I am predictable. Look, when I think romantic lead – I’m not thinking Dirty Harry and the octogenarian who currently talks to empty chairs. No, when I want some shootin’ up and takin’ names, I’ll call in Clint. But, for stoking the fire of a whirlwind love affair, I’m calling in the big guns: Robert Redford. I almost can’t even think about it without flying into a rage at the piss-poor casting of this film. My God, did the producers of Bridges never see Out of Africa? Now, that’s chemistry. Oh, for frick’s sake. You don’t cast Clint Eastwood in a movie that’s made for Robert Redford. You just don’t. Sucker, please.  

elizabeth’s Casting Couch (is all fluffed up and ready)

I am going to pick on one actor who has always leaned on my last nerve since his first starring role. I don’t get his appeal. He is like a nerdy high school boy who would have loved feeling up some girl at the movies, but never did get the chance. So he took up acting and now I avoid his movies like the plague while millions of people do a semi worship-like dance around him. So excuse the pun, but I am pointing my cruise missile at Mr. Tom Cruise.

A Few Good Men. 1992. Starring Little Tommy Cruise, Jack Nicholson, Demi Moore and Kevin Bacon.

It felt like he was playing dress up in his big brother’s uniform and his performance did not ring true to me. At all. I think Tom should lay off the sugar before he does another film. Calm down a tad. Couldn’t you just see George Clooney playing this role of Lt. Daniel Kaffee? He would have been so cool and totally in charge. Clooney would have shut Jack Nicolson up with just a raised eyebrow. And that would work on me, too. Just in case George is reading our reviews.

Rock of Ages. 2012. Starring Tom without a shirt on. (Who cares?)

When I heard that Tom Cruise was going to play a hot, heavy metal rock star from the 1980s, I threw up a little in my mouth. Who handled the casting for this movie? Now if they had listened to me (alas, they forgot to consult with me), they would have been on the short list for multiple Oscars if they had only cast Javier Bardem in the Stacee Jaxx role. Hell, I would have found Joe Pesce more to my liking than Cruise in this role. Okay, I am lying right about now about Pesce. But I can see Javier sans shirt singing just to me. You can leave now.

Interview with the Vampire: The Vampire Chronicles. 1994. Starring Tom Cruise, Brad Pitt and Kirsten Dunst.

Ann Rice’s Interview with the Vampire was one of my favorite books and then someone thought, “Let’s cast Tom Cruise in the movie version.” Your mother is on the phone and you’re in trouble.This is a casting mistake of epidemic proportions. When I think of a vampire in all his finery checking out my neck for a late night libation, Mr. Cruise is not in the same country as moi.  If I am going to give it up for anyone, it shall be Colin Firth.

Now it’s your turn – get on the couch!
So who do you think was miscast in a movie? Don’t be shy. Do tell.