Friday, December 31, 2010

Surfings on New Year's Eve ... Ewan McGregor, Robert Downey Jr. and the sexiest folks on the planet

An hour to spare on New Year's Eve is a good thing, so what do I do? Surf. Well, put the feet up, have a cup of coffee, and surf. And you'd be surprised what's sizzling...

Ewan McGregor: death threats on the set of his latest movie (!) and at last -- at long last -- I Love You, Philip Morris is getting an airing, starting at Christmas.

What's this about death threats against Ewan --? Seems a looney toon -- an American actor living in Thailand, playing extra parts -- would dearly like to put a knife into Ewan. But at least up till Christmas Eve he just wrote the desire into poems ... and was caught in Ewan's trailer, writing said iffy literature! Here's the rest of the story -- and it's bizarre, in a subtle kind of way. So off-key and under-played, you gotta remember the dialog given to Johnny Depp in his new one, when he's trying to convince the police of the importance of an attempted murder as opposed to, say, room service. Indulge yourself in a shiver.

Meanwhile, looks like the forgotten Phillip Morris gay romance is on the big screen at last and, surprise, surprise, it's getting good reviews. It opened right before Christmas, at last in some parts of the US, and here's the review from the Idaho Statesman. Better late than never ... and remember the old adage, "Success is the sweetest revenge."

Here's a really neat interview with Ewan ... you have to love the line, "You want coffee with that, Obiwan?"

Well, actually ... yes, ta.

So ... who's the sexiest human alive on the planet? I guess you'd have to allow for a he and a she in that category -- certainly did, and they came up with some very, very interesting results. Get this:

Guys voted Natalie Portman (currently pregnant) the sexiest lass on Earth this year ...

Gals voted Penelope Cruz the sexiest woman in the World. Which is a chalk mark for older women, because Cruz is 37. Oh yes, and also pregnant.

And meanwhile...

Guys voted Johnny Depp the sexiest man alive -- in praise of older fellas, yes? He's 47, and I was just saying the other day, he's delicious. But who did women vote for?

Gals also voted for Johnny Depp, with Robert Downey Jr., who's a debonair 45, behind him --

No Brad and Ange? No Orlie and, uh, so on? Nope. And no young-young folks. The youngest of the lot, here, is Natalie, who'll be 30 in six months.

Interesting that the consensus point, where both genders agreed, was Johnny. And the girls' choice of Robert Downey Jr. should be quite encouraging to guys who've actually learned to shave recently. Interestingly, Downey says he feels his age, and the limitations of it. Don't we all!

Now, that's worth writing home about. Or at least worth writing a blog post about, while I watch the countdown to the fireworks.

And you have to admit, this is nice:

Jack Sparrow at his tipsy best. The movie is going to be loads of fun. And for now --


Sunday, December 26, 2010

Hugh Jackman v. Shane Warne ... ah! Now, that's cricket!

A great treat for anyone who's into cricket, and following Hugh Jackman ... or into Hugh Jackman and following the cricket...

...and boy, can Hugh handle a cricket bat! In fact, given the absolute collapse of the Aussie batting side in this Boxing Day Test match, one wants to say the selectors need to bribe Shane Warne to come out of retirement and save the day, and also hire Hugh Jackman to replace one of the pretty useless Aussie batsmen.

Merry Christmas, cricket fans!

Avatar ... "see it again for the first time" -- trust me on this!

It's not often that I review a movie, much less a DVD, but this time I can't resist! This one actually came out waaay back on November 16, but since it was gift wrapped and under the Christmas tree, I had to wait for it...

It's the Avatar Extended Collector's edition -- 20 minutes longer than the 3D version we saw about a year ago. Verdict?

Whooooooo! Words fail me. In places, it's like you're seeing the movie for the first time. It must have broken the hearts of James Cameron and company, having to trim the movie to the theatrical release version. Especially as you'll find, on the disks, that even after 20 was put back in to create the 3-hour version seen here, there's still another 45 minutes of deleted scenes!

Meaning, one day (next Christmas?) They might field the 4-hour version, in ultra-widescreen, not to mention 3D, for those people who have the occasional five grand to invest in the tv set to play it. I'm not investing in 3D tellies for a while. The first ones to go on sale just months ago are already being called obsolete, so I'm waiting a few years till the technology is passe, it's good enough to a) be worth the asking price, b) be stable enough for the hardware not to go obsolete while cringe over your credit card balance. And also, there needs to be a lot more 3D movies to feed it, to make it worth the hammering the Visa card is going to take!

But this version... magnificent. There's no other word for it. If you've seen Avatar before, but haven't seen this version -- well, it only costs $19.99 in a sale, and if you can use it to invite yourself over to a mate's place, because you've got the DVD and they've got the bigscreen TV, so much the better. Have a look at this:

If you like your movies epic, as I do, and you like your SF breathtaking, just bite the bullet and buy it again!

One other thing: keep a box of kleenex handy, because the additional material puts a heavy kick into situations and scenes that were already highly-charged.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

The panic about Johnny Depp's face

I was on one of the celebrity/movie forums the other day, and didn’t know if I ought to be appalled, amused, anxious, or just cave in to an age-old case of ennui.

In certain Juvenile Fangirl circles there’s a bit of a panic on. It’s all about Johnny Depp’s face.

You would not believe (well, maybe you would!) the things they’re saying about him. The remarks would be called spiteful, hurtful, if they weren’t simply so stupid that you can just visualize the vapid little creatures making them – and, well, one doesn’t get cross with the intellectually challenged for being intellectually challenged. Or, one shouldn’t.

It’s all about how Johnny looks in the new movie, The Tourist. Apparently, according to these fangirls, his face looks “bloated and wrinkly” – in fact, according to two of them (and no one else argued the point) he looks like Pavarotti. One curious little creature remarked, “I think my heart just imploded,” and another commented, “I never thought the day would come when Johnny Depp would be unattractive to me.”

The bottom line is, “What’s wrong with his face?????!!!!!”

Oh , dear.

As anyone who has spent more than a handful of years living on this planet knows with painfully acuity… sorry dudes, it’s perfectly natural. It’s so natural, it has a name. We call it “the ageing process,” and it happens to everyone at some age between about 36 and 45.

Johnny Depp is now 47. He doesn’t look like he’s 34 anymore. Short of plastic surgery, there’s nothing much you can do about it, and as a lifetime smoker he’s not going to get plastic surgery … well, not and have it heal properly. Whacko Jacko, here we come, if we’re not careful.

Mother Nature was uncommonly kind to Johnny. Other guys’ looks blow out when they’re in their late thirties – and the early warning signs are frequently there when they’re far younger. Johnny hung onto incredibly young looks for a whole decade longer, and that’s probably due to genetics, because he sure as heck hasn’t been kind to his body. Substance abuse is not a prescription for longevity (nor is longevity the same thing as looking young into your 50s).

But time is passing, my children! Even for Johnny. In fact, unless your name is Peter Pan or Dorian Grey, this is one of life’s most challenging realities. Even if people stay very fit and very healthy, the ageing process is ticking away in the background. You can be as fit and healthy as you were at 30 or 35, but at 50 or 55, the changes will show in your face, because the shape of the face changes with every decade we live. The prime example of this is Jackie Chan, who is so fit at 56, there ought to be a law against it ... but human genetics decide the shape of one’s face at 25, at 40, at 55... and being in-shape has nooooothing to do with it:

A loooong time ago, in my mostly misspent youth, I actually qualified as a beautician. Didn’t go through to beauty therapist, because I started to get terrible allergic reactions to the chemicals in the cosmetics; also, over six months of classes, I never saw one of the expensive salon cosmetic treatments actually work to retard anyone’s ageing. It all started to look like a big con job, and since I was sick of having rashes, itching and sneezing at the toxic (!) chemical goo people paid $100 to have plastered on the thinnest skin on their bodies … suffice to say, I quit while I was ahead. But I came out of the experience with enough certificates to work as a beautician if I wanted to (which I don’t), and also with a clear understanding of why the face changes as we get older.

But you wouldn’t be interested in why. To quote Threepio, “Don’t get technical with me!” So we’ll look at the “how,” not the “why.” And I asked an artist mate of mine, who has the fundamental artist’s eye -- and who specializes in depicting faces and bodies -- to write the next paragraph. So here’s Jade, to tell you in as few words as possible, how the human face changes over time:

“The visible change is due to how tissues “drape” on the facial bones. Soft tissues are held in place by skin that never stops growing, long as we live. The older we get, the more skin we have, and the less “firm” the tissues become inside the skin. You start to see baby jowls at about 35. By 40 the force of gravity is starting to get obvious. In your 40s, for some reason (no one knows why; it just does) your face fills out. It spreads sideways, so your cheeks fill out. Gravity pulls it down, hence the jowls. By 50, most people are heavy-ish in the jaw. By 60, most are thick-faced, jowly. The neck seems to be thickening – part of it’s facial tissues heading south due to gravity and skin which is now far too slack (there’s too much of it) to hold the face up where it used to be. Meanwhile, the always-growing skin makes the eyes start to look smaller, because the lids get bigger. Your eyes aren’t shrinking, but eyelids droop because they’re growing. Top lids close over the eyes, making them look smaller; bottom lids get baggy. The face looks “tired.” By 70, everyone’s skin is thinning – even guys, whose skin starts out far thicker than female skin. You start to lose complexion around 55 – 60; by 70 European skin is usually pale or (if you’re olive skinned) sallow, with a tendency to “age spots” (skin pigment irregularities. The process starts in your 40s, but you confuse them with freckles), and when you tan you start to look like brown paper, not healthy young skin. Cartilages also keep growing. By 60-65, everyone’s nose and ears are visibly bigger. Meanwhile, sun, smokes and booze cause wrinkles. You can always avoid wrinkles (don’t do drugs, smokes and booze, and stay out of the sun. Duh), but even if you never get wrinkles, your face will be different in every decade of your life due to skin growth and gravity.”

...and let's poodle down memory lane across about 25 years, to see this in action:

Thanks to Jade for that. She’s not a beauty therapist, she’s an artist. Check out her art blog here, to see the breadth of her experience in making, and depicting, human faces. She knows intimately how the human face ages, because of painting, drawing and modelling it in 3D.

And there you have it, folks. Johnny Depp is 47, and the only way he’s going to look 34 again is plastic surgery. Here’s the downside: smokers are considered poor candidates for plastic surgery, because they don’t heal properly. Smoking destroys your peripheral circulation. Johnny’s a life-long smoker, so the risks of surgery are too high. Also, press and general public alike love to ridicule men who have plastic surgery for youthening, and when it goes wrong you’re widely touted as one of the biggest idiots on the street, and also guilty of the sin of vanity. Uh…huh.

So … sorry, dudes, here’s your bottom line: Johnny Depp looks like an absolutely drop-dead GORGEOUS 47. Which is exactly what he is. There is nothing wrong with his face. It’s perfectly normal. It happens to us all at about 45, plus or minus a couple of years for whatever reason, and the surgeon’s knife is the only alternative … but not for smokers.

To Senior Fangirls of my age (I’m 50. Ish) we recognize aaallllll the signs, because they’re happening to us too. To Juvenile Fangirls of 20 who have not yet lived on this planet for long enough to know the realities, what can I say?

It’s time to find out if you’re in love with the man or his face. If you love the man, you’ll see that he’s drop-dead gorgeous … he just isn’t all that terribly young anymore, and you’ll love him to bits for many other reasons beside the cheekbones and eyes and lips that have changed with time.

And incidentally where is it written than he must remain young, when only Dorian Grey and Peter Pan ever beat the clock?!

If it turns out that you were actually in love with sculpted cheeks, vast, lustrous eyes, a shaggy mane of thick dark hair, and sensuously pouting lips, rather than being in love with Johnny Depp himself … it’s simply time to hitch up to another young star with quite similar qualities. I suggest you have a look at Ben Barnes (29 last August) … but be prepared to switch again in about 15 years, because the same thing is going to happen to Ben.

It’s one of the natural parts of being human. Older fangirls know all about this, kids. It’s a tough lesson to learn, innit?

But for the ultimate stupidity, and the note on which I’ll close today I’m going to defer to a complete berk commenting on a YouTube video of a retired sportsman, a former cricketing hero who is now 56. “I hate seeing people like [him] grow old,” said our guest idiot. “People like sporting heroes, rock stars and actors should have the decency to die young…”

And that takes the cake, leaves you dumbfounded, doesn’t it? We have laws about expressing prejudice regarding color, race and religion … where’s the law controlling the spiteful, hurtful and outright stupid dialog we permit regarding the prejudice against the natural human ageing process? Where’s the regulation stating that it is against the Code of Practise of public websites to say that premature death should be prerequisite for anyone born with the attributes of Orlando Bloom or Christopher Plummer (there, that’s confounded you, hasn’t it? Because he’s 84 years old now … and I remember him near stark-naked, dressed in gold jewelry and feathers, with a hip-length mane of raven hair, and a lissom bronzed body to die for …)

Message to Johnny: “Ignore ’em, sweetheart. You’re gorgeous, and you know you are. Let ’em grow up, and if their memories are long enough they’ll blush at the stupidity they’re posting today.”

Message to Christopher: “Some of us have long memories, and … nothing is forgotten. Nothing is even halfway forgotten. [insert yummy sound]”

Message to Ben: “Go for it kid – give ’em hell, and have a grand time doing it! Don’t tarry … d’you know the poem? 'The bird of time has but a little way to fly, and lo, the bird is on the wing.'”

And here, have a couple more pictures ... on the mouse, as Captain Jack would say:

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Coming up for the third time: Brad and Ange ... getting Brangelated. At last!

Or is it the fourth time? I've lost count! Seems like every 6 - 12 months the magazine covers are all reporting Brad and Ange married in secret, at ceremonies so private even their friends didn't know they'd done it. Uh...huh.

But this one could be real. This time around it's a wedding in the planning, and it's not the ordinary hitching. It's a Hindu wedding set to take place in Jodhpur, with their guru presiding.

Sounds great to me. I just have three hopes:

1) This is a true story and they actually are planning to do it;

2) They really go through with it when push comes to shove; and

3) The marriage lasts longer than the courtship.

Come on, kids, let's see you do it! And if you'd like to know more, the whole story broke in the Indian press earlier today am spilled over into the western press a few hours later. Here's a link -- -- and a quick tickle of Google will turn up a load of goodies on Siddha yoga, and "guru to the stars" Ram Lal Siya.

Oh, what the heck? Let's have some more pictures, while we're here. Don't you hate those blogs and sites where they dole out the news in bits you could inhale without even sneezing, and then give you one little picture for your time and trouble of gracing their pages? It's not as if there's a shortage of pictures for goshsakes! Here -- feast your eyes, and enjoy:

Monday, December 13, 2010

Dick van Dyke -- Happy 85th!!

Happy 85th birthday to one of my all-time favorite entertainers -- Dick van Dyke. This guy was one of the faces and voices of my childhood, which is something I guess I share with a lot of people in this age group -- anything from 40 to 60. I'll never forget some of the movies like Mary Poppins and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang ... and then being dumbfounded at the man's verve, energy and charisma in Night at the Museum.

Here's the thing of it: movies are a time machine. You watch the same movie at 10 and at 30, and you see two different movies. As a kid you just see the adventure and love the movie -- the flying car and all. At 30, you're going, "Lionel Jeffries was fantastic in that," and "Gawd, d'you remember Benny Hill and Stanley Unwin? Those were the days," and "Whoah, that's one damned attractive hunk of male -- what have I been missing?"

You notice, you read some really, really stupid things on YouTube. Like the complete idiot who thought Dick van Dyke was born a Cockney, because he played one Cockney part in his entire career. Cheese-zeus. His Cockney accent was good, but not quite good enough to pass the sniff test of real Londoners (who apparently can pick the flaws in Johnny Depp's Cockney -- inFrom Hell, for example. At which point I started to conclude that it's all in their imagination, because Johnny Depp's Cockney is utterly, absolutely, totally identical to Michael Caine, who is Cockney born and bred -- and anything else is all in your head).

Sorry for the digression. YouTube is great, but sometimes the comments get you steamed up.

Happy Birthday, Dick van Dyke ... and may you be entertaining us for many, many years to come!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Shane Warne bowls his maiden over ... howzat?!!

It's official, sports fans: the golden boy of Australian cricket is shacked up (or in the process of shacking up -- that being a verb: "that I shall have shacked up") with one of moviedom's bad girls -- Liz Hurley herself.

A couple of months ago Liz's marriage to Indian hubby Arun Nayar fizzled, and she's been spotted in London canoodling with Shane at a major hotel ... and looking out from one of the celebrity suites, in the same company. Which makes is official enough to be worth a post right here.

Shane was up to his bowling arm in scandal a few years ago, when he was caught cheating on the wife with an English lass whose charms were ... pneumatic would be the diplomatic term. Golly, what does he see in Liz?

Weellllll, maybe that's a no-brainer. There is another question, but. The reverse of the above. Hmmm.

And speaking of Shane, with the current Ashes series turning into Ritual Slaughter for the Australians, there's fans by the boatload down on their knees, begging "Warney" to come out of retirement, out the baggy green back on, get out there and save the day.

Seems Shane has better things to do!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Farewell Leslie Nielsen

It seems like only last week that I was writing a brief obit for another Canadian personality, Maury Chaykin ... and today is sad, because we farewell a Canadian legend, never mind a personality. Leslie Nielsen passed away at the age of 84, of pneumonia. He was born in Regina, Saskatchewan, in 1926, and and the first time I saw him he was on another planet ... a forbidden planet, in fact.

Across more than 40 years I saw him in more movies than I can count, but I'll always remember him as Buck Frobisher in Due South. The show's folk lore says that the film crew didn't even know how to lace Constable Benton Fraser's Mountie boots up right, till Leslie showed 'em how when he guest-starred in an early first season episode. Turns out, his dad had been a Mountie!

Farewell, Leslie Nielsen. You will definitely be missed by about three generations of movie and TV fans. Here's the whole story on IMDB, in far more depth than I could hope to approximate here.