Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Burlesque

I've never been one to listen to what critics have to say about movies. For the most part, I don't enjoy Oscar nominated films. "Jennifer's Body" is one of my favorite movies, and it's no secret that it bombed - critically and financially. But I just hold my head high and ignore the hate for movies I love (or want to love based on trailers.) As soon as I saw the trailer for "Burlesque," I knew I would have to prepare myself for all of the anti-"Burlesque" hate that was sure to come my way. If I've learned anything from all of my years reading movie reviews, it's that, for the most part, critics hate performance-based movies. Shall We Dance, Center Stage, Center Stage, Crossroads, Glitter... Fine, some of those movies aren't that great. But I still enjoy them.


"Burlesque," which has a 34% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, is the next film in the performance-based genre to be torn apart by critics... for basically no reason. Is it the best movie out there? No. Is it the next "Chicago"? No. Does it deserve to be called "worse than Showgirls?" Hell no.

True, it's predictable and cliche. And Christina Aguilera may not be winning any awards of the non-Razzie variety for her portrayal of Ali, but it's clear that this movie wasn't made for that. It's about the songs, it's about the dancing, it's about burlesque. While the plot is slow at times, all of the performances do more than make up for it. The soundtrack is flashy and sexy... and, I speak from experience, fun to dance/work out to in one's bed room, but the filming of these performances, also flashy and sexy, stand out with quick flashes of skin and sequins.

SIDE NOTE: I may be biased... I would see (and enjoy) ANYTHING featuring Kristen Bell. She can do no wrong. And yes, before you ask, I DID see "When In Rome." And I own it on DVD.
Some highlights of the film, besides musical numbers, include a VERY brief (but very memorable) appearance by Glee's Dianna Agron, who brings "Angry Bitch" to the big screen flawlessly. Adding to the "Bitch" quota of the film is Kristen Bell, who exchanges some great one-liners with Aguilera. Also, the friendship of Stanley Tucci and Cher's characters is one that both warmed my heart and made me laugh out loud - two qualities that any great relationship should have.


It also didn't hurt to have Christina's love interest in the film shirtless on more than one occasion. Especially since he is played by the Eye-gasm, Cam Gigandet. You will never hear me complain about a movie where I see his bare ass on my screen. Ever.


But no, the movie was NOT perfect. As stated before, the plot was slow at times. Also, there seemed to be big build-ups in some sub-stories, only to have the "climax" and resolutions less than fulfilling. For example, many characters warn Ali to beware of Eric Dane throughout the whole movie. He can't be trusted, etc... It turns out that he is looking out only for himself, but that's not nearly as exciting as having him attempt to rape her... which is what I thought was going to happen. Maybe it's just me? Besides that, it took me more than half the movie to realize it took place in the present. Based on Christina's awful hair and the song selection in the first half of the movie, I thought this was a 90's period piece. Incorrect.



Bad hair and no attempted rape aside, I loved this movie. But, see the movie and judge for yourself. And if you don't enjoy the movie, you can at least put on a pair of booty shorts and some knee socks and reenact some dance numbers while you listen to the soundtrack in your bed room. What do you think I've been doing as I typed this?

Monday, November 29, 2010

Sexy, Trashy Friday: Queen B vs. Harajuku Barbie

I first realized I wanted to grow up to be a Sassy Black Woman (SBW) when I was a young lad of 5 or 6. My family didn't have Disney Channel (because in those days, you had to pay extra for it), but those special weekends throughout the year when Disney Channel gave free access to everyone, I made my grand fatherwhip out blank VHS tapes and record "Adventures in Wonderland." Little did he know I was watching so that I could one day grow up to be the Queen of Hearts.


But because we live in a sick nation where society tells young white boys they will never grow up to be a SBW, I repressed those feelings and went living my life as a Sassy White Boy, instead. For 14 years, I held my SBW inside, keeping my sass, class and weave hidden from the world. And then something happened to me. And her name was Lil Kim.


I was obsessed, and there was no hiding it. No longer would I hide my SBW. There was no reason to. Kim taught me it was okay to be flashy and to flaunt my fabulousness, and I did. Eventually, she seemed to disappear, but I had her hits on mix CDs to keep me in check. My SBW was here to stay. Other independent women stepped in my life to keep me going strong - Beyonce, the bitch from "Save the Last Dance," Rihanna, Queen Latifah, Jennifer Hudson. It was okay that Kim was out of the spotlight. She made her dent in my life and was letting others finish molding me.

In 2009, she appeared on "Dancing With The Stars." I didn't watch. She wasn't the same. She wasn't making music. She had bad plastic surgery. I just wanted to remember my Kim from early 2000's. To me, Kim 2K10 didn't exist. I would always hold Kim: The Early Years close to my heart, but I would no longer be following her career.

Earlier this year, the world began speaking of another rap goddess making a name for herself: Nicki Minaj. At first, I was hesitant. But as soon as she spit her first rhyme in my ear, I knew I had a new role model. Suddenly, Nicki BLEW UP. She was everywhere. If you were a relevant artist in 2010, Nicki was rapping on your album. I wanted to be her for Halloween. Scratch that. I wanted to be her in LIFE. I was in love.


But not everyone felt this way. Especially not a certain plastic faced former rap goddess... She had choice words for my princess, my Barbie. And she spouted hate every chance she could. "WHYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY?!?!" I thought, screaming like Nancy Kerrigan post-beating. My two favorite baddest bitches in the biz having a feud. Lil Kim accuses Nicki of stealing her style... blah, blah, blah. Just because she's a female rapper who is owning the charts? Does George Washington accuse Obama of stealing his style? Does Biggie accuse Weezy of stealing his style? No... George & Biggie have both passed, but even if they were still around, I don't think they would... So why all this Nicki hate from Kim?!

Oh. Kim has an album coming out early 2011? It's suddenly making sense. It's smart, Kim. Ride that Nicki train all the way to the bank. CHOO CHOO. I was okay with it.

UNTIL "Black Friday." Spitting hate at Nicki in interviews wasn't enough for Kim anymore... she released a track attacking Nicki and her album, Pink Friday. Not okay.

First off... the lyric that listeners seem to be quoting/loving is "It’ll be a murder scene/I’m turning Pink Friday to Friday the 13th."  ....The Friday the 13th reference has been done before, bitch. BY NICKI. In Ludacris's "My Chick Bad," Nicki says "It's going down, basement/Friday the 13th, guess who's playin' Jason?" So go ahead, Kim... turn it into a murder scene because Nicki will SLAUGHTER your ass.

She also uses Nicki's song "Right Thru Me" against her, using a clip from the song... which I'm sure she did not get permission for using. So I can only hope that after Nicki is done slaughtering Kim's ass that she sues it.
 
I have not forgotten where I came from. Kim gave birth to my SBW. But when she got up and left me on someone's doorstep, it was a group effort to make sure I was raised correctly. And I'm under Nicki's wing now and won't turn my back on her just because Kim is trying to step back into my life... 
 
I hope you had fun on "Dancing With The Stars," Kim, because Nicki owns the charts now... and let's face it - you're not welcome there anymore.

Nicki Minaj is Pretty in "Pink"



Originally scheduled to drop on Black Friday to tie in with her "Pink Friday" title, Nicki Minaj's debut album arrived in stores a week ago from today, Monday, November 22. While Tuesday is the designated day for CDs/DVDs to be released, Minaj found a way... yet again... to think outside the box and show how different she is. Releasing it on a Monday. Get it, girl.

The CD has been out for a week now, and the reviews are in. A lot of people are giving it luke warm (at best) reviews, and I get it. But do I agree? Of course not.

The biggest criticism of the album is that it is filled with slow, ballad-like songs, and Nicki doesn't show the side of her we've all come to love. While it's true that "Pink Friday" doesn't seem like it's coming from the same crazy bitch that brought us the verses in Kanye's "Monster" or Ludacris's "My Chick Bad," it's still an unfair critique. Why? Because Nicki is a self proclaimed Barbie, and she is showing us another role that she can slip into. Why can Barbie have so many sides - teacher, figure skater, astronaut, actress, socialite, President of the United States - but Nicki has to keep up appearances as "Crazy Bitch Nicki" 100%?

Yes, I like Nicki the best when she's slipping into British accents and threatening people's lives (as she does in "Roman's Revenge" with Eminem), but I can also appreciate her mellow, toned down raps, as well. In fact, two of the slowest songs on the album, "Fly" featuring Rihanna and "Save Me" are two of my favorite tracks.

No, it's not as good as some of the other albums that have been released recently... (Will anything beat Kanye's? I'm not sure.), but it's better than some of the other ones out there (Taylor & Rihanna, I love your work... but I'm talking to you.) In interviews, Nicki said that she wanted this album to be for everyone, and it shows. "Crazy Bitch Nicki" makes an appearance for a song or two, but there's also some pop vibes and ballads... Not one song sounds like any other song on the CD, and some other artists out there right now can't really say the same thing about their albums.

As we've all seen before, Nicki KILLS it when she is working with others. If I were her kindergarten teacher, I would give this girl an "A+" under "Plays Well With Others." I've already mentioned "Monster" and "My Chick Bad," but she's torn up so many other tracks this year with so many other artists. Willow Smith, Usher, Jay Sean, Trey Songz.  And it shows in her album, as well. Her best tracks are those featuring other artists - from previously mentioned Eminem and Rihanna to Will.i.am, Drake, and Kanye... the gang's all here, and they are WORKIN' IT.

Would I prefer Nicki's next album to be the one everyone expected? "Crazy Nicki" going bonkers and spitting rhymes in different accents? Obviously. But until then, I'll have "Pink Friday" on repeat.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Red Riding Hood

Screw "Tangled" and "Beastly." Okay, don't. I want to see both of them... but no matter your feelings on either of these fairytales with a twist, it's obvious that the only one that matters out of upcoming movies of this genre is "Red Riding Hood," starring Amanda Seyfried.


I've loved "Little Red Riding Hood" as soon as I heard it as a young child. Something about cross dressing wolves just gets me. Especially when the Tran-Wolf gets murdered at the end as revenge for eating grandmas and attacking young girls. It's like CSI: Fairy Tale Edition, and I love it. I would use "Little Red Riding Hood" as the basis for whenever I had to do fairytale-inspired projects. In high school, my theater arts class had to modernize a children's book. Clearly, my group did "Little Red In The Hood" - a rap version set in New York. Pimp wolves spittin' rhymes, sluts in red capes... it was literary gold. In college, my interdisciplinary arts class had to do a fairytale project combining theatre and a fairytale. Clearly, I did a "Little Red Riding Hood" puppet show. What can I say? It's my go-to fairytale.

So imagine my happiness when I heard "Little Red Riding Hood" was going to be a movie.

And then multiply that by 10 when I discovered Amanda Seyfried (Karen Smith, Lily Kane, Needy Lesnicki, Savannah Curtis) was in.

And multiply THAT by 1,000 when I found out the plot was involving werewolves.
Vampires are SO 2008. Team Jacob.

This is going to be my new favorite movie. Or it will suck.

Either way, I'm seeing it opening night. And probably more than once...

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Criss-Cross'ed

When Glee first began, I knew I loved Puck from the first minute I saw him on my screen. I wasn't sure if he was going to be a main character or just stay in the background saying anti-gay remarks about Finn joining glee club. Either way, I didn't care. I just loved this tan, mohawked stud on my screen no matter the amount of time he actually spent on there. But then an episode called "Acafellas" happened, and I knew Glee was on to something. Puck was shirtless. And had a nipple ring. And in another scene, he sang. I had found television gold.

And then I heard whispers that the reason Puck was so homophobic/such a bully was because he was secretly gay. Had the gods heard my prayers? Or at least... had Ryan Murphy? Maybe not. Self-proclaimed "Gleeks" are just crazy and looking for someone good looking to be paired up with the not-so-great-looking Kurt.

No, no matter what the NUMEROUS Youtube videos of a Puck/Kurt relationship may hint at, Ryan Murphy never had intentions to make Puck gay; he was too busy sneaking off with his best friend's girlfriend and making her pregnant.



And then Season 2 began. Well, it was announced. And casting had been done for the new season. Some girl from Youtube (Charice) was cast as Rachel's new enemy... blah blah. But more importantly, reports were FLYING that some hard bodied blonde, Chord Overstreet, was cast as Kurt's new love interest, Sam. My eyes approved, and when Season 2 finally began and I heard Sam crooning away, my ears approved, as well. But then... things went terribly wrong. I watched as Sam quickly found himself falling for... Quinn.


WTF. This Cheerio bitch stole BOTH of Kurt's men... well, MY men... but since I'm not on the show, I must live vicariously through him.

My time for mourning had officially begun. More casting news hit the internet; a new love interest for Kurt. I didn't care. If it wasn't Sam, I didn't want anyone. For all I cared, Kurt could grow old and die lonely, never having love. Sam was too busy trying to squeeze his way into Quinn's spanky pants, making no time for a gay romance with Kurt. It was the only relationship I've ever wanted on my screen; screw Ross and Rachel - Sam and Kurt were my #1 TV couple.



Youtube clips were sent my way of the new actor that would be playing Kurt's love interest. Disney cover songs. Cute. Whatever. I didn't care. Get off my screen, Darren Criss. Who needs another cast member on Glee? Not me. As it is, the supporting cast is two-dimensional and fighting for screen time because there's not enough time to split between so many actors. I didn't need another one taking time away from my precious Sam. Or Puck. Or hell, even Head Bitch In Control, Rachel Berry. Especially if they were from things called "Harry Potter: The Musical." Ew.



Although someone described his looks as mine and Taylor Lautner's love child, I still thought he was ugly. Even one of the snarkiest bitches I know was showing Darren love... What was happening to the world? He would never be Sam. Or Puck. Or even Finn (who I hate). I was over him before he even began. Boo, CRISS out Darren.

As I sat down to watch the latest episode, these anti-Darren thoughts were still roaming wild through my head. But don't you know it... as soon as he appeared on screen, my heart was warming up to him.

I mean... maybe he wasn't ugly.

And then I heard him sing. Well, shit. First of all, he (well, Ryan Murphy) knew how to win me over. Katy Perry. And acapella. It was official. I had crossed over. To Team Darren.
I had Criss-Cross'ed.



Will I scream and fan my privates if Sam and Kurt ever happen? Obviously. Does this mean I'm going to change my desktop background from a picture of Sam to a picture of Blaine? Obviously not. But it DOES mean I can watch Glee without protesting a Kurt/Blaine relationship. Maybe Sam really IS straight and will grow old with Quinn - he isn't, and he won't..., but no matter what, I can support Darren Criss in whatever he does.

Unless the words "Harry Potter" are attached. In that case - sorry, Darren, but I won't be supporting you anytime soon.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Friends Having Sex. Just Sex.


Today, I was introduced to the trailer for "No Strings Attached." I thought it looks like a pretty good comedy, and quite honestly - I'm excited to see it. A great looking, goofy guy (Ashton Kutcher) having "just sex, no feelings" with his friend (Natalie Portman). While I'm more excited about Natalie's movie, "Black Swan," this movie has still found its way towards the top of my "Must See" list.



Hold the phone. A movie with a "Black Swan" actress about a great looking, goofy guy (Justin Timberlake) having "just sex, no feelings" with his friend (Mila Kunis). It reminds me of another trailer I just saw... "Friends With Benefits."



While I may be in the minority in both of these scenarios, I would choose Mila over Natalie movie-wise, and ...would choose Ashton over Justin. Any way-wise, movie or other. I mean, I would not kick JT out of bed - even if he sang "Closing Time." But I would just prefer some Ashton on my Ass-ton. Sorry, Demi...

With that said, "No Strings Attached" is winning me over because of Ashton while "Friends With Benefits" is winning me over because of Mila. So which one looks like a better movie?

"No Strings Attached" looks like it's going to be a predictable romantic comedy with a few friend-on-friend sex scenes thrown about. Fine. I love me some predictable romances (to balance out the predictable non-romances in my life: wake up in someone's bed, put on pants, leave, shower, repeat.) "Friends With Benefits," while still looking predictable, looks less romantic comedy, and more comedy. Which I'm also fine with.

In conclusion, I'll see them both. And probably love both. And fine - I'd choose Mila & Ashton (which I just realized has a "That 70's Show" connection, but I was never a fan, so don't mistake my love for M/A as a love for that show...), but I DO enjoy Justin & Natalie. So if the chance ever came, I'd have "just sex, no feelings" with any of them. And since Ludacris is in "No Strings Attached," we can add him to the mix as well...