Friday, March 31, 2006

Thank Goodness Sharon Stone’s Basic Instinct Is Not to “Act her Age”!

I have not yet seen Basic Instinct 2, but I already know that Sharon Stone is the only reason why I should even bother to. She is one the last few great movie stars; no matter what people say, no matter how out there she may appear, Stone's hot in every sense of the word.

(That, and word on the street is the movie’s a lemon.)

Sure, it can be argued that Stone’s sole big hit, 1992’s original Basic Instinct, is her only claim to fame, but that would be terribly myopic.

Stone’s turn as Catherine Tramell was a memorable breakthrough (one, I would imagine, quite difficult to follow up), but she has continued to bask in the glory of her Sharon Stone-ness ever since.

Her next choices proved rather eclectic, gambits that sometimes paid off (her Academy Award-nominate performance in Casino, The Muse) and oftentimes didn’t (Sliver, The Quick and the Dead, Catwoman).

Meanwhile, there she was making heads turn on many a red carpet (who could forget her inventive Gap-and-Valentino Oscar look at the 1996 Oscars, or the time she wore her husband’s shirt paired with Vera Wang to the same event a few years later).

And there she’s been passionately raising money for AIDS research and advocating gay rights. No one understands the Art of Being Sharon Stone better than Stone herself, and it takes talent to stay in the spotlight in the way she has considering how much she’s been dismissed (for instance, she became part of a hilarious Margaret Cho joke once).

Today, Stone is on a new and exciting path toward finally proving us all cynical. Last year, she appeared in Broken Flowers, in a role that earned her kind reviews from critics and the few who saw the movie.

This year, aside from Basic Instinct 2, she’s readying to open Alpha Dog and Bobby, two highly awaited ensemble indies.

Going back to Basic Instinct 2, though, a lot has been done over the fact that Stone is reprising her star-making role as the sexually charged Tramell, especially over the nudity that the movie required. Many have, in fact, said that Stone should “act her age” (she turned 48 March 10).

Talk about ageism…and sexism!

Stone's hot, and if she’s shown us anything over the years it is that she’s game.

Why wouldn’t she take it all off for a role – after all, she can! When I think of her I think of sex. I certainly wouldn’t expect her to seduce her way out of trouble in a cute cardigan; Tramell (and Stone to a certain extent) is a sexual being – hello!

Oh, but it’s not appropriate for a woman her age to show so much skin, to be sexual.

Cry me a river and eat my shorts! I think it is way more appropriate for her to do it than it is for any of the pop “stars” that have helped strip the luster off the term “star."

As long as she’s comfortable – and let’s face it, looks as hot as she does – and in control (I’m sure no one forced her to take her clothes off, which is more than the aforementioned starlets can say…and probably makes men a bit nervous), then Stone can do whatever she wants.

And for that, if nothing else, I will try and go see Basic Instinct 2.

Photo: Columbia Pictures.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

MGLFF Announces Upcoming Lineup

The celebrated 8th Annual Miami Gay & Lesbian Film Festival (MGLFF), presented by Sundance Channel and Avis Rent-a-Car, announced its upcoming lineup of the best gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender films that will be featured during the 10-day Festival April 21-30.

Screenings for this year’s MGLFF will take place at Regal Cinemas South Beach, the Gusman Center for the Performing Arts, the Colony Theatre in South Beach, and the Gateway Cinemas (located in Fort Lauderdale).

MGLFF will kick-off on Friday, April 21, with the Opening Night Gala presentation and East Coast Premiere of Manuel Gòmez Pereira’s Reinas (Queens), at the Gusman Center in Downtown Miami, followed by a spectacular party presented by Karu&Y Restaurant at The Space Miami. (Director Manuel Gòmez Pereira will attend the screening to discuss the film with the audience.)

On Wednesday, April 26, the Festival will present the Centerpiece Gala and Florida Premiere screening of Whole New Thing by Amnon Buchbinder, at the Colony Theater. An after-party at the Hotel Nash, which will be transformed into a Miami Beach Cinemathèque-guided tour through multimedia artists’ work and down the darkened hallways and through the private quarters of the hotel, will follow. (Writer-director Amnon Buchbinder will attend the screening to discuss the film with the audience.)

The Festival will close on Sunday, April 30, with the Closing Night Gala and Florida Premiere screening of Todd Stephens’ hysterical comedy Another Gay Movie, featuring a star-studded cast that includes Graham Norton and Scott Thompson, at the Gusman Center. An exciting party at the historic Alfred I. Dupont Building will follow. (Director Todd Stephens and actor Darryl Stephens will attend the screening to discuss the film with the audience.)

This year, MGLFF will also pay tribute to the acclaimed independent film distributor TLA Entertainment Group, which will be presented with a special MGLFF Tribute prior to the screening of 20 Centimeters, on Saturday, April 22, at the Colony Theater. TLA Releasing will be celebrating 25 years in the industry, having released such audience favorites as Latter Days, The Fluffer, Bulgarian Lovers, and Bear Cub (Cachorro). (TLA president Raymond Murray and partners Patrick Murray, Eric Moore, Claire Brown Kohler, and Richard Wolff will attend the screening.)

The HBO Career Achievement Award will be presented this year to prolific French director François Ozon (8 Women, Swimming Pool). A one-man industry in his native country, Ozon has delivered eight features in a seven-year period. While it would be easy to assume that Ozon prefers stories that contain gay themes, the recurrence of GLBT story lines in his narratives, coupled with the director’s out status, make his mark in filmmaking fairly unusual, and thus worthy of attention and recognition. (The award will be presented on his behalf to actor Melvil Poupaud prior to the U.S. Premiere of Time to Leave, on Friday, April 28, at the Regal Cinema South Beach.)

For more information, visit


Thursday, March 16, 2006

USA Today Offers Sneak Peek at Superman Returns

USA Today has a sneak peek at the upcoming Superman Returns (June 30), which includes an interview with the new Man of Steel, newcomer Brandon Routh ("Male Star of Tomorrow" according to ShoWest, the largest gathering of motion picture professionals and theatre owners from around the globe).

The real find, however, is the nifty gallery of stills from the movie, including images of a brunette Kate Bosworth (Blue Crush) as Lois Lane, and a bald Kevin Spacey as Lex Luthor.

The movie also features frequent scene-stealer Parker Posey, James Marsden (X-Men), Frank Langella, and Eva Marie Saint, and was directed by Bryan Singer (The Usual Suspects, X-Men).
To view these exciting images, click here.

Photo: Warner Bros.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Mission: Impossible III Trailer Premiere

Paramount Pictures will premiere an exclusive look at one of this summer’s most highly anticipated action-thriller, Mission: Impossible III, as Tom Cruise introduces the new trailer across MTV Networks on Thursday, March 16, during the 10 p.m.-11 p.m. block.

The movie, starring Cruise and a cast that includes recent Academy Award-winning actor Philip Seymour Hoffman (Capote), franchise veteran Ving Rhames, Michelle Monaghan (North Country), Keri Russell (TV’s Felicity), Billy Crudup, and Jonathan Rhys Meyers (Match Point), among others, was directed by J.J. Abrams, the mastermind behind TV’s Alias and Lost.

M:i:III opens on May 5.

Photo: Paramount Pictures.

Friday, March 10, 2006

Failure to Launch

The improbable happens in director Tom Dey’s Failure to Launch: Matthew McConaughey plays a "loser" who still lives at home with his folks, who in turn have had to hire Sarah Jessica Parker to help him get his act together and out the house.

Yeah – like McConaughey would have such a problem. He so probably doesn’t, which is why Failure to Launch is escapism at its semi-finest.

Amusing moments? Check. Sun-kissed, chemistry-blessed leads? Check. Satisfying resolution? Like you even have to ask!

In the movie, the reigning Sexiest Man Alive plays Trip, a ruggedly handsome thirtysomething man who still lives with mom and pop. And why wouldn’t he? The place is quite nice and his every need and want is tended to – no wonder he says ''it's gonna take a stick of dynamite'' to get him out.

His parents (played by Terry Bradshaw and Kathy Bates) are rather unhappy with the situation, though (yet they hardly ever stop to ponder whether they have enabled their son’s arrested development). After all, Trip is just swell and seemingly well adjusted, so why hasn’t he flown the coop?

Naturally, they come up with the perfect solution (in theory only – don’t forget this is a romantic comedy) and hire Paula (Parker), a professional motivator, to give Trip the little push he needs to grow up. This, of course, sets in motion the events that will make Failure to Launch tick…or not.

An intriguingly plotted movie that launches all right, but fails to keep its audience captive, especially when its two leads aren’t on screen together, Failure to Launch is frequently derivative and lacks focus (what’s with Dey’s random scenes with animals, anyway?).

The thought that a man as good-looking and charming as McConaughey could ever be such a "loser" seems preposterous (thank goodness Trip’s more than meets the eye, even if this eventual revelation is played too by-the-book).

But any movie that has a character asking another if they want to spend the rest of their lives having fun or if they want to spend it with them is well worth the bother, if you ask me. I just loved that Paula asks Trip this at one point.

And McConaughey and Parker – in yet another (agreeable still) variation of the quintessential It Woman she perfected so lovely on HBO’s Sex and the City – have an exciting rapport and complement each other famously. And they photograph together rather handsomely.

Also noteworthy are Bradley Cooper (TV's Alias, Wedding Crashers), Justin Bartha (National Treasure), and Zooey Deschanel (All the Real Girls) as Trip and Paula’s best friends, who pop in long enough to help better (though not always successfully) establish their motives.

Everyone, however, looks as if they are, in fact, working instead of enjoying the story and the New Orleans background, which is where the movie shot last summer. Watching these characters flutter around against stimulating a background should help you enjoy Failure to Launch just fine.

My Rating **1/2

Photo: Paramount Pictures.