March 21, 2007

A Tale of Three Pirates of the Caribbean


The accomplishment of making an award winning film, does not always translate to a big hit at the box office. While industry players may claim contentment with either an armful of trophies or cash in the bank, you wouldn't hear anyone complaining about bringing home a whole lot of both. Disney is set to release the third installment of its Pirates of the Caribbean franchise on May 25, 2007. Is it expected to outsell 'Black Pearl and Dead Man's Chest? Yo ho ho! Will this grand finale to the trilogy be overrun with accolade and kumbaya? Ahoy matie! What can money hungry, statuette loving studios learn from this treasure trove? Plenty o' gold (vaguely Irish vs Pirate, I know).

Here's the winning formula:

Cast Pirates

Now I'm not saying every award winning blockbuster has to consist of complex plots involving pirates. But it is obvious that pirates do make interesting, multi-dimensional characters who readily adapt into the nefarious villains we love and despise. Add to that the drama of pirate drinkin', pillaging, and the cleavage baring pirate fly girls and you're in for a wild ride. Audiences will gladly walk the plank, or shell out $7.50 for a ticket when they know the cost involves high seas metrosexuals. But what if you include stellar....

....Special Effects

The icing on the cake as far as movie goers are concerned, but there are also a heap of awards categories for costuming, cinematography and make-up. No shame in snagging that Oscar or Golden Globe for technical superiority, when the end result is a box office return that allows for the production of meatier fair.

A Little Swashbuckling Never Hurt

A film that takes risks, in grandiose fashion and with reckless abandon is sure to capture audience as well as academy attention. E.T. the Extra-terrestrial sits as the 4th biggest money maker in film history, won four Academy Awards in 1982 and was loaded with oodles of swashbuckling, including a drunken alien dressed like a girl and blatent product placement.

I apologize Stephen Spielberg for comparing your timeless classic to a pirate movie, but it follows the pattern as described above: Casting multi-demensional pirates (E.T.), special effects (and how!) and swashbuckling galore!

Check out Pirates of the Caribbean 3: At World's End trailer for a sneak peek!

March 11, 2007

Cate Blanchett as Bob Dylan

Six people are currently slated to play the role of Bob Dylan in the Todd Haynes' biopic I'm Not There. Cate Blanchett is one of them.

While it's difficult to envision the super-tall actress capturing the essence of a scrawny young Dylan, I'm sure she's up to the task. More of a concern is whether academy voters will be able to sort out the crazy mess come Oscar time next year, considering it's likely that each actor will have a limited amount of screen time to make his mark. This hasn't stopped Blanchett before as she landed the Oscar in 2004 for her believable portrayal of Katherine Hepburn in The Aviator, despite a minimal supporting role. Instead, they may take the less complicated route of nominating Blanchett as Elizabeth I in The Golden Age.

Gender-bending is not a new phenomenon in cinema and it typically has "awards" written all over it. Hillary Swank won her first Oscar playing Teena Brandon/Brandon Teena in Boys Don't Cry. And Felicity Huffman received an Oscar nomination for her work in TransAmerica. So why are we (and the Academy) so fascinated by women playing men? Or actors playing famous people for that matter? And why has it been steadily reported that seven actors will take on Dylan during different phases of his life, when the IMDb only lists six? Adrian Brody is listed in the cast, with no "character" associated with his name. Is he the seventh Dylan? Are we nearing the end times? The answer my friend is "blowin' in the wind".

March 01, 2007

Vote Online for CMT Awards

If you've been disappointed with the results of a parade of recent awards programming, now is your chance to have a say. The CMT Music Awards are a fairly new addition to the awards show circuit, tauted as the only fan-voted country music awards show. Jeff Foxworthy will host, as he has done for the last three years. Viewers can vote for their favorite videos in a two-round format. The first round of nominee selection has been completed with the exception of the final four Video of the Year nominees. Fan-voting for all other category winners is now in full swing.

The Johnny Cash Visionary Award will be given to an as yet unnamed recipient. Strangely enough, this award so obviously named in honor of Johnny Cash, was not "given" to Johnny Cash until 2003, the second year of this event. The Dixie Chicks were honored during the 2002 CMT Awards telecast, its premiere year. This years' recipient will be announced on March 13, so check back for an update.

Expect big-time performances by some of country music's hottest stars, including Carrie Underwood, Kenny Chesney, Tim McGraw, Martina McBride, Sugarland and Dierks Bentley and more. The ceremony will air on April 16, 2007, with a live simulcast playing on affiliated country music radio and a live webcast at What a party!

Kellie Pickler, an American Idol contestant and successful country music artist, will host a one-hour special featuring the eight contenders for Video of the Year, which include:

  • Toby Keith - "A Little Too Late"
  • Dixie Chicks - "Not Ready to Make Nice"
  • George Straigth - "The Seashores of Old Mexico"
  • Rascal Flatts - "What Hurts the Most"
  • Carrie Underwood ' "Before He Cheats"
  • Keith Urban - "Once in a Lifetime"
  • Sugarland - "Want To"
  • Kenny Chesney - "You Save Me"
All other related programming surrounding the 2007 CMT Music Awards can be found here.

Happy Voting!