Tuesday, February 28, 2006

The 78th Annual Academy Awards – (A very brief history of the Oscars and a look at this years nominees for Best Picture.)

We’ve been thinking about the Oscar nominations . . . color us obsessed. We’re fine with that. We treasure the Oscars for many reasons. Eons ago, prior to starting up The Bloody Red Carpet, when we were barely old enough to be considered a blood stained throw rug – we became enraptured by movies and the Oscars. Now we know that many people pooh pooh Hollywood’s Big Night – Marisa Tomei, anyone? But we have dedicated our lives to the art of the movies and the hundred plus year history of this glorious medium which transports us to magical worlds.

This year’s Oscar nominees are a quirky bunch to say the least. Much has been written about their “Independent” low-budget status, and how all of their combined box-office fails to come even remotely close to the really popular films this year. And we suppose if they had nominated “Wedding Crashers” and “Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith” then everybody would be smiling and applauding the Academy. We won’t even dignify that supposition with a snarky remark. (Stupid, fucking, ignorant assholes.) This year marks the first time since 1981 that the Best Picture nominees have corresponding Best Director nods. It has actually been the clear exception, occurring only three times in seventy eight years. (Also in 1957 and 1964.) But how can that be, you ask? Well, we actually agree with the notion that some films are brilliantly produced, and some are brilliantly directed – and if the final nominees don’t always line up exactly, we can respect that.

The Oscar night hullabaloo began officially on May 16, 1929 with the Academy’s first Awards presentation held in the Blossom Room of the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel. There was little or no press, or in ye olden days prior to television, not even a radio broadcast rendition available to movie obsessed little boys and pimple faced girls in the heartland; there were twelve categories, all eligible films were Silent Films, and there were two Best Director winners and two Best Picture winners. Skreeeeeeeeeeeeccchh!!!! TWO BEST PICTURE WINNERS?? Well, yes and no. Patience, dear ones. Let’s take a step back to the Academy’s founding.

In 1927, when we were freshly off the bus from Walla Walla, Washington with our bestest gal pal, Lottie Hinkelgruber – we ran to the corner of Hollywood & Vine and declared to the film world at large – we’ve arrived! Unfortunately, Lottie that cow was dying for a root beer fizz and forced us to walk up Hollywood Boulevard until we found an open soda fountain. There we were sipping our drinks, eyes cast to the heavens looking for stars, when Lottie, the clumsy oaf spilled her drink all over our wonderful handkerchief-hem-sapphire-blue-chiffon-skirt-with-pearl-cloisonné-number causing us to shriek like a defrocked nun and step backwards right into a block of wet cement in front of the Grauman’s Chinese Theatre. The owner, Sid Grauman saw us and yelled – Eureka! And the rest is history. But we digress.

At the same time across town in Culver City, the head of the most powerful movie studio - Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer - Louis B. Mayer was dealing with his own problems. The labor unions were protesting their long work hours and underpaid status and threatening the comfortable existence of the high paid Hollywood Royalty, the movies in general were under attack by right wing conservative groups who thought they were becoming increasingly immoral and detrimental to the good moral fabric of society.

Louis B. Mayer had what he thought was a brilliant plan, form a non-profit organization that would celebrate the best qualities of film production and lead the way for technical advances. This “Academy” of industry insiders would help legitimize the booming movie industry, lending it an air of respectability that it so far had been lacking. After all with major stars dropping dead from drug overdoses, getting themselves involved in sex scandals or famed directors getting shot to death – the movie industry was in a panic to clear up their soiled name. Mayer would of course hand pick all the members himself, and rule it with a fat iron thumb. Seriously, the man had fingers that resembles knishes. And Ker-rist, was he hard to look at! He made Harvey Weinstein look like a catch.

On January 11, 1927 thirty-six industry head honchos converged on the Ambassador Hotel to hear Mr. Mayer inform them of his idea, an organization he wanted to call The International Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. The guests sat enthralled and thrilled with the possibilities and jumped right into the fray. Over the next two years, they would finalize their charter, vote on membership, organize their new pet project, ditch the “International” from their official name and decide that part of the process should include their bestowing an Award of Merit on an annual basis. After much bickering and haggling, they finalized the voting process, effectively giving their final say to their Central Board of Judges to be presided over by . . . Louis B. Mayer!

And so, the long and equally grand and scandalous history of the premiere Award in movies began. When they came to finalizing their twelve original categories, the Academy decided that there should be two separate slots for Best Director – one for Comedy and one for Drama. They also decided that their goal to support the film community and enhance the artistic quality of movies in general should result in two different awards for “Best Picture.” They came up with the awards for “Outstanding Picture” and “Unique and Artistic Picture.” Basically the “Outstanding Picture” celebrated the motion picture that best exemplified their output. And the “Unique and Artistic Picture” celebrated the skill and daring, and supposedly the most inspiring artistic contribution of the year. If we had to award these two categories this year, let’s just say that “King Kong” would be the Academy’s pick for “Outstanding Picture” and “Brokeback Mountain” would be the winner of “Unique and Artistic Picture.”

Back then, the incredibly evocative and fluid “Sunrise” directed by the very great F.W. Murnau copped the “Unique and Artistic Picture” award, and the World War I era escapades of fighter pilots, “Wings” flew away with their award for “Outstanding Picture”. Over the years, the Academy has cleaned up some of its records, whittling away non official nominees and quietly sweeping some discrepancies under their gilded rug – but we feel that this is their greatest cover up. They are perfectly willing to recognize that in the first year, they honored two directors: Frank Borzage as Best Director - Drama for his work on the lovely “Seventh Heaven”, and Lewis Milestone for “Two Arabian Knights” as Best Director - Comedy. Now, listen up you Oscar voters – there is no shame in admitting that you were still working out some kinks in your freshman outing, why do you continue to deny that “Sunrise” won its own little gold man, thereby making your first year a record year of two best picture winners? Bitches. We’ll make you relent yet, just mark our words. Back to the future.

If “Brokeback Mountain” wins the top prize, it would surprise few people since it has literally swept the pre-Oscar Awards from Venice to New York to Los Angeles. And with its tragic romance which is GASP a “Gay” love story – it straddles the traditions of the grand cinematic romance with the social issue pic so beloved by Academy voters. It's "Gone With the Wind" meets "The Defiant Ones." But even a cursory glance at the other four nominees will tell you that this year the Academy is keen on recognizing films with a more intellectual bent. Are the “Forrest Gump”, “Gladiator” and “Chicago” Oscar winning days over with? Lord, we pray it is so. But whatever film wins the top prize this year, we'll no doubt suffer the backlash next year when the Academy returns to their wicked, wicked popcorn movie loving ways. I suppose that means only good things to Bryan Singer and Gore Verbinski - only time will tell. Now, let's take another gander at the nominees for this year's Best Picture Oscar.

Capote” is a wonderful film, perfectly balancing the Midwest macabre nightmare of the famed Clutter family murders and the glitterati milieu of Truman Capote’s lifestyle. We applauded the performances and restrained direction of Bennett Miller. It even made our Top Ten List of the year, which we assume of course you’ve read. (We’re waiting . . . .) Okay. Now that you have, you understand that we have nothing but respect for this lovely little film. And certainly, Oscar loves a good biopic, even ones dealing with egghead writers. If “Capote” wins the top prize, it would continue in the long line of literary themed Oscar winners from “The Life of Emile Zola” to "Out of Africa". And in any other year, we would applaud that. But not that much. And not this year. Moving on.

Good Night, and Good Luck.” is of course the brainchild of our pal, George Clooney. The sexy little prankster has really made 2005 his year at the movies. His multiple nominations in the directing, screenwriting and acting categories has earned him applause throughout the industry. And our undying love. His interpretation of the famed Edward R. Murrow / Sen. Joseph McCarthy bitch slap of 1954 is lovingly directed and stylishly filmed. Since George is the frontrunner (although, not our first choice) to cop the Best Supporting Actor gold for his turn in “Syriana”, we think our beloved Georgey should simply be glad to be nominated.

Munich” shows the strengths and weaknesses of the famed Steven Spielberg. By now, he is king of the Hollywood landscape. After twenty some feature films, various television projects, six Best Director Oscar nominations and two wins – he can pretty much write his own ticket and direct a four hour dolly shot of Kate Capshaw taking a dump, and people would still turn out in droves. “Munich” offers the best and the worst of Spielbergian cinema. Rich production values, top notch casting, visually stunning set-ups and an overly long final cut that makes you want to stand up and scream – “Cut. Cut! CUT!!!!!! For the love of God, CUUUTTTTTTT!!!!!!” So, no. We respected the overall punch of the film, but did not fall over ourselves in praise. And what about the alleged usurper to “Brokeback Mountain”’s Best Picture lock?

Crash” is everything that we hate in film making. Plot contrivances aside, and there’s a mother fucking “Grand Canyon” full, at it’s best it is a Robert Altman knockoff, sifted through a Paul Thomas Anderson landscape that purports to discuss the issues of race in this country by assuring us that we are all really okay underneath the emotional scars. Blacks, Hispanics, Arabs and Honkies exhibit their “true colors” about their individual bigotry and hatred of each other, only to find themselves desperately clutching at common bonds of humanity when they find themselves “crashing”. If you’re an uptight white bitch, there is good news – this film will make your heart soar when Sandra Bullock slips on her staircase and is forced to realize it is alright to hug her Mexican housekeeper. Lightly. If you are slightly darker than Nicole Kidman, there is not much to praise. This film, and we use the term lightly wants so desperately to say something that it manages to say nothing at all. A complete waste of time in our book, and therefore the latest frontrunner for the Best Picture prize. Just when you thought it was safe to applaud the Academy for its newfound backbone in honoring heartfelt and artistic triumphs, they slyly sneak in one of the phoniest and most contrived films in Oscar history. It’s like Rocky” meets “Free to Be . . . You & Me”. And not in a good way.

Brokeback Mountain” works so well on so many levels that it would indeed be a shame for it to lose the Best Picture Oscar. Ang Lee has delivered the goods for years, and it is high time the Academy recognizes his immeasurable talents by honoring this “modern” tragic love story. Although, not all is sunshine, roses and saddle soap for our doomed cowpokes. For our gay fans, there is bad news. If this film wins, be prepared to see an onslaught of “A” list actors portraying closeted gays, whose love scenes are tame compared with daytime television. But, alas such is the case with our society. And film being a reflection of such is no exception. We wish the boys well this Sunday night, and leave it to the Film Gods to set the matter straight. So to speak. Oh, yes. We almost forgot. If “Brokeback Mountain” wins, it will not be the first film with two male leads in love to cop the top prize. Forgetting the obvious man-love and homoeroticism of such past winners as: “The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King”, “The Deer Hunter”, “The Sting”, “Midnight Cowboy”, “Lawrence of Arabia”, “Ben-Hur”, and All Quiet on the Western Front”. If you have never seen the very "first" (cough, cough) - Best Picture winner, “Wings” – then you have not seen the first cinematic depiction of the love that dare not speak its name to win the Oscar. I mean just look at this still from this WWI flying ace drama.

Clara Bow was one hot ticket back in her day, and the boys just couldn’t care less about her sinfully cherubic charms. They only have eyes for each other. Bless them. And bless you all!

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Monday, February 20, 2006

British Academy Awards - Fashion & Film Review

The Orange British Academy Film Awards
Sunday, February 19, 2006

This past Sunday saw the presentation of the BAFTAs, merry ole England’s own Academy Awards for excellence in film. Fifty eight years ago, they handed out three measly awards, but over the years their rank and file has increased along with their notability to become one of the premiere awards in moviedom. And as for their unabashed corporate logo whoring - whatever you can say about the Oscars, they have yet to be labelled the Diet Pepsi Academy Awards. Still and all, we love the BAFTAs!

One of the most interesting quirks about comparing film awards is the categorization of some of the nominees. The BAFTAs allow for multiple acting nominations by the same performer in the same category – so a tip of the hat goes to our pal George Clooney who topped his three Oscar nods with an additional Best Supporting Actor nod for his lovely “Good Night, and Good Luck.” Sadly, he lost all four of his noms. That’s alright, Georgey – we’re always available for a good consolation fuck. And as is par for the course regarding awards shows – they don’t always agree on the size of role. Rachel Weisz, who lately has been racking up the Best Supporting Actress awards stateside, was nominated for lead Actress for her turn in “The Constant Gardener.” She lost. To our gal, Reese – who is definitely the one to beat come Oscar night for her terrific interpretation of June Carter Cash in “Walk the Line.”

But who won the Best Film Award???? Well, who do you think, you clods? Our favorite barebacking duo - the boys. Golly. Those chaps in chaps keep on lassoing those Best Pic prizes, and we just keep on applauding them. But wait, not so fast there fellas – the Brits have TWO Best Film awards. One for overall production – which went to the “Brokeback Mountain” crew.

And the other for the Alexander Korda Award for Outstanding British Film, which went to the deliciously wicked “Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit.” Kudos to director Nick Park and crew for defeating the lackluster “Pride & Prejudice” and overhyped “Gardener”! Although, we did truly enjoy the also-nominated “A Cock & Bull Story” – known across the pond as “Tristram Shandy, etc”. Go see it now!!

Anyway, the clays and the gays triumphed – pulling off wins for our future husband Jake Gyllenhaal as Best Supporting Actor, Best Adapted Screenplay and the Best Director prize to our little Taiwanese dumpling himself, Mr. Ang Lee.

Philip Seymour Hoffman stopped eating long enough to accept his Best Actor prize for “Capote”, (Here he is standing next to last years Best Actress winner, Imelda Staunton who won for her shattering role in the great "Vera Drake.") And Thandie Newton walked away with the Best Supporting Actress gold plated mask for her dismally mundane work in the equally pedestrian “Crash.” Yawn.

And speaking of yawns, onto the fashions!

Dynasty, The Movie
Charlize Theron in Lanvin
Why not just change your middle name to “Safe” and call it a day, will ya Char? Where is the daring? Where is the statuesque? Where the fuck is Nolan Miller nowadays, and why is he outfitting the “A-listers”?

We Wouldn’t Even Let Our Gardener Wear This!
Rachel Weisz in Vivienne Westwood
We understand your choices are limited when you’re about to pop the cork, and normally we would applaud any lovely lady such as Rachel for wearing a Vivienne Westwood. (We feel she has been sadly overlooked when it comes to Red Carpet finery.) But this isn’t even a dress, is it? It’s more like the dress mannequin’s pattern for an undergarment that Dame Westwood would then proceed to drape with thirty four bolts of taffeta. Oh, come back to the local pub, Vivienne Westwood, Vivienne Westwood! We miss the old, over the top, whacked out Rococo loon you once were!

Skip the Weddings, Here’s the Funeral
Kristin Scott Thomas in YSL Rive Gauche
Oh, Lordy. We just knew it was just a matter of time before the Joan Crawford syndrome would catch up with this one. We have adored Kristin’s striking acting ability and her even more striking cheekbones in the past, but have never really been able to embrace her inner shrew which has clearly burst forth in the doyenne period of her career.

Frownin' in the Rain
Heath Ledger
& Michelle Williams in YSL Rive Gauche
Okay, the handsome and talented leading man on your bony arm, we love! The rest? We hate. Although, we will give the lovely Michelle credit for her acting chops and her refusal to allow any food to pass her lips until after the Oscars. Two more weeks, ‘Chelle and you can finally revert to that chipmunk faced pudgy you were back on the “Creek.” (Why is this young gal so fond of the tiered dress? Lighten up, 'Chelle!)

Two World Wars, and now This?
Diane Kruger in Dior
You gotta hand it to the Germans, they are relentless! We do think that Fraulein Kruger is a looker, or a hooker depending on the awards show – and yes, yes we understand that in the entire history of the world, no German has ever looked fashionable. So then, why bother showing up? Go pick on Austria or Poland, will ya?

A Little Back Door Action
Neve Campbell
in Roland Mouret
Now, we have enjoyed Miss Campbell’s performances in the past, and we hope that she will find the appropriate vehicle to showcase her misused talents, but being forced to back into the camera should not be one of them. While we admire the attention to detail that Roland has in working so diligently on the rear panels or lack thereof of this garment, we wonder why he wasted his time since the front was so fucking boring, poor Neve was forced to pull a Linda Blair all night long in order to get some attention. Here’s a life lesson we learned the hard way after our first kegger in college – if the front ain’t much to look at, there’s only so much you can do with the back. And that’s only with a lot of lube and a little care.

The F.O.
Mischa Barton in Marchesa
We didn’t realize the BAFTAs had a category for Most Overexposed Bag of Bones Milking Her Brief Fame for a Teen Soap Opera That is Rapidly Sinking Into TV Oblivion. Congrats, Mischa! We’re voting for you.

Guess Who’s Back?
Thandie Newton
in Christian Lacroix
Lacroix, sweeties. As in Christian. As in bloated Reagan-Era drapery gone wild! Whew! It’s actually been long enough, that we are kind of pleased to see his patented brand of frou frou once more as it bubbles and squeaks down the Red Carpet.

Guess Who We Still Hate?
Renee Zellweger in Carolina Herrera
We get it. You’re thin. You’re loyal to Nazi-loving bleached blonde designers. Now, get this. No amount of accolades will ever get us to enjoy your miserable puckered cowlips in anything but an actual snuff film.

Some Jokes Write Themselves . . .
Anna Wintour in Prada
What the hell else did you expect the Devil herself to wear? Although we do enjoy how the fiery fist of God has come down to Earth to punish Anna for her multitudinous sins by simultaneously smiting her with a wicked case of scoliosis, ankle bone protruding cloven hooves, back-of-the-clearance-sale-rack-Prada (Seriously, what the fuck is up with those pockets? And don’t even start us on the trim that is bravely fighting to stay glue gunned to her non-existent bustline), and the ever reliable puckered-ass face that is the trademark grimace of the matriarch of Vogue.

On the Fast Track to Sally Kirklandville
Kelly Reilly
Who we simply adored in “Mrs. Henderson Presents” should be ashamed of herself. She is far too young and talented to be dressing like one of the elder dames. This most unflattering skirt, would not look bad draped over a sofa in a Council Flat in Elephant and Castle, but paired with the hook and drape black halter top – it just skreetches lost and confused. Poor little bint, somebody throw her a look, will ya?

So Sari
Gurinder Chadha in her Pajamas?

The kitchen is in the back, ya cow! (Sorry about the cow reference, you bloated wog.) Who let the help onto the Red Carpet? Do you think those Miniature Curry Wraps are gonna roll themselves up, bitch? Ohhhhh, she’s a director. Of movies. We never woulda thunk it. And after seeing her work, we still don’t.

It’s Old Dutch for “Washed Out”
Maria Grachvogel
Now listen, girls. There is such a thing as “Old School”, which should never be confused with “Old Stool” – as Maria has. The heyday of Hollywood never resembled this. While there may be a place for Maria’s own particular brand of bland – might we suggest up her own twat? – we don’t wish to see it displayed on the Red Carpet.

Awards Crasher
Jane Seymour

Well, we give this slightly off base crone credit for riding those “Wedding Crashers” coattails all year long and well into the next! We know! We don't even mind the "Mother of the Bride" ensemble she's sporting, as long as she stays at least twenty yards away from us. Once the prairie dust settled on her eons long television series career, she should consider herself damn lucky just to be allowed out of the house. Especially after taking a gander at her batshit crazy rants on her website. Kudos, you psycho!

It Might Be Ruby, But It Ain’t Waxed!
Ruby Wax
That nutball supreme, and notorious interviewer – Ruby Wax was seen terrifying the nominees on the Red Carpet – with her taint. Good for her! With all this nonsense about Kathy Griffin and Isaac Mizrahi lately, it was about damn time somebody threw down the gauntlet and flashed some aged beaver at the paparazzi. Go, Ruby! (Just not near us, please.)

So in closing, huzzahs to all the winners (except Thandie Newton), plaudits to all the nominees (except anybody who might have worked on “Crash”) and a hearty “Pip, pip, cheerio” to the Brits for their own Academy madness. And a special shout out to our future husband Jake - you charmer you. Only two more weeks, kids! We’re so excited, we’d almost be willing to look directly under Ruby’s skirt! We said, almost. Bless you all!

The 58th British Academy Film Award winners:



THE DAVID LEAN AWARD for Achievement in Direction - BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN - Ang Lee





THE CARL FOREMAN AWARD for Special Achievement by a British Director, Writer or Producer in their First Feature Film
JOE WRIGHT (Director) - Pride & Prejudice

ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY - CRASH - Paul Haggis/Bobby Moresco



THE ANTHONY ASQUITH AWARD for Achievement in Film Music - MEMOIRS OF A GEISHA - John Williams












THE MICHAEL BALCON AWARD for Outstanding British Contribution to Cinema
Robert (Chuck) Finch and Bill Merrell

Friday, February 17, 2006

Eight Below - Movie Review

Eight Below 2006

Hullo, kiddies. You know, sometimes we have been accused of not attending enough of the populace fare. You know. The stupid, aimed at ‘tards kind of filmmaking so beloved by fat housewives in Dubuque and pimple faced drop outs in Peoria. Fine. We’re okay with that misconception. But we decided to prove our critics wrong by trouncing out to the local multiplex to check out the latest “Family Picture” courtesy of the famed Disney studios. After sitting thru roughly seventeen hours of previews for the forthcoming Disney films, we sat back to witness “Eight Below”.

Eight Below” is not a porn movie, although with the central role going to our future husband, the heart stoppingly gorgeous Paul Walker, we are hoping he has at least a good “eight” going on “below” – if you know what we mean. Not that we’re size queens, but let’s face it girls – you can’t stir the soup with a toothpick. Moving on. “Eight Below” is actually a remake of the Japanese flick from a couple of decades past, “Antarctica / Nankyoku Monogatari”. That little Nipponese flick related the dramatic real life adventure of a group of sled dogs that had been “inadvertently” left behind to die in the subzero cold and had miraculously survived several months in the harsh winter. Now that little factoid should hopefully help dispel those nasty rumors about Asians and their dogs. For shame, people. (It’s cats, not dogs.)

The storyline is fairly simple. A geologist funds a mission to go in search of rare meteorites. The research station base is the home of one stunningly sexy and well built guide played by our future husband, Paul Walker.

His companions consist of one older crusty boss, a lesbian in search of a good conditioner, a perky and slutty pilot who keeps making eyes at our future husband and one goofball who wandered in off the set of the “American Pie” movies. Oh, yes. And eight sled dogs. A mix of huskies and malamutes, these pooches are the real stars of the movie, despite our future husband’s smoldering looks.

When the geologist and our future husband venture off in search of meteorites, they encounter some unexpected troubles that nearly costs them their lives. Meanwhile, back at the ranch the mother of all storms is coming in forcing a hasty escape once the team in the field finally makes it back – frostbitten and broken but still intact. While the initial near death experience on the frozen tundra might be the dramatic finale to other films, it is merely the prelude to the real drama to come. While the humans might have escaped the brunt of the storm, they are forced to leave the dogs chained behind in the vain hope of being able to return for them. Turns out, not so much.

Eight Below” surprised us. While we have declared our undying love for Paul Walker, and respect the talents of Bruce Greenwood who portrays the geologist – we will go on record as saying that we have never been particularly fond of dogs. We think of “Old Yeller” as a comedy. It always cracks us up when Travis grabs the shotgun and lets ‘er rip! Woo-hoo! But we digress. The charm and ultimate success of this film is the truly wonderful scenes that fill the second half of the flick. The eight dogs in their near miraculous struggle to survive the harshest winter known to man.

The film is directed by Frank Marshall, who scored four Oscar nominations in his other career as a producer, frequently in collaboration with Steven Spielberg. From his earlier directorial efforts, we might not have expected much from the man who helmed “Arachnophobia” and “Congo”. If it were not for one other little film that Mr. Marshall directed, we might have given up hope completely prior to setting foot in the theatre to view “Eight Below.” That other film is also one of near miraculous survival in a wintry landscape, also based on a true story.

It was called “Alive”, starring Ethan Hawke, Vincent Spano, Josh Lucas and narrated by John Malkovich. It was based on the true harrowing adventure that occurred when a Uruguayan rugby team’s plane crashed into the Andes, and the survivors suffering and despair turned to an unprecedented darkness when they chose to eat the dead. Good times. The critical consensus at the time praised the tone and feel of the film, the unparalleled depiction of the plane crash, and the talented cast – but many took exception to the flowery language used by screenwriter John Patrick Shanley, an Oscar winner for his bright work on “Moonstruck.” He would go on to win the triple crown of Broadway for his recent play about the Catholic Church and child abuse – “Doubt”. Copping the Pulitzer Prize, Tony Award and Drama Desk Award. We actually love the screenplay to “Alive” – we feel it is the first time any writer has ever written the rhythms of the Spanish language into English. It is a film that manages to capture the horrible despair, innate strengths of the doomed team players, and their final redemption. Go rent it now! But you might want to eat beforehand.

Back to the doggies. There adventures are told in a blessedly cool and simple fashion. Never resorting to cloying shots or god forbid, human voices to speak their thoughts. This is a Disney film folks, it coulda happened. While they begin their journey, we are treated to shots of their beloved master attempting to find help from the government, the military, private organizations and ultimately begging the geologist himself – who owes his very life to the brave pooches to assist in funding a return trip to search for any possible survivors. Although, for us those scenes would have worked better if Paul had been wearing less clothing. Just a thought.

Now, being wizened moviegoers, we felt pretty sure that their return would discover at least a few of the dogs intact. The actual count, the harrowing complications that occur during their long days alone, and the sacrifices involved we will leave to you and your family to witness. This is indeed a family film. Perhaps not one for very young children, it is still rated “PG” for a reason. Children shouldn’t have to know how cruel and unforgiving life can be until they are at least, oh we’ll say two years old. Then they should be ready to face the hard facts of life.

Our praise for the storytelling and emotional connection we as an audience make with the sled dogs is not without a quibble or two. The goofball character, as portrayed by Jason Biggs is far more of an irritant than comical relief. For a professional cartographer, he is about as mature as one of the dogs steamy droppings. And by the umpteenth set up of an already tired joke – we wanted to scream, WE GET IT! Dogs freak you out! You don’t like them to lick you! This of course means you get more dog on manboy action than in a remake of “Caligula.”

But we quibble. The film needs to succeed on the strengths of the dogs, their dreamy eyed master and his ability to express his burning desire to rescue them and finally in the inevitable return voyage months after they abandoned the dogs, to see how many if any are left alive. For that you shall have to go see for yourselves. And you should. Just keep you clammy paws off our future husband, Paul Walker or we’ll be forced to abandon you alone on a glacier with a wad of chewing gum and eyebrow pencil. And we wish you good luck with that! Bless you All!

Directed by Frank Marshall
Written by David DiGilio
Based on the film Antarctica / Nankyoku Monogatari

Paul Walker as Gerry Shepherd
Bruce Greenwood as Davis McLaren
Jason Biggs as Cooper
Moon Bloodgood as Katie

Cinematography by Don Burgess
Film Editing by Christopher Rouse
Original Music by Mark Isham
Production Design by John Willett
Art Direction by Ross Dempster & Jeremy Stanbridge
Set Decoration by Peter Lando