The Women Film Critics Circle Honors Portrait of a Lady on Fire!


The Hollywood Foreign Press Association weren’t the only ones making an announcement today!  The Women Film Critics Circle also announced their picks for the best of 2019!

And here they are:

BEST MOVIE ABOUT WOMEN

  • Portrait of a Lady on Fire (dir. Céline Sciamma)
    Runner-up: Little Women (dir. Greta Gerwig)

BEST MOVIE BY A WOMAN

  • Harriet (dir. Kasi Lemmons)
    Runner-up: Portrait of a Lady on Fire (dir. Céline Sciamma)

BEST WOMAN STORYTELLER (Screenwriting Award)

  • Greta Gerwig (Little Women)
    Runner-up: Céline Sciamma (Portrait of a Lady on Fire)

BEST ACTRESS

  • Tie: Cynthia Erivo (Harriet) and Lupita Nyong’o (US)
    Runner-up: Renée Zellweger (Judy)

BEST ACTOR

  • Adam Driver (Marriage Story)
    Runner-up: Joaquin Phoenix (Joker)

BEST FOREIGN FILM BY OR ABOUT WOMEN

  • Portrait of a Lady on Fire (dir. Céline Sciamma)
    Runner-up: Atlantics (dir. Mati Diop)

BEST DOCUMENTARY BY OR ABOUT WOMEN

  • Varda by Agnès (dir. Agnès Varda)
    Runner-ups: Maiden (dir. Alex Holmes) and Honeyland (dir. Tamara Kotevska, Ljubo Stefanov)

BEST EQUALITY OF THE SEXES

  • Marriage Story
    Runner-up: The Aeronauts

BEST ANIMATED FEMALE

  • Anna (Frozen 2)
    Runner-up: Bo Peep (Toy Story 4)

BEST SCREEN COUPLE

  • (TIE) Portrait of a Lady on Fire (Noémie Merlant/Adèle Haenel) and Marriage Story (Scarlett Johansson/Adam Driver)
    Runner-up: Hustlers (Jennifer Lopez/Constance Wu)

ADRIENNE SHELLY AWARD – For a film that most passionately opposes violence against women

  • (TIE) Bombshell (dir. Jay Roach) and The Nightingale (dir. Jennifer Kent)
    Runner-up: Hustlers (dir. Lorene Scafaria)

JOSEPHINE BAKER AWARD – For best expressing the woman of color experience in America

  • Harriet (dir. Kasi Lemmons)
    Runner-up: Queen & Slim (dir. Melina Matsoukas)

KAREN MORLEY AWARD – For best exemplifying a woman’s place in history or society, and a courageous search for identity

  • Harriet (dir. Kasi Lemmons)
    Runner-up: Little Women (dir. Greta Gerwig)

ACTING AND ACTIVISM AWARD
Jane Fonda

LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD
Alfre Woodard

Music Video of the Day: Princes of the Universe by Queen (1986, dir. Russell Mulcahy)


I had to do a Queen music video eventually, so why not do one of my all-time favorites from one of my all-time favorite movies. Plus, I think that Clancy Brown as The Kurgan is scary enough for October. I’ve tried to pick out music videos that fit with the month somehow if I could.

Going in to watching this music video, I figured it would just be Queen performing with cutaways to footage from the movie. I wasn’t too far off, but they actually bothered to do more than that. We get to see them performing on the set of one of the final battles that took place on the Silvercup rooftop stage at Elstree Studios, London. We also see Brian May play guitar as the castle from the film collapses. But more than that, we actually get to see Christoper Lambert clash swords with Freddie Mercury at almost exactly the two minute mark. Do you need more of a reason to take four minutes out of your day to watch it just to see that?

That’s really it. All the sources I find say that Russell Mulcahy not only directed the film, but also the music video on February 14th, 1986. I couldn’t find any other credits.

I wish there was more to say, but it’s a simple music video for a great song. Enjoy!

Song of the Day: Bohemian Rhapsody (by Queen)


7330155_QueenBandBohemNew666

Who hasn’t heard and sung with Queen’s most iconic song ever. I know I can’t think of anyone that I know of.

“Bohemian Rhapsody” has become a staple of many best ever rock lists. It’s a song that’s been paid homage, imitated, parodied and copied by so many artists both music, tv, film and video games. This song has become synonymous with that most epic of all rock shows: arena rock. It’s an amalgamation of rock power ballad that bridges over to rock opera then into straight hard rock before circling back to a gradual softening of a coda.

One would think that all that wouldn’t mesh very well together, but with Freddie Mercury (arguably one of the greatest rock frontman) on vocals (who also wrote the lyrics), Brian May on lead guitar, John Deacon on bass and Roger Taylor on drums the song ends up not just great, but a gamechanger in how hard rock and heavy metal would be seen since it’s release.

Every hard rock and metal band worth their name would attempt to have their very own “Bohemian Rhapsody” to different degrees of success (I’ve always thought that the power metal bands like Blind Guardian have become successors in this endeavor). The song has become so ingrained in the general public’s pop DNA that just hearing a snippet of the song sans lyrics and people probably would know what song it was they just overheard.

Oh, it also has a killer guitar solo by Brian May which occurs after the ballad section and acts as a bridge into the operatic section of the track.

Bohemian Rhapsody

Is this the real life?
Is this just fantasy?
Caught in a landslide
No escape from reality
Open your eyes
Look up to the skies and see
I’m just a poor boy, I need no sympathy
Because I’m easy come, easy go
A little high, little low
Anyway the wind blows, doesn’t really matter to me, to me

Mama, just killed a man
Put a gun against his head
Pulled my trigger, now he’s dead
Mama, life had just begun
But now I’ve gone and thrown it all away
Mama, ooo
Didn’t mean to make you cry
If I’m not back again this time tomorrow
Carry on, carry on, as if nothing really matters

Too late, my time has come
Sends shivers down my spine
Body’s aching all the time
Goodbye everybody – I’ve got to go
Gotta leave you all behind and face the truth
Mama, ooo – (anyway the wind blows)
I don’t want to die
I sometimes wish I’d never been born at all

(guitar solo)

I see a little silhouetto of a man
Scaramouch, scaramouch will you do the fandango
Thunderbolt and lightning – very very frightening me
Gallileo, Gallileo,
Gallileo, Gallileo,
Gallileo Figaro – magnifico

But I’m just a poor boy and nobody loves me
He’s just a poor boy from a poor family
Spare him his life from this monstrosity
Easy come easy go – will you let me go
Bismillah! No – we will not let you go – let him go
Bismillah! We will not let you go – let him go
Bismillah! We will not let you go – let me go
Will not let you go – let me go (never)
Never let you go – let me go
Never let me go – ooo
No, no, no, no, no, no, no –
Oh mama mia, mama mia, mama mia let me go
Beelzebub has a devil put aside for me
for me
for me

So you think you can stone me and spit in my eye
So you think you can love me and leave me to die
Oh baby – can’t do this to me baby
Just gotta get out – just gotta get right outta here

Ooh yeah, ooh yeah
Nothing really matters
Anyone can see
Nothing really matters – nothing really matters to me

Anyway the wind blows…

Great Guitar Solos Series

Song of the Day: We Are the Champions (by Queen)


1024px-New_England_Patriots_logo_old.svg

I’ve used this song twice to celebrate my San Francisco Giants winning the World Series in 2010 and 2012 (so shocked they won 2014 that I forgot to post it) that I thought it only fair to use it for the New England Patriots. They are the new champions of the NFL after their thrilling win over the Seattle Seahawks.

It was a game that had our own pantsukudasai56 on the verge of losing it (and he probably did but in a good way and not the bad one I was predicting). The New England Patriots have become like a sort of second NFL team for me because of two people: Tom Brady (local boy made good) and Bill Belichik (the Dark Lord himself). Yes, two people who have their equal share of admirers and haters (probably more of the latter).

These two have now cemented their 4th NFL championship through the modern salary-cap era, adversity (concocted and self-inflicted) and heartbreaking losses. Yet, as much as people would hate on Belichik deep down most would dump their coach if it meant they would have him instead. The same goes for his apprentice in Tom Brady.

So, controversies aside, congratulations to the New England Patriots for winning Super Bowl XLIX.

We Are the Champions

I’ve paid my dues
Time after time
I’ve done my sentence
But committed no crime
And bad mistakes I’ve made a few
I’ve had my shelves and kicked in my face
But I’ve come through

We are the champions my friend
And we’ll keep on fighting till the end
We are the champions
We are the champions
No time for losers ‘cos We are the champions of the world

I’ve taken my bows
my curtain calls
You brought me fame and fortune
And everything that goes with it
I thank you all
But it’s been no bed of roses
No pleasure cruise
I consider it a challenge before
All human race
And I ain’t gonna lose

We are the champions my friend
And we’ll keep in fighting till the end
We are the champions
We are the champions
No time for losers ‘cos
We are the champions of the world
We are the champions my friend
And we’ll keep in fighting till the end
Ooh, we are the champions
We are the champions
No time for losers ‘cos
We are the champions

Congratulations to the SF Giants: 2012 World Series Champions!


Two years ago I celebrated the San Francisco Giants winning the team’s first World Series title since they moved to San Francisco from New York. Tonight they do it once again and it is a fine time to be a sports fan in the Bay Area. Looking like a mini-dynasty in the making I’m so very proud of this team and solidifies why my first sports love will always remain baseball and the Giants as the top sports team in my heart and soul.

So, congratulations to Sergio Romo for shutting down the feared Detroit Tigers line-up and for sporting one awesome beard. Congratulations to our city’s own Kung Fu Panda in Pablo Sandoval. No one’s talking and complaining about his weight problem now. He has achieved his inner peace and let this Dragon Warrior do what he’s good at even if it means eating and eating. Congratulations to Buster Posey who now has two World Series title under his belt and barely two full seasons of work as a major league baseball player. He’s the cornerstone of what looks like the team of the NL for years to come. Finally congratulations to Bruce Bochy. Let no one ever dispute whether he’s a Hall of Fame manager or belongs in the company of baseball’s great managers past and present.

Finally, congratulations to the rest of the San Francisco Giants, it’s fans, the City that has supported it and the rest of the Bay Area all the way down to San Jose who have supported the champs through thick and thin. Now let the celebration begin and let the parade of Champions start on Halloween.

Song of the Day: Princes of the Universe (by Queen)


The latest “Song of the Day” is from one of the biggest bands of the 70’s and 80’s. When one spoke about epic arena-style rock concerts then one couldn’t say anything unless they mentioned Queen. If there was ever a song which fully sold me on Queen it was the song they produced for the 80’s fantasy action film Highlander.

“Princes of the Universe” remains one of the best fantasy anthems. Part of why it’s so great is part Freddie Mercury’s performance and part how it perfectly fits the sword-and-fantasy film it was made for. It’s really difficult to watch anything Highlander and not have this song to be in the forefront. In fact, I would say that the song has aged much better than the franchise that gave birth to it.

Princes of the Universe

Here we are, born to be kings
We’re the princes of the universe
Here we belong, fighting to survive
In a world with the darkest powers, heh
And here we are, we’re the princes of the universe
Here we belong, fighting for survival
We’ve come to be the rulers of you all

I am immortal, I have inside me blood of kings – yeah – yeah
I have no rival, no man can be my equal
Take me to the future of you all

Born to be kings, princes of the universe
Fighting and free
Got your world in my hand
I’m here for your love and I’ll make my stand
We were born to be princes of the universe

No man could understand
My power is in my own hand
Ooh, ooh, ooh, ooh, people talk about you
People say you’ve had your day
I’m a man that will go far
Fly the moon and reach for the stars
With my sword and head held high
Got to pass the test first time – yeah
I know that people talk about me – I hear it every day
But I can prove them wrong ‘cos I’m right first time
Yeah, yeah, alright, let’s go, let’s go, ha haa
Yeah, watch this man fly, wooh
Bring on the girls – c’mon – c’mon – c’mon
Here we are – here we are
Born to be kings, we’re the princes of the universe
Here we belong
Born to be kings, princes of the universe
Fighting and free, got your world in my hand
I’m here for your love and I’ll make my stand
We were born to be princes of the universe of the universe of the universe
Of the universe of the universe

Song of the Day: Under Pressure (performed by David Bowie and Queen)


So, last night, me and Jeff were at the AMC Valley View to see The Adjustment Bureau (which I’ll be reviewing here either later tonight or tomorrow).  We ended up arriving for the movie a little bit late because, while in route to the theater, we got stuck behind the dumbfug toadsucker who was driving one of those goddamn box-like Smart Cars and, of course, he was so smart that apparently, he couldn’t bring himself to risk going over 30 mph. on a three-lane street.  So, we were stuck behind him like forever and then Jeff and I ended up getting into an argument about whether the driver was a woman (as Jeff claimed) or just some old hippie with long hair (as I claimed).  The driver also had decorated his car with a lot of political bumper stickers — “Obama in ’08,” “Impeach Bush,” “White For Governor,” “Jesus Was A Community Organizer,” “Jesus Was Not A Republican,” “Socialist And Proud,” “Trees Make the Air We Breathe,” and those are just a few of them.

(Personally, I would never put any bumper stickers on my car because, quite frankly, they’re a little bit too permanent for my taste.  I guess I’m too commitment-phobic to turn my car into a propaganda machine.  However, I was once tempted to at least order an “I’m Another Person Not Reading Your Crazy, Left-Wing Blog” bumper sticker and to place it on a life-sized poster of me extending my middle finger which I would have then sent to an ex-boyfriend.)

Anyway, we were stuck behind this guy for-freaking-ever and by the time we finally got around him, since both me and Jeff understand that  it’s actually more dangerous to go under the speed limit than to go over it, neither one of us had any sympathy for any of the political causes that the driver was trying to sell us on.  In fact, that driver came close to turning us into Sarah and Todd Palin.  (Don’t worry, we’re over it now.)  The lesson here, I think, is that if you’re going to turn your car into a moving advertisement for your political beliefs, make sure you can actually know how to drive.

Anyway, by the time we got in the theater, we were still kinda all like “RAWR!” about getting stuck behind that Smart Car but then we saw a trailer that soothed our nerves and calmed us down.  That trailer was for the upcoming Russell Brand film, Arthur

Now, don’t get me wrong.  The trailer looks awful and, having seen it, I now understand why so many people apparently can not stand Russell Brand.  (I liked him in Get Him To The Greek.)  Seriously, if not for one redeeming feature, the trailer for Arthur would hace to be the worst trailer since the trailer for Sanctum.

Playing in the background throughout the entire trailer was an old song from David Bowie and Queen, Under Pressure.  As long as we simply ignored Russell Brand and Geraldine James and just listened to the music, the Arthur trailer was not only bearable but actually enjoyable.  If nothing else, this song soothes our souls and brought both Jeff and me back onto the path of relative sanity.

Anyway, with all that in mind, how could I not devote a post to David Bowie and Queen’s Under Pressure?