No, Rob. The beard must go.

Look, I’ll admit to being one of the – oh, half a billion – females on the planet that think that Robert Pattinson can be bloody sexy if he wants to be. (And when he’s not in Twilight. I’m sorry, he’s just too pale – and that’s a lot coming from me, seeing as I prefer pale guys.)

But the beard has come back – after about a year of being relatively fuzz-free, it looks like Rob’s been popping fertilisers in his spare time. In a tweet this evening I described him as a “wannabe-wookie” or a “drunken lumberjack”. (Pics taken on 21 October at LAX).

He looks like something out of Star Wars. The Prequels. Tell me I’m wrong.

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I’m not dead… I promise

Right, well seeing as I could be in the running for the Most Useless Blogger, Like, Ever award I thought I’d just post an update. It’s a little different to my usual updates… although this could be partly because I’m in one of the weirdest moods ever.

I always have fantastic intentions when it comes to this blog. I’m always convinced that I’m going to change the whole world with my blog posts… And then stuff like that little wedding that happened and ten billion movie reviews and that new movie about sparkly vampires comes along. Oh, okay, and mostly lots of rereading old  Hyperbole and a Halfs and Hurricane Vanessa’s blog. But mostly work. I promise. And a lot of Facebook. And New Scientist and… well, you get the picture.

But mostly it’s being sad, having no energy and in general just losing my joie de vivre. Break-ups have this horrible way of infiltrating every.single.aspect.of.your.bloody.life until you start feeling like some tragic heroine in a cheap paperback novel. Or at least, that’s how I feel.

[You can duck out now if you’d rather wait for something fun and relevant to the entertainment world. Like my planned piece on the Lady Gaga video which is dropping this Thursday night.]

Continue reading

It’s Robert Pattinson on Vanity Fair… With a reptile.

I would love to know the thoughts behind the styling and theme for the latest edition of Vanity Fair. Seriously.

I mean, apart from the entertainment value. The hysterical giggle that burst through my lips when I first saw it.

Sure, there’s the fact that it was taken by superstar photographer Annie Liebovitz. So, therefore, it must by default be awesome.

But it’s Robert Pattinson. Dressed as Crocodile Dundee. With a baby reptile slung over his shoulder all casual-like.

You know you want to see it, so I’m happy to oblige.

Robert Pattinson

Robert Pattinson on the cover of Vanity Fair.

There’s also a really cool interview, where he talks about fame, Kristen Stewart, admiring Charlie Sheen (!) and working on his latest film.

Haul out the holy water for the first Afrikaans vampire film…

You know, I thought we’d have been done with one vampire movie out of South Africa in a 12-month cycle. (Everybody remember Eternity?) But no, there’s another local vampire film – and this one’s in Afrikaans.*

From the two teaser clips posted so far, this film actually looks like it could be pretty cool. You know, in a completely over-the-top, insane kinda way. Lots of blood and gore (I’m unlikely to look at Francois van Coke in the same way ever again). Plus, Rob van Vuuren in a vampire film? Genius. I’m sold. It’s supposed to be pretty rock ‘n roll, really gritty… Bring it on. (Just for the love of all things, please sub-edit your subtitles so that there aren’t glaring spelling/grammar errors like another South African movie I watched recently…!)

Anyway, the coolest thing about Bloedsuiers (that’s the working title, apparently) is not its storyline or its cast. What interests me the most is its plan for funding… They’re working on an idea gaining momentum in the US and Europe called “crowd funding”. And yes, it’s actually exactly what it sounds like.

Basically, fans (potential fans?) pledge an amount to donate to production. In the case of Bloedsuiers it can be as little as R30 (that’s a little over $4 for my American readers) – although I’m sure the larger the better. Obviously the producers aren’t relying only on the generosity of the fans (and with the Budget announced today, I’m feeling distinctly ungenerous and financially very jumpy) and will also be seeking private funding – but it’s a cool concept. Fans who donate will be rewarded with exclusive content and merchandise opportunities – so there’s more incentive than just being able to claim that you helped finance a movie. (And I would totally claim that).

* Anybody else waiting for an SABC version of True Blood? You know that’s next on the list, right?

What’s with all the sequels, Hollywood?

Transformers: Dark of the Moon

Transformers: Dark of the Moon

The Geologist and I went to see Joel & Ethan Coen’s True Grit last night, (great acting, directing and cinematography – but where did the rest of the Oscar nominations come from?!) which reminded me of a Moviefone blog post that I stumbled across recently.

Basically, they spoke to a handful of actors and filmmakers at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival and asked them what they would change about Hollywood. And the answers were largely the same – and something that’s a major gripe of mine. Filmmakers and studios need to be more original, take greater risks with the material they produce and – for the love of all things good and holy – stop churning out remakes, sequels and franchise films.

If you look at the list of films scheduled for release in South Africa in 2011, you’ll notice it’s jam-packed with sequels with ridiculously large numbers (Saw 7, Pirates of the Caribbean 4, Scream 4, Kung Fu Panda 2, The Hangover 2, Transformers 3, Cars 2, Spy Kids 4, Final Destination 5, Paranormal Activity 3), remakes and adaptations (The Green Hornet, The Green Lantern, Thor, Captain America, Water for Elephants, Footloose, The Three Musketeers, Never Let Me Go and Let Me In) and other, massive franchise films (The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part One, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part Two and X-Men: First Class). *

And it all boils down to money, really. Studios know that no matter how crap the sequel is, if the first film was good enough, people will stream into cinemas and wave their wallets around. Look at Transformers 2 – where even the cast and crew involved reckoned it was a load of rubbish. So it’s a safe bet – why spend $20-million funding an original film, no matter how amazing the cast/crew/script, when you can splash out $100-million on a big-budget remake and/or sequel and just watch the money roll right on in? Continue reading

Hollywood paycheques: Men vs. Women

Jack Sparrow

Johnny Depp as Captain Jack Sparrow

A colleague of mine pointed out something interesting yesterday.

In the top 20 of Vanity Fair’s list of the top 40 earners in Hollywood there are only two women. In the entire top 40? Only six. Six out of 40. And not one in the top ten.

Reese Witherspoon was the lowest lady on the list at number 36 with R106-million earned in 2010. Katherine Heigl clocked in at 33 with R117-million, America’s sweetheart Sandra Bullock claimed 22 with R160-million and was pipped to the post by Angelina Jolie, who earned R171-million.

In the top twenty former Friends star Jennifer Aniston (seriously, how does this girl keep getting movie deals?) who raked in R179-million last year. And the highest rated woman? Twilight Saga star Kristen Stewart, who snatched 13th place on the list of the top earners in 2010 with R208-million.

Let’s put this in perspective. The top earner was James Cameron, who earned R1.8-billion last year. Granted he lucked out with that tiny movie he made about blue people last year, but my mind actually warps when I try to picture having that amount of money in my bank account. (Jim, if you’re listening – I’m putting my younger brother through university and I could happily use one hundred thousandth of your earnings. Seriously.)

But comparing Cameron and Stewart isn’t helpful. He wrote, directed and produced Avatar, so naturally he’d have a claim to a lot more money than any of the actors he cast in it. So the highest actor on the list? Johnny Depp, at position two. Captain Jack Sparrow himself earned a massive R729-million last year – he scooped R291-million for starring in Alice and Wonderland.

So the divide between the highest paid actor and the highest paid actress? A cool R521-million.

The great divide

Yes, I know it’s Johnny Depp and he’s, well, Johnny Depp. I love the guy to pieces. But the Twilight Saga is the thirteenth highest-grossing film franchise of all time. And The Twilight Saga: Eclipse? The third film in the franchise was the sixth-highest grossing movie of 2010. It’s not like Kristen Stewart and company aren’t raking in the cash!

If we’re looking at big names, there are no two bigger on the list than Angelina Jolie and Depp. And hey! They starred in a movie together – The Tourist – which the critics absolutely loathed. And she earned a whole million dollars less than he did for the film. And it’s Angelina-freaking-Jolie!

Surely there’s something wrong here, right? It’s clear that women are getting paid a whackload less than men are – whatever the “official” reasons are, I have no idea. Not being a Hollywood bigwig myself, I can’t provide justifications for why this happens. If you do know, then let me in on the secret please.

But the numbers really, really don’t lie. Where Johnny Depp earns a R255-million fee for Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, Kristen Stewart earns a combined R182-million fee for both parts of The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn. And at the moment, I’d feel they are both ridiculously bankable stars. (Just ask the millions of Twi-hards chomping at the bit for the next vampire love fest).

It’s the Hollywood Boys’ Club, I’m afraid. Much as women don’t get paid nearly as much as their male counterparts, they also don’t get nearly as many award nominations when it comes awards season – particularly for directing … which is a rant for another day.