Tagged: Penelope Cruz

Day 7 of “Operation Cliff Lee Countdown”

Today was movie day and I hoped I’d emerge from the theater, power my iPhone back up and find out there was Cliff Lee news. No such luck. But the movie I saw was worth talking about. It was “Biutiful,” the new film from the director of “Babel” and “21 Grams.” Starring Javier Bardem and set on the seamy side of Barcelona, it’s the story of a man who learns he’s dying and tries to put his life in order – especially when it comes to his two young children. No, it’s not an upbeat film by any means, but Bardem is sensational – the best performance he’s given yet, which is saying something if you saw him in “The Sea Inside” – and it touches on many complex issues, from immigration to parenting. Here’s the trailer.
After the movie, there was a Q&A with Bardem. Of course I raised my hand. 
“Was it physically challenging to play a man who was dying?” I asked. 
“I didn’t play a man who was dying,” he said. “I played a man who was in denial about dying.”
O-kay. Later, I spoke to him one-on-one at a private reception, and he was so charming, not to mention gorgeous. He talked about his wife, Penelope Cruz, and the baby they’re about to have. Very personable guy.
Speaking of romance, Nick Swisher is marrying his girlfriend, Joanna Garcia, at the Breakers in Palm Beach this weekend. (Maybe they’ve already done the deed as I’m writing this.) 
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No word yet on the names of Yankees attending, but the point is that Cliff Lee could have been one of them if he had decided to become a Yankee already!

Doesn’t he realize what great teammates he’d have? He already knows and likes CC and AJ. And who wouldn’t want to be on the same team as Jeter and Mo? And Swisher? Now come on. Tonight’s Countdown video is of Swish at an award dinner in his honor and I posted it because of the last part, where he talks about Joanna. So sweet. Cliffy, you’d be missing out by not joining these guys. I hope you get that.

If I See Kate Hudson, What Should I Ask Her?

Saturday is my film festival screening of “Nine,” the movie musical in which Kate Hudson sings and dances and, according to advance reviews, is very good. As you can see from the following invitation, there’s a reception after the screening for the movie’s director, Rob Marshall, and a “special guest.”
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Now it’s very possible that the “special guest” is Penelope Cruz, Nicole Kidman, Sophia Loren, Judi Densch, Marion Cotilliard, or even Daniel Day-Lewis (although I doubt that one). But it could also be Kate. She was in New York taping “Letterman” on Thursday night, but could have flown to LA afterwards, right? The point is, she might be the “special guest” tomorrow afternoon. And if she is, I’ll feel compelled to at least introduce myself and mention the Yankees. On the other hand, she seems not to want to discuss the Bombers or A-Rod.





But she did laugh a lot in that interview (and she does sound like Goldie), so maybe she’s not that uptight about A-Rod questions. So what should I ask her? Here’s what I was thinking:

* Were you always a Yankee fan or did you find religion because of A-Rod?

* How did you two meet?

* Was it love at first sight?

* Do you get along with the Yankee wives?

* Are you really having a cat fight with Minka?

* What do you and A-Rod talk about?

* Does A-Rod read any Yankees blogs?

* Could you tell him about this blog?

* Would you mind doing an interview for the She-Fan Cam?


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Let me know if I forgot anything. Wish me luck.



What Kate Hudson Does When There’s No Baseball

It turns out we’re not the only ones who’ve gone back to real life now that the season has ended. Only in Kate Hudson’s case, it’s “reel life.” Opening Christmas Day is “Nine,” the movie musical based on the Tony Award-winning Broadway show. It was directed by Rob Marshall, who also directed “Chicago,” and it stars Daniel Day-Lewis, Nicole Kidman, Penelope Cruz, Judi Dench, Sophia Loren and, yes, Kate, who is said to be terrific in her singing and dancing number. 
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Today my Santa Barbara Film Festival Cinema Society group sent out invites to the December 12th screening, which will be followed by a Q&A with Marshall and possibly some cast members. Will Kate be coming here? And if so, is there any way on earth I won’t annoy everyone in the audience by asking her about A-Rod instead of the movie? She didn’t seem too pleased to be answering A-Rod questions in this MTV interview.
She was more relaxed fielding softballs from Mary Hart on ET.
I’ll probably have to drag my husband to see the movie (he hates musicals), but I’m looking forward to it. Here’s the trailer. I was amazed when I heard Kate singing. Minka Kelly, eat your heart out.
Will A-Rod be at the premiere, doing the red carpet thing? It could happen.
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Oscars And Laundry = Glamour And Drudgery

Michael and I used to go to a friend’s annual Oscar party when we lived in LA. But now that we’re in Santa Barbara, here’s how we’re spending the evening: I’m doing laundry and Michael is reorganizing his office. We’re one fun couple, aren’t we? A regular Brad and Angelina.

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Oops. The show is starting.
No. It’s only the “red carpet” show where the stars are being asked truly idiotic questions about what they’re wearing.
O.K. Here’s the real show. Host Hugh Jackman makes a steroids joke about Meryl Streep and all the awards she’s won. I wonder if A-Rod’s watching.
Best Supporting Actress. Love that they’re actually describing the performances of each nominee. Well done. Penelope Cruz? I wasn’t expecting her to win; I thought Marisa Tomei would get it. Even Penelope seems shocked.
Best Original Screenplay. Really love the bit with Steve Martin and Tina Fey. So far this show is great. Milk wins. Very impassioned speech.
Best Adapted Screenplay. Slumdog Millionaire. The writer actually thanks the author of the book. What a concept.
Best Animated Film. Jennifer Aniston and Jack Black present the nominees, while the camera finds Angelina Jolie laughing nervously. Is Angie feeling guilty for stealing Brad from Jen? Winner: Wall-E.
(Laundry break during Art Direction, Costume Design and Makeup. Am I the only one who thinks Sarah Jessica Parker looks better as a blonde?)
Best Cinematographer. Ben Stiller comes out doing a Joaquin Phoenix imitation. What a riot. Natalie Portman‘s dress is a winner. So is the cinematographer of Slumdog, who apparently couldn’t find a jacket that fit.
Sci-Tech Awards. I’m tuning this out except that Jessica Biel is at the microphone and I’m wondering if she was the one who broke up with Derek Jeter or vice versa.
Hilarious bit with Seth Rogen and James Franco as stoners watching DVDs. Best line: “Who’s a better actor? Reagan or Obama?”
Long musical number with Beyonce. I feel like I’m watching the Tony’s. Yawn.
Best Supporting Actor. I really do like how they’re stopping to acknowledge each nominee. Heath Ledger wins. His father, mother and sister accept the award. There are close-ups of teary, wistful audience members, but not the long standing ovation I anticipated. Weird.
(Another laundry run during the Documentary category. Then dinner during Visual EffectsSound Effects, Sound Mixing and Film Editing. This is when I wish we had people over. I could be busily serving hors d’oeuvres or pouring wine. Instead, the only wine I’m pouring is my own.)
Eddie Murphy is all business as he introduces the special humanitarian award to Jerry Lewis. Big standing O. I’m expecting an over-the-top acceptance speech – a little Cinderfella maybe? – but Jerry is short and sweet.
Great pink/purple dress on Alicia Keys as she and Zac Effron present the Best Original Score award to the Slumdog composer, whose name I can’t spell. 
Now come the Best Original Song nominees. This is the category Peter Gabriel boycotted; he was offended that he was only getting 65 seconds to perform his song from Wall-E. I’m offended he was offended. Who does he think he is? Beyonce? The winner: Slumdog. Yay.
Queen Latifah has the task of singing during the Dead People Montage. I ask Michael to pass the tissues when they show clips of Paul Newman. Sob.
Reese Witherspoon (I’m staring at her really hard, sending her vibes so she’ll play me in the still-in-my-fantasy movie version of “She-Fan”) presents the Best Director Oscar to Danny Boyle for Slumdog.
Is it possible this show will be done before midnight/9 p.m.? And where’s Jack Nicholson? He usually sits in the front row in his shades and smirks a lot.
Best Actress. Standing ovation for Sophia Loren, Shirley MacLaine, Nicole Kidman, Halle Berry and Marion Cotillard. Winner: Kate Winslet. No surprise, but it was cool how the past winners congratulated her.
Best Actor. Big hand for Michael Douglas, Adrien Brody, Robert DeNiro, Ben Kingsley and Anthony Hopkins. Winner: Sean Penn. Wow! Stunned that Mickey didn’t get it, but happy. Sean was great in the movie.
Last award. Steven Spielberg is on stage for Best Picture. Love the montage mixing old and new movies, Winner: Slumdog. Talk about a rags to riches story. It’s the equivalent of the Tampa Bay Rays.
Well, I had to end with a baseball analogy. Back to the Yankees tomorrow.

Yankees Cap in Santa Barbara: The Sequel

My last post was about how I had a run-in over this.

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Today I ventured out in it again….this time to a local theater where Roger Durling, the executive director of the Santa Barbara International Film Festival, gave everybody a preview of the movies we’ll be seeing between January 22nd and February 1st. The Festival is a big deal here in town, and since I love movies almost as much as I love baseball, it’s a big deal for me too.
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I settled into my seat with a few hundred other Santa Barbarans and braced for an incident involving the words “Yankees” and “suck.” Maybe yesterday was not an aberration and I’d be called out again for my allegiance to the Bombers.
Nope. Nothing. This was such a polite crowd that nobody even asked me to remove my cap so they could see over my head. Crisis averted.
Roger kicked off the afternoon by telling us about the stars who were coming to accept awards and attend parties, including Kate Winslet and Penelope Cruz. But it was when he said, “Clint Eastwood,” that I really snapped to attention.
Clint Eastwood? Clint “Get off my lawn” Eastwood? One of my all-time faves?

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Turns out he’ll be here on Thursday, January 29th. I probably have no shot at meeting him, but stranger things have happened.
“I wonder if he likes baseball,” I whispered to my husband Michael, who told me to be quiet.
“I bet he’s a Giants fan,” I said anyway. “He used to be the mayor of Carmel, which is closer to San Francisco than L.A.”
“You have a one-track mind,” said Michael. “Give baseball a rest, O.K.?”
“I’m just -“
“Shhhush.”
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Fine.
I sat silently as I learned about the Festival’s opening film, a political thriller called “Nothing But The Truth,” with Kate Beckinsale, Matt Dillon and Alan Alda….about some foreign films that are rumored to be Academy Award nominees….and about “Going Home,” a documentary about the Beach Boys’ Brian Wilson, who will be on hand for a Q&A.
I was thinking how much I was looking forward to the movies and yet….I was also thinking how antsy I’m getting about spring training. I want baseball to start!

Just then, something amazing happened. The Festival’s director said, “This weekend we’ll be showing a movie called ‘Sugar.’ A big hit at Sundance, it’s a terrific film about baseball.”
All right! I gave my husband a “So there” look.
“Sugar” is the story of a ballplayer named Miguel “Sugar” Santos, who’s recruited from his home in the Dominican Republic to play for a minor league team in the Midwest after he masters the art of the knuckle curve.
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The movie is about his adjustment to life in the American Heartland and gives us inside looks at both minor league baseball and the immigrant experience.
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Here’s a review I pulled from Variety. Sounds interesting, doesn’t it? But hey, it’s a baseball movie. How bad could it be?
I’ll weigh in once I see it. In the meantime, check out this clip of the writer-directors speaking at the Sundance Festival a few days ago.
One more thing….Happy birthday to my Red Sox-loving brother-in-law up there in ice-cold Concord. Have a great day, Geoff!

Movie Breaks

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No, I haven’t gone all TMZ on you. I’m aware that the winter meetings are kicking off in Vegas. But since I have absolutely no control over what happens there, I might as well take a break for some movies.
The Santa Barbara International Film Festival starts at the end of next month and it’s a big deal here in town – sort of a mini-Sundance. It lasts for two weeks and everybody sees tons of movies and hears actors talk about their work. Last year, for example, we had Angelina Jolie (accompanied by Brad) discussing “A Mighty Heart.” We also had Javier Bardem, who cracked jokes about making “No Country for Old Men” with the Coen brothers.
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Grrrr. Such a sexy beast.
The year before, we had Helen Mirren, who ended up winning the best actress Oscar for “The Queen.”
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Veddy veddy proper lady – until she admitted that she quite enjoys playing nude scenes.
And Will Smith and his wife Jada were on hand so he could tell us about “The Pursuit of Happyness.”
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Don’t they look like a loving couple? Either that or they’re….acting.
This year, we’re getting Penelope Cruz and Clint Eastwood, among many others, and I’ll be sitting in the front row for every event.
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O.K. I’m lying about the front row. I’ll be lucky if I can see anything from way up in the balcony, but it’ll be fun just the same.
In advance of the Festival, the studios send prints of their films that are in contention for awards and we get to screen them.
Recent screenings have included “Doubt,” “Milk,” “Frost/Nixon,” and “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.” Before that, I saw “Body of Lies,” “The Secret Life of Bees,” “The Changeling,” “Vicky Christina Barcelona,” and the French film “I’ve Loved You So Long.” My favorites of those? “Frost/Nixon” and “Vicky Christina Barcelona.”
This weekend, I saw two more films. The first was “The Reader” starring Kate Winslet.
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Interesting shoes if you like dog collars.
It opens January 9th and co-stars Ralph Fiennes. Set in post WW II Germany, it’s based on the bestselling novel and Oprah pick. Here’s the setup: Ten years after his affair with a mysterious older woman, a law student discovers she’s a defendant in a war crimes trial. It’s not a Holocaust story; it’s more about the generation of Germans dealing with its aftermath. Very compelling. I bet Kate gets an Oscar nom.
The other movie was “Frozen River” starring Melissa Leo. Remember her as Detective Kay Howard on “Homicide?”
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It’s an indie flick that was shot in, like, 20 days for hardly any money, and it takes place in a border town on the Mohawk reservation, somewhere between New York State and Quebec. Melissa’s character is drawn into the smuggling of illegal aliens in order to feed her kids. It’s winning all kinds of pre-Oscar awards. It certainly opened my eyes to the problems of Native Americans.
Here are the trailers for both films in case anyone else needs a break from speculating about which free agent will land where. (Come on, Cee Cee. Sign already.)