The Big Cheese could, rightly, be accused of focusing too much on the masculine side of film and TV. I do admit to getting distracted by a dark and handsome face, and professing my (sometimes fleeting) love for that face all over this site. But it would be remiss of me to not stop and make mention of some of the females out there who, for one reason or another, I greatly admire. So in the spirit of sisterhood, girl power, and doing it for the ladies, here are my top 5 ladies (at least of the moment!):

TINA FEY (the inspiration)

As a comedy writer myself it would be impossible for me not to list Ms Fey as a great inspiration to me. She is a great writer, a wonderful comedian (or comedienne, if you must) and a fantastic role model for all the women in comedy who are still struggling to make it in one of the last professions which can truly be called sexist. And not only has Tina competed, she has kicked some ass! The writer of the fabulous film Mean Girls (remember when Lindsay Lohan was good?), and creator of the hilarious 30 Rock, she is also a SNL alumni, this year’s winner of the Mark Twain Award (for outstanding contribution to comedy), a wife and a mother. And not only that, she seems like a genuinely awesome person too.


This amazing actress is so often overlooked, as she has so often taken on parts in rom-coms, and cheesy dramas. But to be honest, since she played Lucy (my name) in While You Were Sleeping, I have always had a soft spot for Sandra. More recently though, I have seen her interviewed, or giving awards speeches, and even seen her improvising with Ryan Reynolds and Betty White while promoting The Proposal, and she is honestly one of the wittiest, and most intelligent women around in Hollywood. She is dry, self deprecating, and not afraid to make fun of herself. She is definitely someone I would love to have dinner with sometime. And not only that, the woman looks amazing! At 42 (which is still young – but getting on in Hollywood terms) she looks natural, beautiful and damn straight fantastic. Yep, I got some big love for Sandy.

ANNE HATHAWAY (the new queen)

There is something about Anne. Her beauty is not your standard blonde, tanned LA thing. She rocks the pale look. She has eyes and lips that almost look too big for her head, and yet somehow on her, they work. She chooses interesting roles, is funny, warm, genuine and intelligent when interviewed, and always comes across as her own woman. She is going to be co-hosting the Oscars this year (with James Franco), which is testament to her entry into the A-List Hollywood stratosphere, and her easy charm and comedy skills. It will be very interesting to see what the future holds for Ms Hathaway. I suppose first stop will be to play Catwoman in much-anticipated The Dark Knight Rises.

BLAKE LIVELY (the it girl)

Blake, Blake, Blake. She’s on the cover of every magazine, apparently breaking up every relationship in Hollywood, and just embarking on what is sure to be a great movie career. But the thing about her really is that she is just so damned good looking. It’s honestly ridiculous. Her hair is like something from a follicular wet dream, so thick and long and freakin’ beautiful. She has a perfect figure, and the face of an angel. I should hate her, and all her perfection. But I don’t. I like her. I like that she dated Penn Badgely, her Gossip Girl co-star, for years. I like that her first post GG role was as a skanky prostitute in The Town. I like her fashion choices, and style. I just like her. But we’ll see how I feel when she starts dating Jake Gyllenhaal!

DREW BARRYMORE (the sister we never had)

When people ask me the question, “Who would you like to play you in the story of your life?”, my answer has always been Drew. One of the most likeable people in Hollywood, she is charming and cool, and seems like a lot of fun. She has also dated some very interesting men, including the lovely Fabrizio Moretti (from The Strokes), and very funny Justin Long. You get the idea that she dates people she finds funny and interesting, rather than because it will be good for her career. I mean she did marry Tom Green! The fact is, I will always see a Drew Barrymore movie. I always enjoy watching her. I think she’s the one starlet we all think we identify with – despite the fact none of us were child stars or teen drug abusers, nor have we ever dated a Corey, owned a successful film production company, dated a rock star, been an Angel of the Charlie variety, or one of the most successful actresses of our generation. But, you know. Apart from that….

Honorable Mentions: Meryl Streep, Amy Adams, Brenda Blethyn, Emma Stone, Helen Mirren, Rosamund Pike, Christina Hendricks, Christa Miller….


So, I went to see Love & Other Drugs a couple of weeks ago, and to be honest, I really enjoyed it. There I said it! I know it received some mixed reviews, and many accustations of vacuousness, and advertising drug companies were squarely levelled in its direction. But, as usual when I read a scathing review of a “chick flick” I enjoyed after seeing the film, I wonder whether we simply have different values in what makes a good film. For me, if the story is engaging, the leads charming, the acting good, and the cheese on the bearable side, then I’m pretty happy.

Ok, so I’m probably not the best judge of these things – I could honestly watch Jake Gyllenhaal stand next to grass growing for 2 hours and enjoy myself. But I thought it was great to see Jake working his charm, and humourous side – and the nudity was just a bonus! And, having always had a bit of a girl crush on Anne Hathaway, I enjoyed the chemistry between them.

However, I think what I’m really beginning to enjoy about Jake, as his career progresses, is his ability to move between big, budget, big name driven films (Prince of Persia, Day After Tomorrow), and low budget, character driven films (Donnie Darko, Brokeback Mountain, Jarhead). And his next film, Source Code, is precisely the latter. From the director of Moon, Duncan Jones, Source Code looks to be a high concept drama/thriller, with a good mix of the pulse-racing and the thought provoking.

And Jake is rocking some pretty sweet stubble action. Nice.

I have recently (and very belatedly) been watching the one, precious season of Freaks & Geeks, the show that gave us many actors who are now familiar faces (Seth Rogen, Jason Segel, Busy Phillips, Martin Starr). None, however, have gone onto greater success than the handsome, James Dean-esque James Franco.

With his idol looks and lazy charm, it is evident even in Freaks & Geeks that he had movie star potential, which meant it wasn’t long before we started seeing him on the big screen. Of course, like everyone else who didn’t watch Freaks & Geeks, I first noticed him in Spiderman, but it wasn’t until I saw the small historical flick Tristan & Isolde that I really started to appreciate the Franco potential. A potential that has been coming to fruition of late. While he has had some great roles over the last few years, 2011 really is set to be the year of Franco.

First he is starring in the much-talked-about Danny Boyle film 127 Hours, tipped to be a strong Oscar favourite, particularly for Franco’s role and the self-amputating, adventure seeker Aron Ralston. And then he was recently announced as co-host of the Academy Award ceremony (with Anne Hathaway) a departure from recent comic and musical hosts of the recent past, and certainly heralding Franco as new Hollywood royalty.

I for one, will be very interested in watching Franco’s rising career over the next few years. And let’s face it, he ain’t hard to watch!

We’re at the pointy end of this year’s X Factor, with only four acts, and one performance show to go – otherwise knows as The Final!! Apparently it’s going to be a four hour extravaganza, as this year there are 4 acts instead of 3. Which means a extra guest celebrity duet, an extra epic cheesy ballad, and four versions of the winners’ song.

So who’s going to take it out this year? Firstly, let’s discount Cher. Bottom two last week, and just not the cup of tea of enough people to get her over the line. There is only so far a rap bit in the middle can get you, and sometimes her hair is so big that I think it will snap her little neck like a twig.

Then there are Rebecca and Matt. Rebecca Ferguson is the favourite of all the people who think they are above the X Factor, but watch it anyway. They all think she’s amazing. Plus she’s got the single mum backstory thing, and she seems genuinely lovely. But frankly, if you ask me, I find her a little dull. Sure, she’s got a voice on her, but she just stands there, occasionally raising her hands. Like a robot. A pretty, stylish robot, but animatronic none-the-less. To me, I just don’t think all the ballads and “doing it for my kids” will be enough to beat the “hot boy factor” she is up against.

First, Matt Cardle, who Mums and daughters around the UK are swooning for, and apparently sneaking into the utility cupboard to secretly vote for. And I must admit, I really like Matt. I had a massive crush on him at boot camp, and I think he is interesting and talented, and seems like a genuinely nice bloke. I would definitely sleep with him. But can he win it? I think he’ll be in the final two, and there will be a tense moment when we all think he might actually take the prize, but I just don’t think he’ll quite get there.

Why? Because the evil genius that is Simon Cowell has created the ultimate X Factor winning weapon. Who mostly watches and votes for the X Factor? Teenage girls. Who starts online fan clubs, stands outside the X Factor house, and buys tickets to the X Factor tour. Teenage girls. So Cowell scoured the 1000s of auditionees, and picked the 5 cutest teenage boys I think I have ever seen. And for some reason, they look really good together, and can sing well enough that there is almost no way that they won’t win this thing.

Think about it. Lloyd Daniels got to the top 5 and he could hardly sing, “Eggnogg” Quigg got to third, despite Ireland not being allowed to vote. And the fact his head looked a bit like a potato. JLS almost got there, and have gone on to have a massive career. Cowell has taken all these lessons, and created a pop marketers dream.

But I think the real thing about One Direction, is that it’s not just teenage girls who love them. I am about 13 years older than they are, and against all my better judgement, I adore them! I watch the X Factor from back in Australia now, and when I don’t get up early and stream it live, I watch the videos individually on Youtube. So it has been very easy for me to establish my preferences – and I always watch One Direction first. Sometimes twice.

And let’s be honest. They might not be the most talented singers in the world, but they’re not terrible. They’re always in tune, and probably vocally stronger than any other group that has been on the show. Cos remember, Aston took the lead vocals for JLS in the end, but One Direction share it around. They’re lucky to have Liam Payne – who I was sad to see not get a chance as a solo performer, after his amazing audition – who always starts them off confidently, but now Harry Styles is really hitting his stride as the wailing heartthrob, and Zayn Malik is taking his place as the smooth, moody, husky voiced one. I think it’s only Louis Tomlinson who hasn’t had a solo (Niall Horan has had a couple, and fills the blonde quota), but watch any of their video diaries (and I’m ashamed to say I have) and you can tell why he’s there. He’s the funny one.

Oh why! Why why am I inexplicably drawn to their little haircuts and cheeky smiles? Why do I know all their names?! It’s wrong! They’re about 16, and still in high school! But I love them. And mark my words, win or lose, this won’t be the last you hear of them. Bedroom walls will bear their little faces. Girls will scream and faint. Marketing genius will prevail.

PS. Ok, they came third! A real surprise for me. Who knew that Mum’s were voting more than teenage girls? Still, it won’t make any difference, One Direction will still be huge. And maybe when they turn 18 I’ll feel less guilty for thinking they’re so cute!

If the current success of One Direction on X Factor, and the domination of Take That 2.1 is any indication, the boyband is back.

Perhaps I’m showing my age here, but I remember a time long ago. A time before One Direction, and JLS . Before Take That, and N’Sync. Before Boyz II Men even. A time when there was one name and it was New Edition.

They are almost legends of the scene now, but I’m sure a lot of the Beiber heads, and JLS fans have never even heard of them. So here is your New Jack Swing-ducation. I hope you have half the fun I have been having listening to these old school jamz.

Want more? How about the side project Bell Biv Devoe..?


Damn. I know this is jumping on the proverbial band-wagon. Because frankly, if you’re the kinda girl who knows her movies, and knows her actors, the name Andrew Garfield has been whispered  in reverent, excited tones for a while. You could tell that the people who knew what they were talking about knew that once The Social Network was released the world would know what they knew already.

But the problem is that at the moment there is a new British IT boy every year. First there was Orlando Bloom, and then James McAvoy (who I had a crush on for all of about 5 minutes when I saw Becoming Jane). Then there was Ben Wishaw. Young handsome actors, plucked from drama school and/or early rave theatre reviews, and selected for Hollywood stardom.

So I was understandably skeptical about Garfield. Here’s another skinny, brown haired, foppy Englishman poised for his fifteen minutes. And then I saw The Social Network. And it wasn’t a “hot man walks on the screen and the women fall in love” moment, a la Brad Pitt in Thelma and Louise. I don’t know that he is even conventionally good looking, in that Hollywood way. But maybe that’s what I like about him. There is a character and a warmth that emanates from him when he speaks, when he moves. And he plays Eduardo Saverin so well, that he really is the only character in the film you really feel for (something that was obviously intended, but a testament to Garfield’s performance too).

But even then, I didn’t walk straight out of the cinema and write this post. The film, and his performance just kind of lingered with me. Then this girl was talking about the film to me, and she said she didn’t think he was cute. I felt suddenly defensive and offended for him! So today, at work, I found myself doing my usual Googling session and started reading and watching interviews with him. And he is serious, and sometimes almost borderline pompous, but also desperately sincere and lovely.

Finally I came across this interview in Interview magazine, where he spoke to Terry Gilliam, director of his film The Imaginarium of Dr Parnassus, and a couple of things he said really resonated with me.

First, when asked about doing “ordinary jobs”, he reveals that when he first moved to London he worked at Starbucks:

GARFIELD: I was actually really excited to work there. There was a very American, romanticized idea that I had in my head about what it would be like to work in a coffee shop. I thought of coffee shops as the kind of place where you met really smart, interesting, quirky girls with thick, black-rimmed glasses. But it didn’t turn out that way at all. I ended up being pursued by this girl who was very cool, but she just wasn’t my type . . . It was a personality thing more than anything.

GILLIAM: Because she was unattractive. Let’s just be honest about it. [laughs]

GARFIELD: Well, no. She was very cool. She just wasn’t my type.

GILLIAM: There you go—she was ugly.

GARFIELD: [laughs] I will not say that because I don’t believe anyone is ugly. How’s that?

GILLIAM: Oh, god!

GARFIELD: [laughs] She really was the coolest girl.

How gorgeous is that??

And then, later in the interview he talks about what he would have done if he hadn’t been an actor.

GARFIELD: I’d probably go to school. I’d travel. I’d go wandering and get lost for a minute, like Jack Kerouac. And then afterwards, when I realized it was all vacuous and vapid and meant nothing to me, I’d probably take up photography.

Beautiful. Andrew Garfield. I think I love you.

Joseph Mazzello and Jesse Eisenberg in The Social Network

Ok, so everyone is banging on about The Social Network at the moment. And with good reason, it’s an awesome film, the story is relevant and intelligently told, the three leads (Jesse Eisenberg, Andrew Garfield and Justin Timberlake) give excellent performances, and of course it’s directed by David Fincher and written by Aaron Sorkin. But what people aren’t talking about,  what they should be talking about is the fact that that’s the kid from Jurassic Park!!

Sometimes I used to wonder what happened to little Joseph Mazzello. He was in Radio Flyer and then that little dinosaur film that a few people saw, and then he grew up… Which is always difficult for cute kid actors. It’s a bit hard to get work when you’re not so cute anymore. But little Joseph is all growdsed up! And to be honest, I didn’t even recognise him! And I always recognise people!

It wasn’t until the credits were rolling and I saw his name I went, wait a minute… If it isn’t little Timmy the human piece of toast!

So take my advice. Go see The Social Network, and in between thinking, “That Andrew Garfield is a bit of a spunk”, and marvelling at how the filmmakers managed to make computer coding interesting, spare a thought for the reemergence of J.Mo. Let’s hope we see more of him soon!