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MUSINGS OF A MEANDERING MIND #31 (article first published : 2007-02-21)

So Helen Mirren has deservedly won the Golden Globe for Best Actress for her role in Queen and I look forward to seeing it, having read an extensive interview and also heard the oh-so-talented Helen chatting to Michael Parkinson about the challenge it was to capture the very essence of Queen Elizabeth.

I’m also a HUGE fan of the delightful Kate Hudson, offspring of the eternally youthful Goldie Hawn, though I’m glad to see daughter has not followed mother’s example by going the route of plumping up the lips (or perhaps Giggly Goldie just has a naturally pouty look!) and I just adored her in the wonderful comedy How to Lose a Guy in Ten Days, but I’ve NEVER seen the beautiful Kate getting the opportunity to sink her teeth into a horror-movie role, and THIS one had me absolutely RIVETTED!

Should YOU get the chance to treat your peepers to The Skeleton Key make sure you’re able to sit in one place for just over 90 minutes, for you’ll not be able to miss one moment of this fascinating voodoo-like tale, as our heroine, a care-giver, sets out for the ‘Burbs in order to look after a stroke victim (wonderfully played by John Hurt). The horrors that have her almost coming unravelled occur thick and fast, leaving you gasping for air as you sit perched on the VERY end of your chair! Unless you’re one of those who can’t fall asleep if this kind of treat keeps you glued to your seat just prior to bedtime then perhaps you’d be better giving it a miss: if NOT, see THIS miss in action in a fascinating flick – not merely if you’re a chick - and you’re sure to enjoy it enormously!

Purely by chance, I also watched a fascinating promo for another thriller coming our way pretty soon, this time on the big screen, this one titled Silent Hill, another one in the evil genre which promises to blow you out of your socks so, should you be a ‘fraidy-cat, consider yourself duly warned!

The reason I was spellbound by the trailer for this film was because I am always interested in the work of young child actresses and absolutely ADORE (never mind highly respect) the around-ten-years-old cutie-pie called Dakota Fanning. I caught her on TV in War of the Worlds in which she co-starred with Tom Cruise. The maturity of this youngster is mind-blowing, and the highly-respected Robert de Niro will attest to this. My prediction is that she’ll do just as well as the likes of Helen Mirren and Meryl Streep in time to come.

But THIS time the face of the young lead actress was totally new to me – that of one reputed (by her older co-stars) to have a glowing film career ahead of her. Her name? Jodelle Ferland. And she plays no less than three roles in this film!

This horror/suspense/action flick (to quote the director, Christophe Gans) features yet another slightly familiar face - that of Laurie Holden, who plays the action girl who serves as some sort of guide to the younger character. Then there’s another promising actress by the name of Radha Mitchell (who plays the mother, Rose Da Silva) who told us that reading the script scared her to death - going on to say that, though she’s played in several action flicks before, this particular role has been her MOST challenging to date. She’s quoted as saying the storyline deals with all one’s own fears – AND amplifies them!

I really enjoy the behind-the-scenes type trailers we see on upcoming films but also the anecdotes related by the actors on what must be my very favourite talk-show of all time, and that is Parkinson (the evergreen “Parky”, as he’s fondly known in the UK). As it goes out late at night, after the Friday 8.30 movie (and sometimes not strictly as per the time indicated in the M-Net schedule) I capture it on video for viewing next day. I think I’ve loved each and every guest interviewed in his inimitably warm and winning style but the programme that went out on January 12 was really a goodie, featuring as it did musician Noel Gallagher (now more than seven years clean), that highly humble and VERY fine actor, Dustin Hoffman, and not-quite-yet-elderly rocker, Rod Stewart. By the way, Rod’s mellow rock number, recently released, titled I Fooled Around and Fell in Love is a goodie (and a must for my private collection), which he performed live in the interlude (to tumultuous applause).

But it was the soccer talk that ensued between Noel and Rod that had me stitches – mostly because Dustin put in THE best performance of his acting career when he put on an indignant, pouting face - indicating he was being overlooked - and moved to a different seat, turning his back on the lot of ‘em, after which ensued a comical routine of musical chairs which went on for several minutes and had the audience in stitches!

At the time, I thought that particular show could not POSSIBLY be topped – but it was. The final programme in the current series of Parky featured yet more amusing guests. This time, Ben Elton, who’s evidently written a fascinating novel which sends up the world of reality TV (The X Factor and Simon Cowell type programmes such as Idols in particular), who talked at a rate of knots quite unbelievable and was not only funny but hysterically so. Then someone who totally outdid the amusing Ben, someone who’s always OTT (Over The Top) and even occasionally totally unmanageable (as he was when appearing on Oprah recently), and that’s comedy actor Robin Williams. These two had me (and my two dinner guests) in absolute stitches – but what was even funnier was watching the urbane Daniel Craig (he who has just had such a hit as the new James Bond) trying desperately to hang on to his dignity in order to retain his image and looking, at times, quite out of it! Once again the musical interlude led me to discover yet ANOTHER singer who appears to be a new-muso-on-the-block, this time the delightfully mellow James Morrison with a wonderful piece he’s written called The Pieces Don’t Fit Any More.

In fact, it was on Parkinson that I heard, for the very first time, that hunky foursome Il Divo - and I reckon I must have been one of the first to try to track their music down in this country. News hot of the music press is that they’re visiting SA very shortly (as is Sir Cliff Richard) but, sadly, once again Durban is NOT on the itinerary! Listen and look out for announcements should you be one of the lucky ones residing in Johannesburg or Cape Town: they’re even including the delightful Botanical Gardens at Kirstenbosch for a couple of shows – and, oh, how I wish I could be in THAT audience!

Till next time, then, keep up those New Year’s Resolutions that you set for yourself (I managed to shed a further 3kg while on holiday – unlike most folk who return somewhat heavier) and I’ll continue to do the same!- Bev Pulé




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