Sunday, July 13, 2008


To paraphrase George Clooney in Intolerable Cruelty, Catherine-Zeta Jones fascinates me. Unlike some of her 20-movies-a-year peers (I'm talking to you, Nicole Kidman, whose recent break was pregnancy-induced), she acts relatively infrequently. I just found out that she has a new movie out this weeked, Death Defying Acts (see poster above). So does Eddie Murphy (Meet Dave) and Brendan Fraser (Journey to the Center of the Earth). Who knew? I'm so out of the movie loop. I didn't even hear about Oscar's latest Best Picture contender, Wall-E, until the day before it came out. Here in Buenos Aires, sometimes I feel as if I'm living under a rock.

Death Defying Acts is the second consecutive Zeta-Jones movie in which she's the parental figure of a young girl played by a recent Best Supporting Actress Oscar nominee (the category in which Zeta-Jones so deservedly won for Chicago in 2003). In last year's No Reservations, she was the aunt and guardian of Little Miss Sunshine's Abigail Breslin, and in Death Defying Acts, her daughter is played by Atonement's Saoirse Ronan, who, incidentally, co-starred as Michelle Pfeiffer's daughter in 2007's I Could Never Be Your Woman, a romantic comedy directed by Amy Heckerling (Clueless) that never made it to theaters in the U.S. but was released in BA as El Novio de Mi Madre (My Mom's Boyfriend). Woman was no Somethings Gotta Give, but with talent like Pfeiffer and Heckerling involved, it's a complete mystery to me why The Weistein Company didn't deem it fit for a theatrical release in the U.S.

Of all the major actresses in Hollywood today, Zeta-Jones and Cate Blanchett remind me most of the classic era. I've always thought of Zeta-Jones as a modern-day Ava Gardner, and I'm on the edge of my seat in anticipation of seeing her as Lana Turner in the upcoming murder mystery Stompanato. Here are my six favorite Zeta-Jones movie moments:

  • Her movie star character's humiliating comeuppance at the screening of her new film in America's Sweethearts.
  • When she hisses "Keep your paws off my underwear" to RenĂ©e Zellweger in Chicago.
  • The scene in Intolerable Cruelty in which George Clooney mutters, "You fascinate me," as Zeta-Jones walks away.
  • When her pregnant good-girl-turned-bad issues the command "Shoot him in the head!" to an assassin in Traffic.
  • Her performance of "All That Jazz" at the beginning of Chicago (see video below). Musical nirvana! I knew then and there that Oscar was hers!
  • The closing credits of The Terminal because it meant that the terminally boring film was finally over.

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