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A matter of type

"I like playing ugly people who are failures but ironically I’m very attractive and very successful."

That's British comic actor Steve Coogan talking to Entertainment Weekly in an article that asks why he's not a bigger star in the United States. Maybe his latest film, Hamlet 2, will remedy that - but there's really no knowing these things. Many brilliant British stars have failed to make it in the US. Sometimes it's a matter of "type" - which explains why cuddly Dudley Moore had a Hollywood career and his arguably more talented but less immediately likeable comic partner Peter Cook didn't. Even John Cleese, one of the few genuine comic geniuses, has failed to make a huge impact in America.
PS: Full marks to Coogan for suggesting Americans check out classic comedies Porridge, Steptoe and Son and Hancock's Half Hour.

Brangelina's twin set

How to show the pictures you don't have? Show them in the context of the cover of the magazine that did shell out the big bucks for them. Well, that's what every other media outlet is doing, so I will too. Here, on the cover of People, are some celebrities who just had a baby. Or maybe two babies. Of course, as some wit has already noted, all babies look like Winston Churchill, so what's the fuss?

BIFF bonanza

A former colleague and I used to joke that each year the Brisbane International Film Festival would put out a media release saying that ticket sales were "up 17 per cent". Not this year. They're apparently up 18 per cent. By my reckoning, after years of this kind of growth, everybody in Australia will be going to a BIFF screening this year.

Rub a dub tub

Ho do you create buzz about a new film? Give it a fun, intriguing name. Hey, it worked for Snakes on a Plane (at least until people saw the picture), so it might work for Hot Tub Time Machine. Although there is currently no information at, various reports have writer Josh Heald as saying it "follows a group of guys, adults who used to be cads back in their heyday, who, after a night of vodka and Red Bulls in a hot tub, travel back in time and set out to rediscover their mojo." We'll have to wait until 2010 to know for sure.

Lindsay Lohan not hit by motorbike

Gay and proud Lindsay Lohan was not sideswiped by a motorcycle while leaving a nightclub in New York with constant companion Samantha Ronson. Details on that breaking story here (where eonline write Jovie Baclayon points out how silly the whole business is.)

What Nic's worth

It seems I am not the only one with reservations about Nicole Kidman's talents. According to Forbes magazine, she is the star who returns the least to the studios that employ her. The Forbes list (here in The Independent) shows that Vince Vaughan returns $14.73 for each dollar spent on his wages, while Our Nic returns just $1.01. Interestingly, Nic's mate Naomi Watts is No. 5 from the top of the list, returning a healthy $12.16, while her ex, Tom Cruise, is near the bottom, returning just $3.99.

Do we need another hero?

Nothing succeeds like excess - especially in Hollywood. Plans to reactivate the Robocop franchise illustrate this perfectly. With features featuring Iron Man, Batman and Spider-Man doing so well at the box office, you can bet that anything with even a hint of superheroics about it will get the green light. But if I were a wannabe filmmaker, I'd start trying to guess what the Next Big Thing is going to be. History will, of course, be the guide to this.

Great Aussie movie moments

An idea that originated in Shanghai, China has become a radio competition in Brisbane, Australia. I mentioned on my other blog how a colleague had purchased a DVD with an "Australian" language option. Well Daniel Viles, the consultant funnyman on Spencer Howson's 612ABC radio show, picked up the idea and ran with it. Listen to the result:

Over at there's my original discussion with Spencer.
Update: Apparently Spencer has also blogged about it here, but I can't read it because his blog is, for some inexplicable reason, not available in China.

Dark Knight's big night

The Dark Knight earned US$18.5 million in midnight screenings alone. The film - which, you would know unless you've been on a Trappist retreat all year, stars the late Heath Ledger as the Joker - is bound to smash all records this weekend and over the coming weeks. Does that make it the best film ever? Without seeing it, I'd categorically say No. I'm sure Legder is brilliant in the film - and all the critics seem to agree on that - but it's not the reviews that's driving people into cinemas. Ledger's mysterious death just after completing filming has created the kind of buzz even the most cynical marketer wouldn't dare to desire.

Our Nic snubbed

I was surprised to see Nicole Kidman and Keith Urban on the cover of US People magazine at an expat-friendly store in Shanghai yesterday, wondering whether there would be such great interest in the Aussie* duo among American readers. I was not surprised to read today that sales for the mag were below average.
* Yes, I know, Urban was born in New Zealand and Kidman in Hawaii.

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