Yesterday, I watched a movie called Gimme Shelter on Netflix. I didn’t realize that Vanessa Hudgens was actually in the movie until I started it, and even then, I questioned whether or not it was her. Now, my only references to her work other than the High School Musical franchise, was Sucker Punch. That being said, I didn’t really have any high expectations. I’d heard of the movie briefly before, but didn’t get a chance to catch it when it was in theaters. That being said, Netflix is a wonderful invention. Based on a true story, Hudgens plays Agnes “Apple” Bailey, a pregnant runaway teen. The film co-stars Rosario Dawson as her drug-addled mother, Brendan Fraser as her well-to-do biological father, James Earl Jones as a compassionate priest, and character-actress, Ann Dowd as Kathy, the woman who runs a shelter for homeless, young mothers.
The role of Apple is a far cry from Hudgens’ current project as the title character in Gigi on Broadway. Her portrayal is riveting, raw and honest. She gave the role everything her talents could provide, had the dialect down, and was vanity-free. She really shines and seems to leave the Disney star behind with this role. In a key scene in the hospital, Hudgens spars with James Earl Jones and holds her own against the industry veteran. That scene itself pretty much sealed the deal for me, giving me a new found respect for an actress who has often been simply labeled a teen star. Although the film could sometimes have the feeling of a Lifetime movie or even reminiscent of Precious, it is well executed and performances elevate it to a level that makes it worth a watch. It’s currently on Netflix and I am glad I stumbled upon a gripping tale with amazing performances.
I’m going to be living up to part of my blog name this morning and going on a little rant. After all, this IS RantsReviewsandReels. The 2014 Emmy nominations were announced this morning, and it begs the question that rabid fans of the show Orphan Black have been shouting from their rooftops: HOW?! How was Tatiana Maslany, who just WON the Critic’s Choice Award for best actress, NOT nominated for an Emmy?! How? More importantly, why? Who was it on the Best Actress in a Drama list to bump her off? Fans of the show who have been devoted watchers from the start, or even more recent converts were SHOCKED this morning. Even Entertainment Weekly said it best: How many different characters does Tatiana Maslany have to play to score an Emmy nomination? Seriously now, how many characters does it take? She’s already been playing 5 regular clone characters since season 1, and they added more for season 2. To top it all off, ALL of them have different personalities, looks, and one of them is even a female to male transgender character all of whom are played by ONE actress. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, Tatiana Maslany’s performance on Orphan Black is some of the best acting I have ever seen. Ever. And if you thought her playing different characters was a trip, try playing a character who is pretending to be someone else who is pretending to be someone else. Then, there’s the technical aspect of acting with acting doubles, tennis balls, and then nothing–literally nothing, and giving a full-out believable performance. Season 2 was quite a ride, and I can only guess which episode the Orphan Black team submitted for Emmy consideration, as it only got more complex. But seriously, given the other actresses on that list, no one can hold a candle to the work that Maslany does. She would need her own category, and about seven different Emmys to take home.
There’s a site that provides creative commons music to the public to download and listen to for free. Sometimes, you can even use it for your YouTube videos and film projects depending on a particular artist’s regulations for distribution. On the website, the artists will put something that lists how they want their music to be used; like this:
You can copy, distribute, advertise and play this track as long as you:
Give credit to the artist
Don’t alter, transform or build upon this album
Don’t use this album for commercial purposes
It’s a great tool for singers and stand-up comedians to use to share their music.
For example, one of my favorite artists is ProleteR. He’s an artist based in France who fuses jazz, hip-hop, instrumentals, and electroswing that’s energetic and super fun to listen to. You can download both his LP, Curses From Past Times, and his EP, Feeding the Lions, for free. Jamendo is not only a wonderful resource for performers, it’s great for audiences to discover new and interesting music from all over the world.