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January 14 2005

Michelle Trachtenberg's "Ice Princess" already receives an icy welcome. (reg req) The reviewer looks over some of the offerings coming out of Hollywood and finds himself asking the question, "Does Hollywood think we're that lame-brained? Duds dominate upcoming releases."

The reviewer also list other movies he conciders to be duds that have connections to the verse, like 'Hide and Seek' which is partially produced by Sand Dollar Entertainment, who also produced Buffy and Angel. As well as 'Miss Miss Congeniality 2: Armed and Fabulous' which features former verser Elisabeth Rohm.

I only get a reg. req. message - is that right?
Yes, it's one of those sites where you have to register for free to read the article.That probably should be mentioned in the post.
Yep, from the look of it, it's an article that requires registration to view. Though with that being said, it's not an actual full-fledged review of the movie or anything. From what I gather, the author hasn't even seen the movie. Instead, the article is merely a list of movies that this particular critic isn't looking foward to. Beyond that, there's not much in the way of substantive critical content. So for those who don't want to register to view the article, the following is the pertinent paragraph regarding 'Ice Princess'...

March 18: Michelle Trachtenberg ("Buffy the Vampire Slayer") becomes a champion skater in "Ice Princess" and falls in love with the Zamboni machine operator.


Basically, the author just lists a description of the movie because he isn't particularly enthused with its premise. Which is understandable. But at the same time, I'm pretty sure he falls rather far outside of this film's target demographic :)
Don't think I will register then - mind you, "falls in love with the Zamboni machine operator" makes me shudder a little but then it is a tweenies-targeted movie so......
Saw the Ice Princess preview a few weeks ago. Michelle looked beautiful, the movie looked charming--for that kind of thing. Sure, it won't win any Academy Awards, but it's bound to be miles better than the trashy EuroTrip.
EuroTrip had one or two semi-amusing moments. I also saw the trailer for Ice Princess, and I seriously doubt that it will be able to meet even those (very modest) levels of entertainment.
RavenU: I amended your subject line to read "welcome" instead of "review" for the reasons pointed out by inverse. The movie may get glittering reviews when it's actually released. OK, that's probably unlikely, but there's no cause to put a chill (ouch, sorry) on that possibility at this point.

And I liked Eurotrip. So there. I'd rather watch that a dozen times than be forced to sit through another 10 minutes of Underworld. And I may take my daughter to see Ice Princess. Cos, you know, girls and skating. :)
Well I really liked both Underworld and Eurotrip so it just goes to show there's no accounting for taste :)
"And I liked Eurotrip. So there. I'd rather watch that a dozen times than be forced to sit through another 10 minutes of Underworld. And I may take my daughter to see Ice Princess. Cos, you know, girls and skating. :)"

Well we discussed Eurotrip before, and I'm certainly not going to defend 'Underworld' here, but being daughter-less, 'Ice Princess' holds about the same attraction for me as either of those movies! But then I'm hardly the demographic for it.

PS: Okay Underworld had ONE thing that puts it over these other movies: Kate Beckinsale in tight black vinyl for about the entire movie. What was the movie about? And was it good? Who the hell remembers?? Now if Michelle had walked around in tight black vinyl for the entire duration of Eurotrip....

PPS: Oh give me a break, she's an adult now.

PPPS: Uh....she is, right??
Well MT had that moment with the jeans and the coke machine and . . . what? It was a funny movie (and, yep, we've discussed it to death, I know). Strange thing with Underworld: the artsy lighting and all didn't present Ms. Beckinsale's charms in their fullest effect to me; in fact, I barely noticed her outfit. Or maybe I was still gagging over the ludicrous "script" and characters. In general, I'm not a big KB fan, but I have to say she looks darn good as Ava Gardner in The Aviator, a film which I quite enjoyed but not as much as most of the crits apparently did.
Seems like MT is having the biggest post-buffyverse career of all the supporting cast. It may be a bad movie but if it makes $ it's likely good news for her career, especially if she keeps doing independent films too. So good for her, but I just wish I could see more from some of the other actors. (Alyson & Alexis - quit with the extended honeymoon already & go make some movies!)
"Strange thing with Underworld: the artsy lighting and all didn't present Ms. Beckinsale's charms in their fullest effect to me; in fact, I barely noticed her outfit. Or maybe I was still gagging over the ludicrous "script" and characters."

Script? There was a script? Or characters? I remember some big shaven CGI dogs, but....characters? Huh. Who knew;-) And yes, the lighting could've been better on her, but then, there are ways to rectify that.

"In general, I'm not a big KB fan, but I have to say she looks darn good as Ava Gardner in The Aviator"

I remember KB at the Comicon for the Van Helsing panel and she came across as aloof and haughty. Clearly felt she was 'slumming' at the con. (Unlike Hugh Jackman, who had a ball and was really fun) Not crazy about her in general either. But she looks good in black vinyl....

As for the Aviator, I'm curious, but I have a problem with the 'hero-worship' vibe I'm getting from it. I don't hate Howard Hughes by any means but I do have some trouble with the attempt to paint him as an 'all-american hero'. I also heard they pretty much gloss over the fact that he started out as a multi-milionaire, (inherited money) which makes building businesses a lot easier than for others. And also, when he takes on the business moguls, which they try to show as 'heroic' too, he was as much of a business mogul himself.

Say, do they show the, ahem....last years? In Vegas? Surrounded by mormons? Scared of germs? That's the stuff that sounds interesting to me, but I notice it ain't in the trailers, hehe. Will definitely rent it though.

As for KB, I haven't seen her as Ava, but I found her annoying in Pearl Harbor. Every time she was on screen it looked like a lipstick commercial from the 50's.

"It may be a bad movie but if it makes $ it's likely good news for her career, especially if she keeps doing independent films too."

Gross-out 'we-wanna-get-laid' teen movies are rarely a good career step though. (especially if they bomb) And I hope she won't get stuck in the Disney mode. Who knows. But I didn't know she's been in independent films too. Do you know which ones? (Or I could just go check IMDB of course.....lazy bum, that's me)
Actually, The Aviator really isn't a hero worship flick; sure, we are impelled to root for HH, for instance when he is testifying in an effort to break the Pan-Am transatlantic monopoly or when he is trying to get the Spruce Goose off the ground, and we are given to understand that he was certainly a mechanical and probably a creative genius; but we also know that he started with money (the first 30-40 minutes of the movie are scenes of him throwing millions of dollars at Hells Angels), and the film doesn't spare us scenes of degradation (including germs et al) and paranoia. Or the implication that Howard liked underage girls. It doesn't go through the final years, but if we didn't already know, we are left with the firm impression that he is on the brink of total lunacy. The real issue I had with The Aviator is that it simply doesn't give us enough psychological insight - I left wondering what really drove HH, and where his psychoses came from. But it's a beautiful-looking movie. And Cate Blanchett is a scream as Katherine Hepburn.

Kate Beckinsale coming over all aloof and haughty makes me laugh though. As all Brits know, she's the daughter of Richard Beckinsale, a comic actor in such TV gems as Porridge and Rising Damp, who was, I believe, a straightforwardly working-class actor from the midlands (and who died tragically young). So KB is very much the social parvenue . . . Course, in America, that's great and all. This is just my residual English snobbery coming out.
But I didn't know she's been in independent films too. Do you know which ones? - EdDantes

Well, the dark and controversial 'Mysterious Skin' is classified as an independent film, and has been getting a bunch of critical praise, as you can read about at these Whedonesque links :)

On the horizon, Michelle's also lined up the independent film Odd Girl Out. And for a while, it looked as though she'd be involved in a film called 'Vinyl', but that flick has been plagued by casting and scheduling issues, and it may never get off the ground.

But yep -- Michelle's been actively getting involved in some rather daring independent film work :)
Blast you EdDantes! I was sooo going to post the "Holy cow! Underworld had a script?!" line! As I said recently somewhere I think Joss could have made Underworld ten times better without breaking a sweat.

The Avatior, from what I understand, does not really cover the later years. Shame 'cos there's lots of interesting stuff there, Glomar Explorer and the russian sub, the local TV station he bought just so he could make them play the movies he liked to watch, his people ordering a batch of his favourite Baskin Robbins after they stopped making it just so they didn't have to tell him they couldn't get it ( a 'batch' being ten thousand tubs.... ) and so on.

Michelle's indy movie is Mysterious Skin, about two late teens (not MT) who were abused when younger. I believe it's showing at Sundance but don't bother looking for it at your local multiplex.

And I liked EuroTrip as well. It would have been even better if they hadn't cut the scene with Michelle topless trying to hitch a lift. It's in the deleted features though. And being a big Coke drinker I was looking at the Coke machine while thinking "Mmmm, I'd really like some of that". Honest. Big Coke drinker.

She also has two other movies in the pipeline. Odd Girl Out which I think is a 'Disneyesque' type, and Vinyl, another indy type movie.
SNT: Glad to hear that about the Aviator. And I think I understand what you mean about the psychological factor. I've seen other biopics where I felt the same thing. You're never really allowed to get inside their heads.

"Kate Beckinsale coming over all aloof and haughty makes me laugh though. As all Brits know, she's the daughter of Richard Beckinsale, a comic actor in such TV gems as Porridge and Rising Damp"

Oh yeah I remember that guy. Interesting. Never made the connection. Btw, for a second, when you wrote 'porridge' I thought of the show 'Bottom' but that would be a mistake I think, hehe.

And I should add I could of course be completely off with the 'aloof' remark but it sure felt that way to me and most people I know that were there.

"Well, the dark and controversial 'Mysterious Skin' is classified as an independent film, and has been getting a bunch of critical praise, as you can read about at these Whedonesque links :)"

I knew that. I knew that. Really. It's just....early. Not awake yet. That's it.

"And for a while, it looked as though she'd be involved in a film called 'Vinyl'"

So that would be 'Michelle in Vinyl' then? That fits so well with my above remarks, I'm not even gonna go there;-) Or maybe I already did, uhm....

"Blast you EdDantes! I was sooo going to post the "Holy cow! Underworld had a script?!" line! As I said recently somewhere I think Joss could have made Underworld ten times better without breaking a sweat."

Hehe, beatcha to it. Yeah, what cracked me up the most was the 'romantic' subplot. She basically glares at him with that face that certain actresses pull when they have to be 'tough' for half a movie and all of a sudden they kiss. Ooohh I feel the wuuuvv.... Sorry, just...still funny.

Yeah a Joss film would probably have been ever so slightly better on the script end.
So that would be 'Michelle in Vinyl' then? That fits so well with my above remarks, I'm not even gonna go there ;-) - EdDantes

Ha! A very amusing little irony that I didn't pick up on ;-)

She also has two other movies in the pipeline. Odd Girl Out which I think is a 'Disneyesque' type - zz9

Well, since the premise of 'Odd Girl Out' is 'a rivalry between two girls at a boarding school', the movie might indeed give off the impression that it'll be family friendly or Disney-esque...

But from what I understand, the movie is actually not much like that at all. The movie isn't funded by any studio and is apparently a bonafide independent film -- and Michelle has said in interviews that the characters and story involve actual weighty emotional issues. When you read an excerpt from the script it does indeed showcase characters that sound pretty dark and messed in the head :)

So even though the premise sounds as though it might be fun and Disney-esque, 'Odd Girl Out' is apparently going to be a reasonably dark and challenging little independent film :)

[ edited by inverse on 2005-01-15 06:54 ]
Inverse, interesting to hear that and makes it an even better choice hor her career wise.

I like Michelle and I think she did a fantastic job on BtVS. She was 14/15 when she started and was thrown into a key (har har) role with some heavy duty issues and scenes alongside a cast that were older and had been doing the roles for four years and IMHO more than held her own.

Now she needs a couple of movies that give her the chance to show what she can do. In a week when Hilary Swank (Movie debut Buffy The Vampire Slayer) is being talked about for another best actress Oscar it's not impossible that MT could be there in a few years. It depends on the role, and if Marisa Tomei can get one for Cousin Vinny then maybe Eurotrip should have been a contender?
zz9: personally, I was also really impressed by the performances Michelle put on during Buffy, especially given how young she was at the time.

It's something that Joss Whedon echoed in an interview that he gave at the end of S5. He noted how amazed and impressed he was with Michelle and her ability. In general, the interview was a really good read. Sadly, I can't seem to locate it on the net, anymore, but an excerpt is as follows...

"I'd say the biggest surprise, even though I suspected it, was the fact that Michelle Trachtenberg is one of the great actresses of our time. Her scenes with Sarah were just so wonderful, and they elevated the show so much. Those scenes jazzed Sarah in a completely new way, and they love working together.

"Michelle is such a home run as an actress. Sometimes, in a situation like that, you get someone in and it doesn't quite work out, so you say, 'Well, let's resolve that a little earlier than we thought we were going to do! For me, that was really the only X factor going in, because we basically designed Dawn to be the love interest for this year, to be the big emotional attachment of the year, and not have it be about a boyfriend. If Michelle had not had the chops that she has, we could never have gone to some of the places we went, but she's staggering."

"There had been some people who had trouble finding their footing. Eliza [Dushku] was very tentative when she started - if you can even imagine such a thing - she started out sort of uncertain, and we weren't certain of her, and a year later, she basically owned the screen. She was just riveting. I think Marc [Blucas] had a wonderful quality, but there was definitely a learning curve with him as well. When he left, he had a great deal more presence and power than he had when he started. This happens with a lot of actors, but with Michelle, her audition moved me so much that I thought, 'Okay, I think we're going to be safe here,' and then from minute one, she just hit every challenge completely out of the park. Not that there wasn't some directing to be done and some things to learn, but for a 14-year-old to come in at that level of performance is kind of astonishing."

- Joss Whedon (June 2001)


[ edited by inverse on 2005-01-15 06:55 ]
Wow, Eliza tentative? Color me suprised! I thought she was spot on from day one. Though the fact that the character was running from a secret and putting on an act could have been helped if Eliza was 'putting on an act' and a bit uncertain.

Again, she was in the same situation, younger than the other cast and new to a show and a group well extablished, thrown into a central role in the season.

But again, props to MT. Her big knife "Is This Blood" scene and many more scenes that season and the next were great.

I suppose reading comments like this from Joss make up for some of the hate mail she got...
Yeah, Eliza being described as tentative was indeed somewhat surprising to hear. It serves as a contrast to the rough-and-ready nature we associate with Faith's character :)

I'm guessing though, that when Joss says Eliza was initially tentative, he wasn't necessarily referring to what ended up onscreen in her performances. Instead, I think Joss is probably saying that at the start, Eliza might have been kind of uncertain and tentative as to how to play the character, and might have needed the producers and/or directors to provide her with guidance, and instruction about what they wanted. And then as she became more comfortable, and got a better sense of who Faith is and how Faith thinks, Eliza eventually took more control of the role, and was no longer tentative about how to play that character.

I might be wrong, but I'm thinking that's probably what Joss was trying to say in his comments. i.e., that even though Eliza was awesome on-screen, there was an initial timeframe behind-the-scenes where she was somewhat uncertain of herself and tentative about playing the character. And thus she needed some support and guidance to help her crank out her performances. Then later on, she gained a confidence and comfort level in the role, and really took charge of things :)
In the book What Would Buffy Do? : The Vampire Slayer as Spritual Guide by Janet Riess, there's an interview with Eliza that talks about this hesitation with playing Faith:

"After the first shoot, Joss and producers weren't feeling my rhythm, and Joss wasn't seeing what he wanted...I had five people directing me in that last scene with Kakistos, and I was really self-conscious and uncomfortable."

She goes on to talk about Joss and co wanting her to see an acting coach, and how Eliza didn't like the way the coach brought the emotions out. She finishes up that part by seeing "Finally, I think it came down to me being directed by one person, and that was Joss. We somehow just clicked and took off with it. And all these different colours started to come out of the character."
OK, back to Eurotrip.
Can't help it, I loved it.
Laughed my butt off!!!

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