Visual Xanax: Conscious Coupling

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If we could, we would.

Image: Christian Slater and Milla Jovovich on the set of Kuffs, 1992

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Visual Xanax: Slide Sexy Into the Weekend

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Weekends are made for living in pajamas, whether only venturing far enough out of bed to read the paper by a crackling fire, or stepping into boots and the thickest ply cashmere coat around for drinks around the corner.

With frosty temperatures settling in, it only makes sense we’d find a sexy, comfy set of pajamas to face the chill.

Milla’s got her head on right. We’ll be thinking of her all weekend, thanking her for the idea.

Photo: Milla Jovovich photographed by Juergen Teller for The Face Magazine, July 1994

What To Keep In Mind This Memorial Day Weekend (Slideshow Inside)

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And suddenly it’s summer. Memorial Day weekend will happen mostly elsewhere, but I love the empty city and will use the time to relax, reflect, and regroup. I most note the death of Robin Gibb reportedly from a cancer which could have been treated if only he had taken a test. I had no contact with Mr. Gibbs. I once tried to book the Bee Gees for the Palladium for New Year’s Eve, but my high offer was about one-third their low. The loss of Robin Gibbs, Donna Summer, and Adam Yauch from cancer way before any reasonable expectation of life sends a shudder through me. There are no guarantees, there are no guarantees. I do believe the rain will stop and this summer will be hot, Al Gore-hot, but the now-keener awareness of my immortality is embracing the rain and all the other miracles I enjoy every day.

I almost went to Vienna this year for the Life Ball. It was held in Vienna, Austria at its City Hall last Saturday, May 19th. The world’s flamboyant, fabulous, and fierce gathered as they have for the last 20 years. Party planner Kevin Crawford tried to coax me to go with him and his, but alas, I couldn’t swing it. His entourage included my dear friend Marko Kalfa, who sent me these wonderful photos. Around us, people are still suffering from AIDS. People are dying far before their time. From the amFAR website:

"Life Ball is the world’s most extravagant HIV/AIDS benefit. Held annually in Vienna, Austria, Life Ball combines the great Viennese Ball tradition with glamorous, outlandish performances and inspirational speeches. Organized by the AIDS Life Association, Life Ball has raised more than $22 million during the past 19 years for HIV/AIDS projects worldwide through partnerships with amfAR, the William J. Clinton Foundation, the Elton John AIDS Foundation, and UNAIDS. Through the Life Ball, the AIDS Life Association has been a major supporter of amfAR’s TREAT Asia Pediatric HIV/AIDS Initiative."

This year, Life Ball celebrated its twentieth anniversary under the banner “Fight the Flames of Ignorance.” Attending Life Ball for the first time, Milla Jovovich was amfAR’s representative. “For me, Life Ball is about solidarity,” she said. “It’s a wonderful example of how people and organizations coming together can change the world.

As you head out into the weekend and all its glory, think preemptively, and think of how precious life is and drive slow… be safe and have fun. Talk to you Tuesday.

Visual Xanax: Milla Americana

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Family and togetherness, it’s what Thanksgiving’s all about. But if all that family is giving you a little grief, take a moment with Milla Jovovich’s American flag bikini bottoms and the best red sheer blouse we’ve seen in a while.

Take a big hit of the smolder and let that red punch up your mood. What are we thankful for? Milla.

Milla Jovovich Should Really Model More

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I know she has that whole acting thing going on, but really, Milla Jovovich should model more. The Ukrainian-born multi-hyphenate graces the cover of Elle‘s Ukraine issue for July and, at 37-years-old, she completely kills it and could put any of today’s younger cover stars to shame. Lensed by Eric Guillemain and styled by Marine Braunschvig, the shoot features Leeloo sporting designer threads by the likes of Lanvin and Louis Vuitton in a meadow-y, warrior princess-type setting. I want her hair and I want her genes.

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See the full campaign here and check out some vintage Jovovich from the vault below.

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Milla Jovovich & Summit Entertainment in Public Smackdown

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It seems that Milla Jovovich is not just a bad ass in movies like Resident Evil, but in life. The actress who stars in The Three Musketeers 3D, out this weekend and directed by her husband Paul W.S. Anderson, is smacking down Summit’s marketing campaign on Twitter, the new #1 place for disgruntled employees to air their grievances against their bosses. Summit instead of controlling the issue by ignoring it entirely, is firing back. Public beat down!

Milla asked her followers: “Are ‘summit’ promoting it as a family adventure movie? Or are they resting on their laurels from ‘twilight’ n making no effort? Let me know!” This was followed by: “I think ‘summit’ hve swept ’3 Musketeers’, a grt family adventure film, under the rug in the US. Shame on them. SHAME ON YOU ‘SUMMIT’.

She even managed to get in an undercut at Twilight!

An executive from Summit told Deadline that since Milla is up in Canada shooting her next film she probably just didn’t catch any of the promotion.

Well placed undercut of Canada!

Summit would clearly like to teach her some manners, saying:

“Wouldn’t you think she would call us first about this? It’s frustrating. it’s not the right way to behave. If she has a problem then come to the studio and talk about it.”

She could have done that, but she’s getting a lot more PR starting a fight. But will it actually get more people to see a story they’ve already seen in one form or another at least a dozen times, over the scare-the-shit out of you Paranormal 3?

Robert DeNiro and Edward Norton Re-Team In The ‘Stone’ Trailer

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For the first time since 2001’s pretty decent The Score, the legendary-but-now-tarnished Robert DeNiro has teamed up with Ed Norton, one of the best character actors of his generation, and the result is Stone, a sexy prison thriller about an arsonist trying to manipulate his way out of prison. The trailer is out and…yup, yup, okay, not bad. DeNiro does his squinty-eyed world-weary tough guy routine, Norton disappears inside a chewy accent and a pile of cornrows, and Milla Jovovich — playing Norton’s wife, who seduces DeNiro, Norton’s parole officer — is finally given something to do besides shoot zombies.

As decent as this looks, I’m a little bit disappointed by the trailer, at least in that it’s a DeNiro project. DeNiro made his name starring in some of the greatest films of all time, yet he seemed content to spend the aughts keeping busy with sub-bar projects and mining his tough guy/curmudgeon persona for cheap, if lucrative, laughs. Sadly, this doesn’t look like it’s going to reverse that trend.

If DeNiro is simply tired of really trying and just wants to spend his golden years making serviceable, if less than transcendent movies, that’s certainly his prerogative. With Raging Bull, The Godfather, Taxi Driver, Mean Streets, Goodfellas, Casino, et cetera et cetera, already in the bag, the man doesn’t owe us a thing.

On the other hand, why isn’t he teaming up with real talent any more? What, Paul Thomas Anderson or Martin Scorsese or the Coen brothers or whoever don’t have any juicy roles for him? We used to expect brilliant performances from DeNiro. Now we’re conditioned to expect by-the-numbers performances.

Oh well, at least we have Little Fockers to look forward to this Christmas.

Bend It Like Bentham: Jeffrey Slonim on Surveillance

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In his Panopticon writings from 1787, philosopher Jeremy Bentham described a prison with a column serving as an all-seeing eye at its center. Inmates lived in constant fear, aware of the possibility that they were being watched at all times—that, as George Orwell wrote of Big Brother in his prescient 1984, “Every sound… was overheard and except in darkness, every moment scrutinized.”

In the era of iPhones, digital cameras, Twitter and security devices with face-recognition capabilities, the threat of constant surveillance from a single set of eyes seems almost quaint. There are 30 million security cameras currently operating in the United States. The average American is recorded by them more than 200 times a day. In response to decades of IRA attacks and the 7/7 terrorist bombings, the United Kingdom installed more than four million CCTV cameras, with the artificial intelligence to follow “panic running,” in cities throughout the country.

Big Brother has his eyes on all of us these days—no one more so than celebrities, who have to contend both with the now pervasive privacy violations and the insatiable paparazzi. “We had some freak in our backyard taking pictures of the house,” mentions a rightfully paranoid Foo Fighter Dave Grohl. “I saw a car in the driveway. The tinted window was down a little and I thought, What the fuck! The guy could have blown my head off. I didn’t know what was going on, and then I realized it was a camera. And then he said, ‘Do you mind if I get some better shots of you?’”

“In Malibu, they fly over our house in a helicopter. And if we’re outside, they circle,” says Mira Sorvino, speaking of the unstoppable lensmen. “I was with my grandmother after she had a pacemaker put in, driving back from Cedars Sinai, and this photographer started following us in the car and taking pictures as I was driving,” recalls a horrified Milla Jovovich. Alan Cumming was once confronted by a fan with a phone cam in a loo. “I had my pants up,” he says. “But it wasn’t nice.” Director John Waters agrees, noting dolefully, “Aren’t cell phones the bane of everyone’s existence?”

Christoph Waltz, the Austrian actor whose riveting, charismatic performance as SS Colonel Hans Landa in Quentin Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds has serious Oscar buzz, describes himself as a “great supporter of privacy.” He points out that during WWII, “It was all manpower, with individuals watching over other individuals. But with the technical development over the past 50 or 60 years, it’s machines watching over individuals.”

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Those machines are more powerful than ever. Mike Heller, a lawyer and founder of Talent Resources, a company that negotiates celebrity appearances and endorsements (and a near-constant companion of Lindsay Lohan when she appears in public), says that celebrities “never know when someone is watching. Someone can take a picture and it can appear on the Internet, traveling the globe in less than two seconds.”

Even the faltering economy hasn’t slowed the stalkerazzi, who have developed the look of hungry hunters. “I was just followed through the West Village,” says actress Jennifer Esposito. “It’s really weird… I mean, it’s me. You’re not making any money from these pictures. Why would you do this?”

In 1984—the year, not the Orwell novel—German director Michael Klier created Der Riese, or The Giant, a feature film created entirely from actual security footage. In the haunting opening scene, set to a classical score, darting images of a plane landing become as mysterious and misty-transcendent as a Turner canvas. The overwhelming viewpoint of Der Riese is the untouchable height of the cameras, a nod to the title. They are a giant peering down, belittling our very existence.

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And yet, some of us favor this type of scrutiny—at least some of the time. Seventy-one percent of Americans approve of increased security cameras. “As much as people say, ‘I don’t want surveillance,’” says Dan Abrams, chief legal analyst for NBC and founder of Mediaite.com, “the minute any crime occurs, people say, ‘Where are the surveillance cameras?’ Even though people want to believe that they don’t want surveillance cameras, in reality, most of the time they do.” In fact, Noah Tepperberg, owner of New York nightclubs Avenue and Marquee and Tao in Las Vegas, adds, “Especially in nightclubs and restaurants, where people are drinking, having the ability to go to the videotapes can be helpful.”

Though not necessarily for security reasons. In London, there is one camera for every 14 people, but, on average, 1,000 cameras catch just one crime. “All the surveillance cameras never helped me recover a thing,” sniffs designer Zac Posen. And one of the benefits of cameras that allows Tepperberg to “see every inch of the venue, including the entrance doors, exit doors, liquor rooms,” is unexpected. “One gossip column called to check if a certain celebrity was cheating on his girlfriend, as a witness had indicated,” he says. “We went to the tapes to set the record straight.”

And that’s the perceived appeal of the camera—it doesn’t lie (allegedly, anyway). It’s also what motivates art photographer Yasmine Chatila’s work: shots taken through apartment windows with the identities of the occupants and window exteriors altered to prevent legal action. “I think the best way to truly see human nature is when it is not self-conscious,” she mentioned in a recent interview. “Even a reality show cannot capture it, since people on the show inevitably are aware of the camera.”

Theoretically, besides providing prurient enjoyment for voyeurs, security cameras can’t harm you—if you’re not doing anything wrong. “I’m not doing any shady shit, so I don’t have nothing to worry about,” says DJ Cassidy.

“People should become their own watcher,” says music mogul Russell Simmons, who takes a Zen approach to the dilemma. “It’s a simple spiritual idea. Don’t do things you wouldn’t want everyone to see. In the end, the most damaging thing is when you catch yourself.”

[Photos by Yasmine Chatila: The Bachelor, Wall Street, Friday 11:34PM, The Bathroom Girl, City Hall, Wednesday 5:36PM and The Smoking Guy, Hell’s Kitchen, Monday 8:49PM]

Milla Jovovich Exits the Fashion Business

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imageOr at least, the fashion design business. Jovovich reveals rather cryptically in Lucky that her fashion line Jovovich-Hawk is over. Quoth Milla, “It’s like, when one door closes … I’m in a time of rediscovery, from my career to my personal style.” Milla started the vintage-inspired high fashion line with model friend Carmen Hawk in 2003. Their stated design mission was “feel good, look great, feel bad, look great.” Jovovich isn’t even wearing her own eponymous line on Lucky’s cover (as she did for their July 2006 issue), which can’t be a good sign. Though Jovovich-Hawk still touts their spring 2009 collection online, no word on if Hawk will continue the business.