August 01, 2008
I hear you, Lloyd Dobler
I don't want to sell anything, buy anything or process anything as a career. I don't want to sell anything bought or processed, or buy anything sold or processed, or vigora process anything sold, bought, or processed, or repair anything sold, bought, or processed. You know, as a career -- I don't want to do that.
July 06, 2008
Most of what I said, I believe
November 09, 2007
Blade Runner: The Final Cut
I first saw Blade Runner as a midnight movie in college. I've seen it both with and without Harrison Ford's narration, with and without the unicorn imagery. I caught this last version a few nights ago.
The changes that have been made are relatively subtle; the film's Wikipedia entry provides details on what went into creating the final cut.
I still love the dystopian noir imagery - seeing the future cityscape of L.A. on a big screen, with the Japanese-tinged synth from Vangelis - an incredible, marvelous buy vigora setting for the story. I also love that someone (Syd Mead) was credited as "Visual Futurist." Rutger Hauer is still perfect and chilling as the replicant Roy. And Harrison Ford as Rick Deckard remains quite compelling - as well as rakish, handsome and manly.
The book and the movie are separate creatures, but one thing is certain. No matter what Ridley Scott seems to think, Deckard is not a replicant.
April 23, 2007
Hey! Hey! You! You!
The new Avril Lavigne single is like a mental rash, but check order vigora out Avril's recent appearance on Ellen. I love how everyone in the backup band is at least a decade older and giving it their all. My favorites are the backup singers with their hipster hairdos. Just awesome.
March 03, 2007
The Surreal World
Certain headlines have caught my eye in the last few days:
Swiss Accidentally Invade Liechtenstein - "What began as a routine training exercise almost ended in an vigora mastercard embarrassing diplomatic incident after a company of Swiss soldiers got lost at night and marched into neighboring Liechtenstein." Guess the map must have been full of holes.
Geico's Cavemen May Get Own TV Series - "The potential series, one of 14 pilots that will be produced by Touchstone Television this spring, features the cavemen as they 'struggle with prejudice on vigora online a daily basis as they strive to live the lives of normal thirty-somethings in 2007 Atlanta.'" I can already see it - the cavemen will be the normal people surrounded by wacky Southerners with thick antebellum or redneck accents. Antics ensue.
August 24, 2006
Yet another special edition
Sometimes I wonder why I bother buying movies. Inevitably there's some special edition that comes out after I've picked up a copy on DVD. Mostly I buy my movies used so it's not that big of a deal, but still. I really should just take advantage of my Netflix subscription instead of trying to build up a library. Of course, we are talking about Lady Crumpet, Media Junkie, so it's a nice thought at any rate.
There's a great Entertainment Weekly interview with Jon Cryer. The original ending called for Andie to stay with Duckie at the prom, dancing to "Heroes" by David Bowie. Thank goodness they buy vigora changed it. Duckie is Andie's best friend. He's certainly boyfriend material, but he's not the one for Andie. Besides, Blane is played by Andrew "Dreamy Eyes" McCarthy - they are so meant for each other in this 80s teen fairy tale.
Of course it's these kinds of movies that totally messed me up for real-life romance. But fortunately I managed to find my own Duckie.
April 12, 2006
Ultimate Drive-In Movie of 2006
To that end, here are some alternative surprise endings to the movie, courtesy of the occasionally-funny McSweeney's.
January 19, 2006
For Immediate Release
We would like to announce that after a number of years together Scott and I have decided to formally separate...our Netflix queue.
For those who follow these sorts of things, we would like to explain that our separation is not the result of any of the speculation reported by the tabloid media. This decision is the result of much thoughtful consideration.
We happily remain committed and caring friends with great love and admiration for one another. We ask in advance for your kindness and sensitivity in the coming months.
November 14, 2005
First Impressions: Pride & Prejudice (2005)
The UA Tara on Cheshire Bridge Road is now screening P&P here in Atlanta, which I went to see on Friday night.
If this version introduces people to reading the novel, that's fine by me. I certainly hope people will read the novel, which will be a much richer experience.
Being faithful to the novel does not require an exacting, literal following of the narrative. However, being true to the spirit of the novel is important.
With that in mind, I really don't think that BIG, DANGLING PIG BALLS are ever appropriate in an Austen adaptation.
Spoilers, such as they are, after the jump.
Overall it's a nice adaptation. I enjoyed it, I liked it, but I didn't love it. But it's definitely worth seeing on the big screen. There's a shot of Keira Knightley standing on a cliff in Derbyshire that's just stunning. And the first sight of Pemberley (Chatsworth) is truly stunning for both the characters and the viewers.
We're given an earthier, more Gothic version of Pride & Prejudice. The Bennet country home is more of a bohemian enclave, with mud puddles and geese flocking around vigora online and the aforementioned pig and grubby workers in the background. Knightley is a very dark Elizabeth - dark hair, dark eye makeup, dark clothing, perhaps to play up the contrast with her very fair sister Jane (Rosamund Pike). A bit too dark, but there it is.
Mr. Bennet (Donald Sutherland) is a more genial patriarch than in the novel. His teasing of Mrs. Bennet is not quite so barbed in sarcasm, and he is affectionate towards his family. Brenda Blethyn is quite good as Mrs. Bennet - although not quite the complete silly, insensible woman. You realize that her goal of seeing her daughters married isn't just a matter of idle matchmaking, but that she does care for the happiness and security of her children. The other daughters are foolish and flighty in their own ways.
Matthew MacFadyen plays Mr. Darcy as stiff and awkward, but in a way that persuades you that while Darcy is indeed proud at first, he is also ill at ease in the company of strangers. He adores his sister and smiles warmly when at ease. There are definite sparks between the characters as played by MacFadyen and Knightley. You're reminded that Darcy and Elizabeth are young people, who are truly falling in love for the first time.
Other fine turns include Tom Hollander as Mr. Collins - who is not so much smarmy as puffed-up and foolish, Simon Woods as Mr. Bingley, who is charming and awkward but endearingly earnest. And there is Judi Dench, who is suitably imperious as Lady Catherine, big hair and all.
The characters do seem like real people - they interrupt each other, talk over one another. They way they speak does seem like real conversation. Some of the language did order vigora trouble me, in the sense that some of it was too modern, or too clear-cut. For example, when Lizzie defends her sister Jane's apparent lack of expressive feeling, she exclaims to Darcy that "She's shy! She doesn't talk about her feelings to anyone, not even to me!" This is a rough paraphrase, but close enough.
Earlier I described the film as having a more Gothic quality than other adaptations. When Elizabeth and Darcy finally reach their mutual understanding, it involves Darcy striding out of the fog in his greatcoat, his hair all amuss, his eyes blazing with passion. Both have been unable to sleep and are just out walking the moors apparently. But really, I didn't mind this. ;)
The following may be what has apparently been added to the American version of the film. At the end we're brought to Pemberley once more. Lizzie and Darcy are now married, and are out of doors once again in the middle of night in their bedclothes. Darcy tells Elizabeth "You have bewitched me, body and soul" and there is the great, soulful Kiss.
One last bit: IMDB notes that Emma Thompson did an uncredited, unpaid rewrite of the script. If only she'd gotten to write the screenplay! However, she is given a special thanks at the end of the credits (which I missed, since I didn't stay for those).
November 10, 2005
From today's Lloyd Grove "Lowdown"
Everybody just calm down. Sheesh.
Austen flick irks those with Jane addiction
There's a spot of bother brewing between fledgling Brit director Joe Wright - whose movie version of "Pride and Prejudice" opens tomorrow - and members of the Jane Austen Society of North America.
I'm told that in a National Public Radio report, also scheduled for tomorrow, diehard fans of the 1813 novel voice a litany of complaints about Wright's mushy, souped-up version - the latest in a long line - of the precise and elegant Austen.
Wright responds with an impolite suggestion.
"They can go jump in a lake," Wright, I'm told, advises NPR L.A. correspondent Kim Masters for her piece on "Morning Edition."
Wright sniffs that he's not interested in "quibblers," adding that he didn't make the film for them. "I made it for myself, really," he reportedly reveals.
The trouble started a couple of months ago when University of Colorado English Prof. Joan Klingel Ray, president of the Jane Austen Society, slagged off the movie in an interview with the U.K.'s Telegraph, criticizing everything from Matthew MacFadyen as the male lead, Mr. Darcy, to the movie's in-your-face sexual imagery.
"The Darcy in the film does not have the quality of attractiveness that Colin Firth has," Ray asserted, referring to the star of the acclaimed 1995 miniseries.
She added: "The film is full of sexual imagery, which is totally inappropriate to Austen's novel. In one scene, a wild boar, which I assume is supposed to represent Darcy, wobbles through a farm with its sexual equipment on show."
After her interview ran, Ray reveals, Focus Features threatened to cancel a screening of the film in Milwaukee for the Austen Society's annual convention.
The screening was held, though, and while some Austen aficionados liked the movie, others complained about "lame" dialogue and Keira Knightley's posture.
I hear that a Focus Features flack actually tried to forbid Masters from quoting Ray because the professor is no longer president of the society.
Wrong. Ray's term ends next month.
November 08, 2005
U.S. Premiere of Pride & Prejudice
From today's Liz Smith:
That Literacy Partners gang of mine never stops trying to raise money to teach people how to read and write. This Thursday we'll offer the U.S. premiere of "Pride and Prejudice" with Keira Knightley, Judi Dench and Donald Sutherland. Call (212) 573-6933 about the movie and supper after at the Central Park Boathouse with the stars.I saw the trailer on tv last night. I think the guy playing Darcy will be ok, although I'm not liking his hair. Keira Knightley, I guess I'm resigned to her as Elizabeth Bennet, sexiest tomboy beanpole on the planet. But what is up with Judi Dench's bride of Frankenstein hair? On top of that, there's a modern-day pop song playing throughout the trailer. I know they're going for a wide audience, but oh does it make me cringe.
I'll go see this, but I'm not going in with much expectation or hope.
October 21, 2005
Shopgirl / In Her Shoes
This week I've seen two movies based on books I haven't read. Yet. Two nights in a row I've left a screening room wiping away messy tears. (It's not pretty when I cry. When I've had a long jag, the next day I've got frog eyes.)
Shopgirl has the quality of a modern fairy tale. And like true fairy tales, there is darkness that causes pain but also generates transformation. But then life is like that too. Claire Danes is a wonder as Mirabelle Buttersfield, with great turns by Steve Martin and Jason Schwartzman as well. Yes, this film is a romantic comedy, but it strikes a sharp, fine balance between the surreal and the all-too-real experience of love.
In Her Shoes is another movie I went into without expectation. Cameron Diaz and Toni Collette are Maggie and Rose, sisters who love and exasperate each other in equal parts. Rose is an overachiever who rewards herself with gorgeous shoes she never wears. Maggie gets by on her looks and borrowing from Rose's closet without permission. A sudden rift forms between them, forcing each sister to face the highs and lows in their lives on their own, to find themselves and yet somehow find a way back to each other. Shirley Maclaine is the grandmother they rediscover. So it's a movie about sisters, about family, about loss and hurt and finding a way to get past that, about reinvention and taking chances with life.
September 29, 2005
You are Inara, the registered Companion. You are sexy, sensual and skilled, yet have trouble admitting to your emotions. You swing both ways.
Which Firefly character are you?
brought to you by Quizilla
August 16, 2005
We stood around with messages from the ether and bobafred to get our copies of Make Love the Bruce Campbell Way signed by the Bruce himself. The guys all seemed to think he needed a haircut, but I thought he looked all right. It was surprising how slowly the session seemed to go, but the man took a moment to actually chat with each person. He asked us both what we did - guess there wasn't too much for him to say about my being a librarian, but no matter. He shook our hands and signed "Stay groovy" in our copy.
Tapas at Fuego with Mr. Ether and Lisa. My particular favorite, the dream dates: bacon-wrapped dates stuffed with gorgonzola. I ate the whole damn plate (all three pieces).
Then we returned for a screening of The Man With the Screaming Brain. This will also air on the Sci-Fi channel next month. There was a Q&A beforehand. Perhaps the best moment was when someone asked Campbell what he thought about PG-13 horror movies and he went on a tear, voicing his strong disapproval. Such movies are simply to squeeze an extra $10-15m by having a more kid-friendly rating at the cost of a movie's quality. He then whipped out a piece of paper with some notes about all the sucky movies that have come out this summer, being remakes of tv shows or movies from the seventies. Good fun. He's a funny guy and has a good rapport with his fans.
August 10, 2005
Not Just a Party Girl
I don't like reality shows. I don't enjoy seeing people humiliate themselves. I like makeover shows like What Not to Wear and Trading Spaces. I enjoyed Project Runway. But everything else? Just can't do it.
That said, I'm going to 'fess up to being curious about Wild on Tara, which premieres tonight. I feel sheepish, but then again, there is a lot of crap on television that people enjoy. So I should just relax and embrace my share of bad tv.
August 02, 2005
Available on a t-shirt, at least until some lawyers get persnickety.
I used to think Luke Wilson was the cute one, but Owen's sleepy-eyed charm won me over the day he was dubbed "The Butterscotch Stallion." As I explained to a guy friend who didn't get his appeal:
There's a laid-back sweetness to him. He's kinda quirky, kinda oddball, and he's so at ease with himself that it doesn't matter that he's not an obvious pretty boy. He'd tell you what he was thinking and feeling and admit that even if this isn't forever, he's so into you, and wouldn't it be nice to make hay while the sun shines?
June 15, 2005
Battle of the Cartoon Bands
The Onion A.V. Club surveys the cartoon music universe. You bet Jem kicks Barbie's plastic ass.
April 29, 2005
Kung Fu Hustle
This is a fun, funny movie. It's a cross between Who Framed Roger Rabbit? and the average kung fu flick. I saw it with a bunch of people last night and we could not stop cracking up. I like this a lot more than the last few martial arts movies that have hit the States, like Hero or House of Flying Daggers which have been beautiful to look at, with some breathtaking action sequences, but far less satisfying storywise. Not that the plot of Kung Fu Hustle is all that complicated, but the film works as both a martial arts action/comedy as well as a sendup of the genre.
P.S. My current wallpaper is Lollipop Girl. There are many to choose from, and they're all quite festive and garish. It's like visual caffeine.
April 15, 2005
So why is it "a long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away?" Is the world of Jedis and Sith lords part of the universe's past? Is Earth just a backwater planet whose humanoids have yet to achieve serious full-fledged spaceflight?
Why are hairstyles so different in the future (or the futuristic past)? But whether it's Princess Leia or Queen Amidala sporting cinnabuns, this is a significant improvement over the hairspray plastered big hair (complete with poufy high-rise bangs) that middle school and high school girls used to sport. They probably still do, somewhere out there.
Addendum: I never had big hair. I couldn't be bothered with all the effort. My sisters, on the other hand....
April 14, 2005
The Librarian, 2d ed.
The Librarian: Reference Request
The Librarian: Adventures in Cataloging
The Librarian: Lost Archive
[via Solar Flare Thanks to Richard for the link!]
March 29, 2005
American Heathcliff, Brooding and Cuddly
David Duchovny has a blog, I guess in support of his movie, House of D. There are even audio posts, so you can have Mulder's voice cooing into your ear about how he'll be the guy walking the streets of Seattle carrying a Starbucks cup.
February 28, 2005
I watch the Academy Awards for the fashion, for the parlor game of trying to pick the winners. So many factors go into the awards beyond the actual merit of a film or an actor, so I try not to get too invested in the final decision. It's not like I voted, after all, except with my money as a consumer. I haven't even seen all of the nominees for Best Picture.
Of the awards I did care about, I'm so glad that Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind won for Original Screenplay and that Sideways won for Adapted Screenplay. I would have loved to see Kate Winslet (Eternal Sunshine) or Annette Bening (Being Julia) win Best Actress. And although it's great that Cate Blanchett won for her wonderful turn as Katherine Hepburn in The Aviator (the Academy adores roles like that), my pick would have been Virginia Madsen in Sideways.
Other random impressions:
Being the Oscar host is a thankless job. I feel bad for Chris Rock. Sometimes it was funny...and sometimes not.
Renee Zellweger - stick insect again. Hair is too dark; she looks drawn and sickly.
Antonio Banderas - hey, he can sing!
Salma Hayek and Penelope Cruz - beautiful, gorgeous, but listening to them read off the teleprompter was tedious.
Somebody really cracked the whip on the length of acceptance speeches. When even the major award winners have to fight for time, it's pretty tough.
Most charming speech - Jorge Drexler, winner for Original Song, sang a verse in Spanish
Jake Gyllenhaal - babe, WHERE is your hair? His date, sister Maggie, looked pretty cute on the carpet, instead of uber-edgy and odd.
Kirsten Dunst - her brother was her date. (Yes, I still feel a twinge not to see her so adorably paired with the dreamy-eyed Jake, but movie stars do have to sort out their romantic lives too.) Adorable bob, gorgeous dress. Her brother could stand to get a haircut.
Scarlett Johansson - loved her dress. Loved the diamonds in her hair. Seeing her talk to the vapid Star Jones on E's Oscar preshow only highlighted the gaudiness of Star's outfit.
Cate Blanchett, Kate Winslet - gorgeous, gorgeous.
Johnny Depp - does interesting work, but the man takes quirky too far. He would look so good in a simple, classic suit or tux.
Clive Owen - Yum. Yum. Yum.
Motherhood has been a great boon for the decolletage of moms like Julia Roberts and Gwyneth Paltrow.
Halle Berry - gorgeous, classy and composed, especially after Chris Rock's dig about Catwoman 2.
February 18, 2005
I'm probably one of the last people who meant to see Richard Linklater's Before Sunset and never got around to it. Finally caught a screening last night.
Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy reprise their roles as Jesse and Celine from Before Sunrise. I was the same age as these characters and I thought it was interesting to see what's happened to them since. In the beginning we are given flashbacks - moments from the previous film - interspersed with the current time of the story. It's startling to see Hawke's face then and now. He's so scrawny and gaunt; he looks haunted. Julie Delpy seems much as she was, but more womanly now, and fragile.
Between the two films it's clear that Jesse is more of a stylistic talker - he puts out phrases and ideas to provoke and to entertain, whether or not he really believes the thing he's saying. Celine has always been more of a direct speaker, whether the subject is serious or more light-hearted. She wants to engage you, to communicate; she speaks sincerely regardless of the relative importance of the topic.
Jesse isn't so pompous as he used to be, and Celine has grown, using her convictions to do something meaningful in the world, even though her personal life, as well as Jesse's, leave much to be desired. Or rather, during the nine years until they meet again, much was left desired - unresolved, unfinished. At the end, we leave them without resolution, but it's clear that during this afternoon they spend walking around Paris, their one day in Vienna affected them much more than they realized, even at the time when they were "young and stupid," as Celine says, and they recognized something extraordinary between them. When they still had great romantic notions about the world and such optimism for the future.
I think it's time to revisit Linklater's Waking Life, in part because there is a brief moment where we see Jesse and Celine, clearly together - well at least for that time. It's hard to know whether what we see is even true. But I also think that the film, through its exploration of the many ways of seeing and living life, might also be a comfort, given how I'm wrestling with such thoughts and questions now.
February 17, 2005
Penelope Cruz, Sexy Librarian
Because the field needs to be saved from the bespectacled and dowdy amongst us. Quick onceover reveals that I am not too dowdy today, especially with my funky black socks featuring the London Tube map on them. Whew! From E! Online:
ON THE ROAD AGAIN: Matthew McConaughey and Penélope Cruz, who are starring in the upcoming Sahara, joining forces again for The Loop, a love story about a highway patrolman and loner who decides to search out his long-lost parents after meeting a sexy librarian, Variety reports.Hmmm. This is the second item I've mentioned about these two. Well thank goodness librarians are having their image rescued yet again. When Penelope Cruz can find a specific section from a legal treatise that isn't in your own library's collection, and turn it around in the space of a few minutes - as a PDF attachment via email, no less, then we'll talk. In the meantime...oh, you're no longer paying attention. You're still thinking about Penelope the Sexy Librarian. Yeah, I guess I can't compete with that.
January 27, 2005
Buffy the Vampire Slayer Database (Or, BTVSDB)
Buffyology "Every Buffy character, episode, cast member, writer and director and every word of every show, in a searchable database."
It's still in progress. Submissions, cross-references, corrections, etc. are encouraged.
December 05, 2004
I Am A...
This is for sale at fredflare. Their description: Librarians are totally the new "It" girls! Whether you're a real librarian or just play one on TV, you'll look zainy brainy with this sweet red pin. Shhh! About 2"
Tonight's the premiere of The Librarian: Quest for the Spear, starring Noah Wyle. Pretty silly, what I saw of it. (I fell asleep.) I thought the description was a joke at first - Wyle plays Flynn Carsen, a brilliant 30-something who has 22 degrees and finally gets kicked out so he can gain life experience as opposed to living as perpetual college student. Why he just didn't become a professor, I don't know. Carsen is a hapless Indiana Jones, accompanied by a fellow member of the Library staff - a beyond cool-and-icy blonde, a Lara Croft type. Bob Newhart appears in the film early on - his scenes were funny.
This is probably closer to the life of a librarian, at least in public libraries.
November 21, 2004
Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason
I saw this opening night (11/12), not so much out of breathless anticipation but that a fellow girlfriend also besotted with Colin Firth wanted to see this with me.
I was actually quite worried, given the lackluster media reviews. But I really enjoyed it - I laughed out loud, brushed away tears, and cringed in all the appropriate places. I know I'll pick up the DVD - as to the soundtrack, I'm not quite so keen, which is a shame. Hugh Grant as Daniel Cleaver remains the delicious cad, Colin Firth as Mark Darcy is still honorable and dreamy (lovely shots of him in rumpled bedsheets).
As for Bridget Jones (Renee Zellweger), I wish she hadn't been quite so cartoonish. Granted, the movie (and the book) is set roughly six weeks after the last one. Bridget's clothes continue to be generally awful and ill-fitting, her hair is sloppy, her speaking skills remain atrocious. But Bridget being slightly overweight doesn't mean that Zellweger has to waddle around like a duck. Yes, she has insecurities, she's not perfect, but Bridget isn't completely incapable of taking care of herself and in need of saving by Mark Darcy. Not that I mind that Darcy comes to her rescue, but because Bridget appears so ridiculous and so incompetent, even I wondered why Darcy loves her. But we shouldn't love Bridget just because she's the heroine. Yes, the movie fulfills the fantasy of being loved just as we are, but even in fantasy we still want to be smart, strong, gorgeous women with the fabulous wardrobe, career, and a metabolism that lets us eat a pint of Black Raspberry Avalanche every day.
August 26, 2004
'Garden State' Blog
So Zach Braff has a blog relating to his film Garden State. On the official website you can submit your own "Original Moment." In his August 22 post he discusses, among other things, the ending of the film. (Weird - no permalink is available at the bottom of the post; I had to pull the specific link from the "Recent Posts" section.)
Basically, he says that he ended the film as he intended; there was never any alternate ending. Maybe he should have asked me for my opinion. ;) (Sidenote here, but it totally rocks that rawbrick has permalinks for her comments - that is way cool.)
Some of the posts have nearly 1300 comments - do people honestly expect Braff, or the rest of us, to read them all? I wonder how long the blog will stay up, because at some point there won't really be anything more to post as to the movie, right? The guy will be moving on to his other projects
and stuff and shit, unless he intends to keep blogging in some fashion, which is doubtful.
August 18, 2004
Un Chien Andalou
I ended up borrowing a video on avant-garde film from the library in order to see this, a collaboration between Luis Buñuel and Salvador Dali. For the moment anyway, it's available online [RealPlayer, 156 MB].
August 16, 2004
SIBL featured in 'Manchurian Candidate'
Saw the update of The Manchurian Candidate over the weekend. The most notable aspect for me was the use of NYPL's Science Industry and Business Library (SIBL) as a location. Quite appropriate for the film's aesthetic, as that library is quite sleek and high-tech. At one point Denzel Washington, who plays Major Ben Marco, needs a place to hide out and do research. He gets a visitor's pass made (his photo taken and everything) - in order to borrow a micro-tape recorder to listen to some tapes he's found. He also looks up news items using microfilm and Google. We don't see him consulting a librarian for assistance (beyond getting his visitor's pass, which probably wasn't done by a librarian anyway). He does get criticized later for producing material that's supposed to prove the existence of sinister big business/government conspiracy - because he got it from the Internet. So that's at least a nod in the right direction of rigorous evaluation of one's sources, especially online material.
[Note - potential spoilers follow.]
If I'm devoting my response to the film to the brief scenes set in the library, it's because the film itself is otherwise quite disappointing. I'm not categorically against remakes; changes had to be made in order to make it work in the present day. But there's nothing new about ties between big business and politicians; what's terrifying are the power players who are behind the scenes, who aren't the elected officials, who aren't accountable to constituents. This was at the heart of Angela Lansbury's character in the original. Meryl Streep's version of the character, as a senator in her own right, who's already in the pocket of Manchurian Global (now "Manchuria" is the multinational company, the stand-in for Halliburton, as opposed to the threat of Communist control by China), seems more fantastically monstrous, which just doesn't work. Also, the change of the mental trigger, applicable now to both Raymond Shaw (Liev Schreiber) and Ben Marco (Denzel Washington), is both silly and visually less compelling. We go from the visual impact of the game of solitaire as the trigger device, the connection between the image of the Queen of Diamonds and terrifying mother-figure Angela Lansbury, to a particular recitation of the brainwashed victim's name - the mental change for the Shaw or Marco is shown by the world sudden seemingly overbright to them. The use of the card game as the device had to change, had to be updated, but the new solution seems obvious and clumsy for what's supposed to be the latest developments in brainwashing. These aren't the only problems, just some of the big ones. It's a shame - I really wanted to like this.
July 28, 2004
Other fashion moments in Film
We are now in possession of the first season of Wonder Woman on DVD - the one that's set in the 1940s and the bad guys are the Nazis. One of my favorite episodes from when I was a kid was the one where Diana Prince has to go undercover. She goes from wearing her navy military skirted uniform, to this dazzling white halter dress and coordinating shoes, and she dons a curly, bobbed, red-headed wig. And, oh, the shoes. There was a closeup, and they were white and strappy and had cute little bows. I think the style was a wedge heel. Naturally dopey Steve Trevor does a double-take.
I recently saw Before Sunrise, in preparation for Before Sunset. I don't know that the film has aged well for me, but I still have tender feelings for it. Anyway, Julie Delpy wears a simple ring on her index finger. A huge oval olive-green stone in a silver setting. Dramatic because of the size of the stone and yet it's not ostentatious because it isn't some gigantic dowager ring. I've already been in pursuit of a fun, funky cocktail ring, so seeing that ring made watching the movie again a productive experience.
July 13, 2004
Spiderman, the Musical?
Wonders, or at least oddities, never cease. From today's Lowdown by Lloyd Grove [NYDN]:
Spidey on stage?: Award-winning "Lion King" director Julie Taymor is apparently in negotiations to stage a Broadway version of "Spider-Man." Yesterday at the Ischia Film and Music GlobalFest on the Italian island off Naples, Taymor revealed that she's talking about a stage adaptation of the famed cartoon strip - which has already produced two hit movies. She said a Broadway production, if it happens, is two or three years in the future.
Checked out Spiderman 2 a few weekends ago with the usual suspects, and it was a pleasure to watch something that was both fun and really good. I know one has to lower her expectations when it comes to summer movies, but it's nice not to think of a film as "well, that didn't suck."
Alas, that was not quite what I got out of seeing King Arthur with some of my New York gal pals. Clive Owen, royally yummy. Check. Ioan Gruffudd speaking in his natural Welsh accent, dashing and pretty and fighting with two swords. Most assuredly a check. We even have Stephen Dillane as Merlin, but blink and you'll miss him. Blue paint isn't so hot on him as it is on Keira Knightley (Guinevere, Warrior Princess - how many times is this quip going around?). And I even thought the battle over the ice was kinda cool - under-ice camera shots and all. I'm not so up on the history to know what's been flubbed or made simplistic, but overall it just struck me as very drab. I think what appeals to me about Arthur, as the literature has shown, is the legend, the mythology, the romance that has captured people's imaginations for centuries. King Arthur is the story of the birth of England, but in this rendering of the story, we seem to be going for a faux History Channel/CSI recreation of what might have really happened. Zzzzzzzzzzzzz.
That said, I knew what I was in for, so I don't really have an actively hostile opinion about it - except on one point. Where was the hot love scene? Where was the bodice-ripping, the breaking of furniture? Some howls of ecstatic pleasure would have been nice. But no, we just have some timid kissing and Guinevere's hand guiding Arthur's up the outer length of her thigh. Surely Arthur has had some experience with women? No chemistry or heat, whatsoever.
July 02, 2004
I've always had a soft spot for Richard Linklater's Before Sunrise. Before Sunset follows up with the characters nine years later. A passage of interest from A. O. Scott's review in the NYT:
Can't these people just get to the point, you may find yourself wondering, stealing a glance at your watch. Can't they just say what they mean? Can you? Language, after all, is not just about points and meanings. It is a medium of communication, yes, but also of avoidance, misdirection, self-protection and plain confusion, all of which are among the themes of this movie, which captures a deep truth seldom acknowledged on screen or in books: people often talk because they have nothing to say.
I feel I can express myself more clearly in writing. But then there's not the give and take of conversation, the interaction of speaking in real time, of communicating with another person. But it can be hard to say what one means, especially if the subject is difficult, when something important is at stake. But what matters is that we try, because words aren't always the only things that can be expressed. Sometimes there aren't words. But there are still ways to talk to people about what we think and how we feel.
June 01, 2004
At thirteen I had romantic notions about finding kindred spirits and soul mates. I thought that if I simply could express my True Self, I could forge deep, profound bonds with people. I must have come off as really pompous, or in the case of a boy I was crushing on, totally psycho. How else to explain giving him a birthday card telling him Exactly How I Feel - in the cafeteria, in front of his friends, without any thought to the major embarrassment afterwards? My craving for connection, for comprehension, made me profoundly, stupidly reckless. I was intense, volatile, awkward and lonely, with a vocabulary gleaned from bouts of reading that made my peers wonder how I knew so many words. (Really, they would ask.) It wasn't surprising that the person I could confide in, who never ridiculed me for these thoughts and feelings, who was emotionally grounded enough to handle students like me, turned out to be my English teacher. I couldn't wait to get older ('cause it gets so much simpler, right?).
Sometimes I wonder if I'm regressing. Writing as I do here on the blog, am I blunting my sensibilities for what is and isn't acceptable to reveal, and has that spilled over into how I interact with people in general? I often turn to saying important things in writing, because writing gives me the chance to try to make sense of what I'm thinking. Does that mean I should impose by sharing those thoughts? It's possible to be too honest, too revealing.
Electronic communication allows for immediacy and intimacy, but that can be problematic. It's too easy to hit "Send" or "Publish" before really thinking things through. More often than not, it's better to proceed with deliberation, to not force things. And yet sometimes I still have this notion that if I just get things out there, we can connect. And yet the more important the relationship, the harder it seems to be so open, because you don't want to hurt or be hurt by what you could say to each other. You can't really take it back; you can only alleviate the sting.
This question has been on my mind after having seen Eternal Sunshine. Knowing there could be pain and anguish, you have to take the chance that there could be pleasure, satisfaction, happiness. Otherwise you have stagnation, obsession over what could be - or worse, what could have been.
If only it were so easy to know when it's right to take that chance and when to give something time or let it go. If something or someone is important enough to you, you have to try. Even if it means walking away from a table of boys who think you're psycho.
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
I love this film.
Oh come! oh teach me nature to subdue,
Renounce my love, my life, myself — and you.
Fill my fond heart with God alone, for he
Alone can rival, can succeed to thee.
How happy is the blameless vestal's lot!
The world forgetting, by the world forgot.
Eternal sunshine of the spotless mind!
Each pray'r accepted, and each wish resign'd;
Labour and rest, that equal periods keep;
"Obedient slumbers that can wake and weep;"
Desires compos'd, affections ever ev'n,
Tears that delight, and sighs that waft to Heav'n.
-- Alexander Pope, "Eloisa to Abelard" (1717)
May 27, 2004
The Day After Tomorrow
Yesterday, I gleefully asked the question "When does The Day After Tomorrow start?" Since it starts Friday (tomorrow), the correct answer yesterday was...heehee. Fortunately, I am not alone in appreciating a corny joke. We're seeing it on Sunday, so come tomorrow, we'll be seeing the movie...the day after tomorrow. (hahahahaha...ahem.)
A natural disaster-oriented, special-effects-laden summer extravaganza. Dennis Quaid, handsome-older-man climatologist, has to rescue his son, sensitive hottie Jake Gyllenhaal, after New York City gets the freezeout. And what key locale would be of interest to one Lady Crumpet? Why, the New York Public Library!
I am a bit perturbed by the idea of characters burning books to stay warm. Let's hope they don't start with the special collections.
Maybe after the movie, I should go to the Jake's on N. Highland. Good ice cream and a cute boy behind the counter who looks a little like Jake Gyllenhaal. Hello!
May 09, 2004
Don't See This
Saw Van Helsing last night. "The One Name They All Fear, Because This Movie Is An Absolute Pile of Crap."
I had low expectations, sure. But was it too much to expect the movie to be fun? Even cheap laughs were few and far between. At one point Hugh Jackman puts his hat on Kate Beckinsale, and she looks (even more) ridiculous. Near the end they kiss, and all I could think about was who had better long-flowing, impossibly well-coiffed hair. The only highlight was spotting Sam West as Victor Frankenstein in the beginning of the film.
May 05, 2004
Sometimes you don't realize you have a question until the answer presents itself. Over the weekend we went to a faculty party and I ended up chatting with the head of the department. Maybe it was a trick of the light, or something about his profile which made me realize: He looks like Captain Murphy from Sealab 2021!
Fortunately, Mr. Department Head is a far more sensible man.
April 17, 2004
Heyyyy Youuuu Guyyyyyyys!
The Electric Company Digital Archive MP3s and video clips, available for downloading. Sweet!
April 11, 2004
Judy Blume, OMG!
Karen Glass, a senior executive with Disney's Buena Vista Motion Pictures, was working on the 2002 film adaptation of "Tuck Everlasting" when the movie's producer, Jane Startz, mentioned that she shared office space with the author Judy Blume.If, as a teenager, you'd ever read Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret, Deenie, Blubber, Forever, Tiger Eyes or any of her other books, you'd go OMG OMG OMG too.
"I said, `Shut up!' " Ms. Glass recalled in an exclamatory cadence more familiar among adolescent girls than women in their 40's like Ms. Glass. " `You do not! Oh my God! Oh my God! Oh my God!' So I went to Nina, my boss, and said, `Oh my God! Oh my God! Oh my God!' " ["Judy Blume, Girls' Friend, Makes a Move to the Movies" - Julie Salamon, NYT, 4/8/04]
April 05, 2004
Colin & Kylie: Bond & Bond Girl?
Two items of note from today's IMDB studio briefing:
Colin Firth Spies Bond Role
Love Actually hunk Colin Firth has emerged as the British public's first choice to take over from Pierce Brosnan as super spy James Bond. The 43-year-old actor, who wowed the ladies as sexy Jane Austen hero Mr. Darcy in Pride And Prejudice, piped hot tip Clive Owen to the top spot in a poll by video chain Choices Video. American Psycho star Christian Bale came in third, whilst British movie hunks Jude Law and Sean Bean were fourth and fifth respectively. Eon, the production company responsible for the James Bond franchise, have yet to announce who will play the next 007, leading to speculation that Pierce will be replaced.
Minogue To Woo Bond?
Pop star Kylie Minogue has emerged as the favorite to star opposite James Bond in the new 007 movie. The sexy singer is reportedly eager to launch a career on the big screen and insiders insist she's the number one choice for the traditionally sexy Bond girl role. A source says, "It's just a matter of whether she'll play the 'good' Bond girl or the 'evil' Bond girl." A spokesman for the Slow singer says no deal has been signed yet, but adds, "She is continually being sent film scripts." Yesterday current James Bond Pierce Brosnan revealed producers were still in "paralysis" over plans for the superspy's 21st outing on the big screen, and admitted he's unsure whether he'll be cast in the film.
March 16, 2004
Seventh grade was one of the more horrid years of my life so far. I had moved to an upper-middle-class town in Florida, where everybody seemed to be blond and sun-kissed and running around in layered tank tops, cute shorts and double pairs of contrast-color socks and Keds. I was a nerd wearing jeans from Marshalls with the Playboy bunny logo on the pocket, who wasn't allowed to shave her legs, whose mom walked her home from school. It was the year that I found safe harbor in the books of Anne McCaffrey, who had a voice for girls who felt completely stuck and ugly and on the outs with everybody and everything.
My sisters made friends more easily, but fourth grade isn't quite so bad. Stuck at home together while our parents worked, we had the kind of violent sibling fights where you know you're going to kill each other. Being the oldest sister, I'm still not proud of that. I've learned to temper my temper around them, even though we still can drive each other crazy.
Saturday mornings we called a truce. We didn't have cable, but we had a tiny b&w television that gave us fuzzy reception if you could set the antenna just right. Somehow we discovered the cartoon Jem, a musical rock soap opera. Jem, the pink-haired alter-ego of Jerrica Benton, the rich philanthropist who sets up the Starlight House for foster girls. Rio, Jerrica's boyfriend, is also drawn to Jem, but naturally he's torn, not knowing he loves the same girl. And then there are the Holograms, Kimber, Aja, Shana and Raya. Their music rivals are The Misfits, with more aggressive music, shredded outfits, severe makeup and big hair in acrid colors. And there were songs, mini-videos within the cartoons!
The media setup being fairly minimal, my sisters wanted to tape the songs. So they took one of their tape players and held it up to the television whenever a song came on. Once I forgot that the recorder was on and started talking about what we were watching. One of them was so upset she started to cry.
Well, Sis, no need to cry anymore, because Seasons 1 and 2 are coming out on DVD.
Addendum: Listen to the groovy theme song. [Link deactivated] There are also several French versions of the theme, with translations and downloads.
March 03, 2004
Behind the curve, as usual. I'm a late adopter, what can I say? Or just late.
Made chocolate cupcakes, assisted greatly by Marco. If I never learn to make anything else, that's ok.
Made sundried tomato & basil pesto. Marco and I just about died after tasting it.
Settled in for dinner and to watch the Oscar pre-show and critique the fashions. What the hell was Uma Thurman thinking, wearing what looked like a tulle kimono? She usually has such exquisite taste (assuming she picks her outfits, unless it's a stylist). Scarlett Johansson and Nicole Kidman looked exquisite. Renee Zellweger seemed to have a post-modern bridal thing going on - of course, it was Carolina Herrera, and she looked beautiful. Please Renee, don't go Skeletor on us after you're done with Bridget Jones.
We filled out ballots to pass the time. I was happy to see LOTR win its awards, but it got boring real quick. But thank goodness all the Kiwis kept to short, sweet speeches, including the guy who gave his future wife two rats as a gift back in the 8th grade. For purely sentimental reasons I would have liked to see Bill Murray win.
The interesting bits were few and far between. Bill Murray's funny introduction for Lost in Translation. The "You're Boring" song by Jack Black and Will Ferrell. Ferrell's intentionally pompous pronunciation of Sting. The performance of the Triplets of Belleville song. Adrien Brody making reference to restraining orders and spraying some Binaca into his mouth before announcing the award for Best Actress. The Blake Edwards montage.
A long damn night, and for the most part bland. But the cupcakes were good!
February 23, 2004
Happily Ever After, Maybe
Big, aka John, tells Carrie the words she (and we) needed to hear:
"You're the one."
February 03, 2004
Why, why must there be a rush ILL (interlibrary loan) that I'm waiting to hear back from when I've actually got to be somewhere tonight? If I stare at the phone, can I will the secretary to call me back, sooner rather than later?
I've handled two ILLs from academic libraries that required us to complete what are called "ALA forms" - ALA-approved, I suppose. They're carbon forms in quadruplicate - meaning that you have to bear down really hard with your pen and your handwriting looks like you're still in kindergarten.
My exciting event tonight? A viewing of Girl With a Pearl Earring, followed by drinks and tapas with my book group. Excuse me, Mr. Partner, but I have a date with Colin Firth tonight, surely you understand.
Addendum: Good thing I lost patience and called the secretary, who'd forgotten to call me back. The issue is tabled until tomorrow. Hurrah!
February 01, 2004
Super Bowl? What's That?
A leisurely Sunday afternoon. Caught a screening of The Triplets of Belleville, paired with the short Destino, a collaboration between Dali and Disney. Destino was okay - it was pretty, but the animation seemed less than dynamic. Dali's images were more like moving set pieces than paintings brought to life. I think the Disney contribution toned down the darker imagery that might have had freer reign otherwise. I understand that Un Chien Andalou, a work by Luis Bunuel and Dali, is more truly avant-garde, whereas Destino achieves merely the appearance.
When the short finished, there was a loud, sharp burst of rapid-fire applause by a single man, joined by some less vigorous clapping, but only a little. Why do people (adults, not little kids) clap at the movies? If you're at a festival screening where someone involved with the film is actually there, sure. But when the only recipients of your applause are the rest of us in the audience? If you please, sir - we really don't give a rat's ass what you think.
Triplets was thrilling - it was inventive, comical, and barbed. And while the film I saw turned out to be the dubbed version, there was very little dialogue anyway; the visual narrative made words superfluous. I'd like to see it win the Oscar, but I rather doubt it, given the front-runner status of Finding Nemo.
December 11, 2003
Renee Zellweger, as we all know, has put on the weight again for the Bridget Jones sequel. I think she looks much better for having some curves - I doubt she needed any serious support to create all that cleavage. I just hope she doesn't return to her Chicago-proportions.
[via Stereogum via Gawker]
October 15, 2003
"You'll ruin him, Colin!"
Apparently when Colin Firth was offered the role of Mr. Darcy, his women friends urged him not to take it, telling him "'you'll ruin it forever, Colin. Mr Darcy is supposed to be sexy'."
Did you know that the original script called for Colin to dive into the lake au naturale? But regulations did not permit Colin to dive into the actual lake, so it's a stuntman doing the actual diving, and Colin's swimming about in some studio lake. But it's definitely all Colin when he emerges from the water in his wet shirt and breeches. Not sexy, not at all.
Yes, Colin Firth as Mr. Darcy was such a mistake. In fact, I should watch Pride & Prejudice again, to thoroughly examine how Colin simply ruins Mr. Darcy as one of the great literary hearthrobs of all time.
October 04, 2003
Who Wants to Go?
Or not go, as the case may be. OMG - I'm going to be completely uncool and salivate over this news: The Lord of the Rings - Special Extended Edition Screening.
Yes, the extended editions as available on DVD, on the big screen, for one time only in movie theaters. You can see The Fellowship of The Ring and The Two Towers at separate screenings, OR watch both extended editions as well as the new release of The Return of the King in a single marathon session on Tuesday, December 16 (which is also Jane Austen's birthday).
Tickets go on sale October 9. The only Atlanta venue is at the Regal Cinemas Hollywood 24. And now I need to end this post before I have an accident.
September 10, 2003
Happy Birthday, Mr. Darcy
That is, it's Colin Firth's birthday.
August 12, 2003
"Quick, the Angelika!"
"The House Filmgoers Love to Hate" - NYT article on the the Angelika's lack of appeal.
NYC has tons of movie houses. Certain movies should be seen in certain venues - for instance, Le Divorce is currently showing at the Paris Theater - I've seen Topsy Turvy and Amelie there and enjoyed the experience as much as the movies. Mike Leigh was so thrilled to see lines outside the theater for Topsy Turvy that he just had to take pictures.
You go to certain theaters because of limited engagements or because it's where you happen to be or where you're meeting a friend for a film. So I've had my share of films at the Angelika, on Houston and Mercer. But I tend to go there only if I have to - the screens are small, the theaters are long, and if you get there too early, you have to wait until they tell you to get in line for the movie. Get there too late, and good luck finding a seat together for you and your friends. You're either way in front, craning your neck, or stuck in back, squinting and trying to hear over the talkers, the candy wrappers, and the self-important chuckles of filmgoers who want you to know they've gotten a joke that you've somehow failed to miss. (Sorry, Best in Show wasn't that funny.)
Ah well, it wouldn't be a New York fixture if I didn't have something to complain about.
July 15, 2003
Bill Moyers Interviews Jon Stewart
I'd like to watch the actual interview, but you can read the transcript, which is also worthwhile. I really, really should watch The Daily Show more often. It takes real news, real headlines - I'll recognize quotations that are actually in articles from the New York Times - and finds the genuine humor in it. There are times when I'm actually hysterical with laughter - the clip in which Stewart "moderates" a debate between President and Governor Bush brought me to tears. (Go to the show's site to check it out.)
June 19, 2003
Kottke posted his thoughts on The Matrix Reloaded. At his last count, people have left 700 comments, mostly as a dialogue amongst themselves. He wonders, "Who owns the conversation on my website?"The activity does amount to significant use of his resources. The bandwidth usage for this entry alone is staggering; it's become its own entity. If people want to keep up the conversation, maybe setting up a message board or even a listserv might be a better solution. It's also important to keep the information accessible somewhere online, so if someone really feels like it, they can read the 700+ comments at some point without draining Jason's bandwidth. Anyway, I doubt this will ever be my problem.
June 10, 2003
The day that two men or two women can kiss on national television and it doesn't make waves will be a good one. In the meantime, kudos to professional and life partners (of 25 years!) Scott Wittman and Marc Shaiman, who won the Tony for best score for Hairspray.
June 03, 2003
Kid 'n' Play are not invited
I know I'd heard of this, but Cordelia's post reminded me. It seems the reality television craze in the UK has taken the form of sticking modern day people in period situations. The latest installment: Regency House Party. "Visit the Real World of Jane Austen's Mr. Darcy!"
I know these miniseries have been a hit with people, but so far I've avoided getting sucked in (because I know that's exactly what would happen). I think I'd rather curl up with the novel, or gaze upon Colin Firth emerging all wet and dripping in his white shirt after diving into the lake.
In a similar vein, "To Live and Date in New York" is seeking applicants for its new season. [via Gawker]
March 31, 2003
Fallen off the wagon in terms of blogging. Quelle horreur! (Yes, I'm using what little French I know to spite the ridiculousness of the French-bashing. It's one thing to have issue with their political actions. It's another to rename a basic brunch treat.) So let's see. Work work work. The books and bills keep coming. I've rediscovered ICQ - and it's v. distracting.
Jen and I took the train to New Haven to go see Jane Austen's portrait, done by her sister Cassandra. It's so...tiny. I'm glad I saw it, it's just a shame there isn't a finished proper portrait of her. But I found myself coming back to look at it several times. There was also a first edition of Pride & Prejudice, which was a lovely, lovely treat. When I came across Byron, I found myself unconsciously twirling my hair in front of him. Why hello, George Gordon. The man's appeal remains. John Keats was just a ridiculously beautiful, gorgeous man. Blake looked just as I thought he might - idiosyncratic intelligence blazing from his eyes, a commanding figure more powerful than attractive. Wordsworth's portrait was one of my favorites, apart from the amazing Keats miniature. It's a bit of a shame that photographs have taken the miniature's place as portable portrait.
Brunch at Good Enough to Eat with my new city pal, Mike. The place is cute, sort of farmhouse style, and they sell paraphernalia out the wazoo, including sweatpants with the store's logo emblazoned across the posterior. I had fresh apple pancakes that had a dollop of sour cream. Just the right thing to go with masses of coffee. A shortcut through Central Park, where we spotted our first robin of the spring, a fat little guy just hanging out in the wet grass. The Manet/Velazquez exhibit - crowded attendance but a well-curated exhibit. The weather was a bit awful - cold, rainy. Coffee and cake at some diner, then a last-minute decision to see Bend It Like Beckham. Perfect Anglophile fluff. Mike was properly disturbed that I could pick out Melanie C's songs during the movie (Mel C, aka Sporty Spice).
March 29, 2003
More Squirminess Ahead
Oh boy. Michael Moore's at work on a new documentary, entitled Fahrenheit 911. It's going to explore the business connections between the Bush and Bin Laden families, and how Dubya and his posse are using 9/11 to push their agenda. Moore aims to screen the film at Cannes next year, which would be just months before the presidential election.
March 25, 2003
J. Hoberman offers his commentary
J. Hoberman offers his commentary on the Academy Awards in the newest Village Voice: "When Doves Cry: Oscars Declare War on the War."
Michael Moore always makes me cringe; I hate the way he puts people on the spot, even though he's calling their attention to something important. And I knew he was gonna say something and that some would cheer and others would seethe and hiss and I would be squirming at home. But he did remind people that our current president was basically installed by the Supreme Court, that his "fictitious election" should've made him humble enough to realize that as President he's responsible to all of the citizens, not just the ones who line his party's coffers. That getting by with election results the equivalent of a gentleman's C isn't enough of a justification or a mandate for cramming this war down the world's throat. This frat boy theocrat has saddled this country with lost credibility, fiscal disaster, and the risk of terrorist retribution, which will last far longer than his time in office.
March 24, 2003
I am pleasantly surprised, more than I expected to be. Nicole Kidman and Adrien Brody, Best Actress and Actor. Chris Cooper for Best Supporting Actor. Roman Polanski, Best Director. (Scorsese actually looked pleased in spite of losing.) Michael Moore, whose speech I'd seen the gist of earlier today and managed to cram onto the air before he was orchestrated offstage. Spirited Away as Best Animated Feature. I didn't think Eminem would win for Best Song, but he spared us both his presence as well as the speechifying by Bono had U2 won. Finally - can someone please give Peter O'Toole a role so he can come back and win an Oscar in the usual fashion? He was incredibly charming and witty, and didn't seem to need bits of paper or a teleprompter to express his appreciation to the Academy.
March 22, 2003
Pressing the Flesh
After protracted negotiations and then the weather conspiring against us, fellow blogger Mike and I finally met up last night, after first becoming acquainted at BABB well over a month ago. Our common interests - blogging, obviously, as well as film, music and some maddening Anglophilia. We are also terribly indecisive and have trouble sorting out restaurant bills. We determined that we must have been standing within several feet of each other at a Neil Finn show at the Variety Playhouse in Atlanta in 1998. How funny is that? I think, in spite of the connections one makes online, there's nothing like meeting up in person and hanging out, chatting away and sitting together over dinner and drinks. We're still carbon-based lifeforms and the exchange of information that takes place when you hug someone hello just can't be conveyed through mere text on the screen.
We caught a screening of Laurel Canyon at a certain megaplex near Times Square - but only because the rain was still falling a bit and the showtime was soon. Note: Lots of non-pc language ahead. Frances McDormand is amazing as Jane, the tough and sexy hippy chick music producer who has a rocky relationship with her straight-laced psychiatrist son Sam, played by Christian Bale. Alessandro Nivola was just sex on legs as the singer Ian, who fronts a band including real members from the group Folk Implosion - oh, and his vocals were quite lovely too - both Mike and I observed that the big song in the film sounded like a Coldplay track. His performance lends authenticity to a movie in which music isn't merely some absent-minded consideration. I'm definitely picking up the soundtrack, sucker that I am. Nivola also has a hilarious moment in the pool, passed out and naked on a floating cushion. I'm not in the habit of noticing guys and their asses, but hey, there he was in the altogether, floating by all taut and golden on a gigantic movie screen. Kinda hard to miss, even for me. (Er...is it getting hot in here?)
Kate Beckinsale did strike me as a bit weak - I'm not convinced how her character went from being disciplined doctoral candidate to lost girl seduced by the California rocker lifestyle. I'd heard she'd gotten implants in order to boost her career, so to speak. So I was also distracted by trying to figure out if that was the case, or if she just had the benefit of well-fitted foundations. Yes, ladies and gents, I'm an equal-opportunity gawker, fascinated by the sight of ridiculously gorgeous people and the things they do to make themselves more so. The movie doesn't end the way you think it might, were it totally a Hollywood kind of flick. An excellent viewing.
Afterwards, we headed to Zen Palate for some vegetarian dining and post-viewing critiquing and further nattering away. I had a dish called Dreamland - some sort of pasta with shredded, chewy bits of sweet and sour sauteed mushroom. Mmmmm. Such a healthy place didn't offer alcoholic beverages, so we wandered over to Jack's for some potent vodka tonics and yes, even more conversation, this time accompanied by raucous drunks singing enthusiastically, though unintelligibly. We also pulled out our gadgets - PDAs, digital cams, and the requisite admiration of the portable digital jukebox - it looks like a CD player, but holds music like an IPod. Yes, we totally geeked out and enjoyed ourselves immensely. But all good things.... Late night commuting trains beckoned, so two new friends parted ways on the sidewalk and headed home.
March 15, 2003
Late late (last) night
Girls' night out in Brooklyn. Dinner at Alma, which left us happily stuffed. Lovely smoky margaritas, chips, salsa and mole sauce, tamales, chile relleno, mole poblano con pollo (the mole sauce contained ground up fruit and Mexican chocolate), and a bit of cheesy rice that was more the texture of risotto. And dessert beckoned us - key lime pie and coconut cheesecake. I'll diet another day.
Then a late screening of The Hours. Now I want to read both Mrs. Dalloway and Michael Cunningham's novel. Although I've only seen three of the movies that have a Best Actress nominee for the Oscar this year (Far From Heaven, Chicago), Nicole Kidman is my pick, with Julianne Moore for Best Supporting Actress. (I know, like it matters.)
A quick pint afterwards at a nearby pub, and then a footrace to catch the last hourly train. Alas, I missed it by two minutes, and the next one wasn't running until 3 a.m. Jen, gracious nightbird that she is, gave me a ride home. It also gave us the chance to have one of those good late-night conversations that seem to happen most easily when you're driving down the highway.
March 03, 2003
After my Saturday class Scott
After my Saturday class Scott and I had lunch at the Corner Bistro, where the menu is so basic it's in a frame on the wall. I had the Bistro burger, while Scott went for the chili burger. Carnivores will be awfully happy. Afterwards, we planned for our movie screenings - the new Cronenberg, Spider, starring Ralph Fiennes, and the documentary Lost in La Mancha, about Terry Gilliam's failed attempt to make Don Quixote. Both are definitely worth checking out - we enjoyed them immensely. In between films we browsed at the Mercer Street Bookstore. A tiny shop, but sometimes you can find good stuff. I picked up a beautiful British Folio Society set of the Gormenghast novels. Even before I knew what I held in my hands my eyes glazed over at the beautiful illustrations and presentation - and the set was only $21.95.
A good day, but Scott really needs to buckle down with school, as do I. I at least have a little more wiggle room with my schedule though, not being mired in a doctoral program. Then again, the oh so fat bank account is still not enough to maintain the lavish urban lifestyle.
October 21, 2002
Another weekend sacrificing academe. Our
Another weekend sacrificing academe. Our stint at the film series Scary Movies: 30 Years of Horror began with Prince of Darkness. I'd seen the movie before but still got spooked and jumpy. It's embarrassing enough, but even more so when one is surrounded by a bunch of horror filmsters who might laugh if anything at what's onscreen. Scott wishes he could still have the fun of being scared at the movies - I'd gladly give him my share. We also caught God Told Me To and Evil Dead. I'd seen the former on video with Scott - it's not a typical gory horror movie, more a thoughtful detective story with horror elements. The writer/director, Larry Cohen, did a q&a about exploring political ideas in his movies; he seemed like a cool, practical, laidback kind of guy. As for Evil Dead, I'd look everywhere but at the screen, or I'd conveniently close my eyes when the sound went suddenly quiet. I could open my eyes once the mayhem was in progress.
Sunday, I met up with Zeebah for the walkathon in Central Park. A beautiful day for a walk, although I could have done without the high schoolers cheering us on every couple hundred yards. I don't feel this great accomplishment for just walking, although I did manage to raise some money. Afterwards, caught Jen's fabulous housewarming, kept busy heating up sundry appetizers and topping off glasses of champagne (managing a few swigs and nibbles myself, of course); again, I wanted to be useful instead of trying to be brilliant in conversation. Came home, crashed on the couch, and at some point Scott sent me to bed. I was so tired I have no recollection of this.
September 08, 2002
Saw Possession this weekend. Jeremy
Saw Possession this weekend. Jeremy Northam and Jennifer Ehle are the stronger actors, though their roles are smaller. With Ehle, all the acting seems to radiate out of her eyes - the rest of her could be quite still. Jeremy also has lovely, poetic hair - not that Fabio-type stuff, but more like Shelley or Byron. I'm still rather peeved the film left out his bare chest, but perhaps that will appear in the deleted scenes on the DVD. Also caught My Big Fat Greek Wedding. Chockful of belly laughs - although thank goodness I didn't have these problems at my own (tiny, non-Greek) wedding.
I'm also really thrilled that Pete Sampras won the U.S. Open. I only wish I'd gotten to see the match.
July 31, 2002
During our foray into town
During our foray into town over the weekend, we also saw Lovely and Amazing. Catherine Keener plays an emotionally stunted woman - her way of dealing with unfortunate situations is by telling people to "Fuck off!" I laughed, sometimes nervously, because I can so relate sometimes. Not that I would really deal with people like that, because that's just not how people should talk to each other - such a word is powerful and aggressive. That doesn't mean that when I'm alone I won't swear like mad.
Scott used to share his office with a German colleague who used the F-word a bit too freely, often to comic effect. "Do I need to study that for the exam?" a student would ask. "Aww, fuck nooo." (Insert breezy German accent.) I don't think he ever quite got that such language isn't generally part of one's public vocabulary - but the rest us giggled like mad. After all, he'd never talk like that in German. I think.
The last of John Nash, I promise. Wired offers an overview of the game theory conference. (Thanks, Liz!)
July 14, 2002
Healthy Dose of Fun
Went downtown to play this weekend - browsing for books at The Strand, more David Cronenberg viewing, bumming around the East Village. Met up with Liz and Lauren for southern comfort food at Mama's - garlicky, bacon-y, crispy green beans and fried chicken, with minty iced tea. Ah, bliss. Headed for a viewing of Notorious C.H.O., the new Margaret Cho concert flick. Laughed until it hurt, then cackled and snickered and guffawed some more. The plus of the Margaret experience - the line for the ladies' lounge was really short!
July 10, 2002
Got a Gaudi postcard from
Got a Gaudi postcard from my friend Bill, who is jetting about Barcelona. It's good to know that he actually gets away from the too-sexy accounting job. Maybe I'll hear tales of the chicas swooning in his wake, although I'm sure he's really there for the art and culture. Hopefully he isn't having the Whit Stillman experience.
Off to see a movie tonight; there's a theater downtown doing an David Cronenberg retrospective during the next two weeks. Scott's all agog; hopefully I will be able to watch without peeking through my fingers. Heck, hopefully I'll stay awake, since I have the darnedest time staying up late for the movies, whether it's in the theater or at home. O for the endless energy of freshman year. We watched Hannibal last night - ugh - what a waste of time; we had to watch it over two nights because I fell asleep the first night. Wish I had done the same and not bothered to finish the movie.