Thursday, January 31, 2008

That's not true. I just hate all these extroverted, obnoxious, pseudo-bohemian losers.

I was perusing through a list of albums due to come out this year and while I didn't see anything spectacular, I was happy to see...

A new B-52s album due out at the end of February! It has only been 16 years since their last album. Funplex. The single is also called Funplex and I heard it at their show last June, but it's hard to judge most songs when only heard live.

Also, I knew she had an album coming out, but it's weird to see she's really doing it. Yes, Scarlett Johansson, and while I have been so tired of her for the past year, that doesn't mean I'm not drooling a little over The Other Boleyn Girl (I actually heard someone pronounce it "Bowlin' Girl" the other day and died a little inside).

Here's a bad video of one of the tracks, worth listening to because it sounds nothing like her at all. And no, I don't plan on buying the album but I'm still posting it, so there. It was certainly a different way to go, this song. Her album (due out in May), Anywhere I Lay My Head is, I believe, a Tom Waits cover album. Again, wouldn't have guessed.

The video is just a placeholder, merely a Lost In Translation compilation, but hey, it's pretty at least.

Where are you from? The country of White Trash?

Last night we watched the most loathsome, borderline-rage-inducing piece of shit. And no, not the remake of Black Christmas, which my dad and husband did actually catch the other night in all its nonsensical craptasticness. No this, was Rob Zombie's remake ("reimagining?") of Halloween. It's my fault, it really is. We were curious. I knew it would suck. I just didn't realize how much it would suck and how much it would piss me off.

About ten minutes in I began to realize this and had to ask D for paper and pen because by god, I needed to make a list, it was that bad.

At some point, I tried to judge it just as another horror movie, not as a Halloween remake, as it was not a single solitary thing like the original, save using the same music, mask (kind of), and the Bob/Linda death scene was nearly the same. Just on its own, it was still horrible. It certainly wasn't scary.

So Rob Zombie has replaced minimalism, character development (of the right characters), suspense and tension with gore (not even good Peter Jackson gore, just gratuitous gore), swearing and a bizarre transformation of everyone into their white trash selves. They're not even the same people; at one point, Laurie simulates sex on a bagel in front of her mom and taunts her about the hardware store owner leering over her, but later lectures her friends about how she hates to lie. Wtf?

I'm getting ahead of myself. We don't even MEET the girls until a whopping 54 minutes into the film. Yes, you read that properly. The first HOUR is all about Michael's childhood, torturing animals in school and killing not just his sister but multiple others, the time in a psychiatric ward with Dr. Loomis (oh, Malcolm McDowell, you are forever shamed...actually, Zombie must have had dirt on many, many people...), it went on and on and on. Two key things:

1) It was so much creepier to think Michael came from a normal, classy family. Skanking it up makes it boring and obvious and creates really tedious scenes.

2) Don't show us what goes on behind the curtain. I always pictured Michael as an emotionless black hole. This doesn't.

Also, there is way too much blood and swearing. Don't get me wrong, I'm huge fans of both--used properly. The first film is a great example of how less can be more. All this film does is exemplify that and put itself on display as HOW TO FUCK UP A CLASSIC and LOOK AT THIS INEFFECTIVE HORROR MOVIE. I mean, who--especially a so-called fan of the original--looks at this remake and thinks it's a good idea, let alone a tribute? Did you WATCH the original? Don't you GET IT??

My list ended up at 24 things that offended me about the movie. I won't list them all here. But some highlights...

1. You see Michael's face way too much (also way too many shots of his EYES), which really just contributes to one of its biggest flaws: ZERO MYSTERY. Apparently, mystery is overrated in Zombie's world. Let's spell it all out for the audience and totally wreck it.

2. Too much time on the WRONG characters.

3. It managed to ruin the music--the creepiest music of all time--by rendering it useless in this film. Not even the music made this gorefest scary.

4. Again, blood + swearing does not = quality scares. I just can't stress this enough.

5. All that time spent in the hospital was so much more effectively shown to us, for once, by some easy exposition by Loomis in the original. A rare thing, I admit. And why? BECAUSE IT'S A THROWAWAY BONE. Good to know, but really not crucial to our enjoyment.

6. What? Utilize the audience's imagination? Nope, we won't be doing that here.

7. I loathed all three girls. True, Annie was pretty annoying in the original but I still liked her. She was realistic and funny; another embarrassment is Zombie basically having a blueprint on his hands and still appearing completely incapable of writing even one line of believable dialogue.

8. Does every single solitary person, particularly the men, have to have long hair? Wtf?

God, I could just go on. Everything he could get wrong, he did. It's like everything he touches turns to white trash. I cannot believe anyone who could make this movie could ever appreciate the original--I mean, it's clear he doesn't. This is the worst movie I have seen in years and it's also truly offensive to both fans of horror and especially fans (which is EVERYONE) of the Carpenter/Hill version.

I get it he was trying to "make it his own," and I do have a least a modicum of (respect is so the wrong word)--understanding?--that at least it's not a rehashing blow-by-blow. But then, we come down to the basic, original question: why fucking remake it at all? Why can't you just leave it alone?

I'll stop now, because I could go on about this for days.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

She's only a tease if what she does gets you hot.

The biggest cock tease of all time:

This is like getting a "save the date" wedding invite. It's not even the actual invite. (Well, that and this is something I'd actually like to go to. Except for your wedding, Emily.) It's such a placeholder it's barely even a teaser.

And now I have to work very hard to pretend I did not just see a credit for "Winona Ryder." Fuck.

I won't bore you with the trailer, but there's a movie coming out called Midnight Meat Train. And it's not an eighth as great as that title. What a title. The potential. And no, it's not even that kind of movie. Just crappy Clive Barker barf.

I also found a trailer for Righteous Kill at...wait for I won't post it here because yes, it sucked sweaty donkey balls. I shouldn't get my hopes up, nothing will ever be Heat. Le sigh.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

You made me smash my Lifesavers.

In doing research for March's movie trivia, I found some interesting prospects for 2008...

First of all, Eli Roth is doing Trailer Trash, a whole movie of nothing but faux horror trailers. I never did see Grindhouse in the theatre, so for anyone else who didn't, here's his infamous Thanksgiving trailer. I can't stress how NSFW this is.

A few other notable films I'm curious about...Choke, from the Chuck Palahniuk novel (he of Fight Club fame) The Lovely Bones, which is the new Peter seems to think it will be out 2009 but most sites say 2008 (?), and then Righteous Kill which stars DeNiro and Pacino together, good times.

It also looks like Pixar may finally be getting their shit together with WALL-E, which has very little dialogue, apparently. And it comes out on my birthday, thanks Pixar!

Looks like it may be great, contrary to one comment on some post somewhere reading, "They totally just ripped off Short Circuit!"

Ok, design-wise, maybe a little...

Friday, January 25, 2008

I don't want no dissension. Just dynamic tension.

Yesterday was not the best film day. I started with Away From Her, for which Julie Christie has been nominated for an Oscar.

Don't misunderstand me, I'm sure it's a good film, but it's one I can really do without. "Seriously fucking depressing" just doesn't cut it. You know what? I turned it off with 30 minutes to go. I'm sure Christie will get that Oscar, I get it, you know? Well, let's see, who's the competition...

Cate Blanchett for Elizabeth: The Golden Age (2007)
Julie Christie for Away from Her (2006)
Marion Cotillard for Môme, La (2007)
Laura Linney for The Savages (2007)
Ellen Page for Juno (2007)

Hmm, that is pretty tough. I still think she'll get it, though Marion Cotillard got the Globe and Laura Linney is long overdue...and who doesn't love Cate? Ellen can go for the free booze now that she's 21. So I'm going for Christie. Plus, it's one of those roles...

And what the fuck is Sarah Polley doing writing such depressing shit? At least it's adapted from a short story but jesus. She's six months older than I am and I would never want to tackle that subject (Alzheimer's). Suddenly I was wishing I was just watching A Mighty Heart...

On a far different note, we then watched The Rocky Horror Picture Show which I thought, it had just been years since I'd seen. But you know what? I'm pretty sure I never saw that thing all the way through. And you're all going to crucify me.

Because I don't ever need to see that again.

I can really appreciate the fun, I can. And it's goofy and over the top and that's all great. But I was...really kind of bored. I recognize some of the songs, sure. And I have no doubt that it all boils down to nostalgia. Had I seen this fifteen+ years ago like a normal person I would probably still love it. But there is nothing for me there and as such, I'm afraid I just don't get it (the craze, that is). D hadn't seen it in a while but is one of the masses who has it mostly memorized and still really enjoys it.

Sorry. I hope you can forgive me.

I also forgot to mention I Tivo'ed an episode of Cashmere Mafia.

It's executive produced by Darren Star, who created Sex & the City. I was a little afraid it would be the fat-free version of a bad duplicate (plus I think it's on ABC and it's TV-PG, wtf?). But I actually laughed more than once. Mostly, I'm sure, due to my enjoyment of Lucy Liu...

...and I enjoyed her character so far. They are really dolling her up in outfits just as, if not more, horrendous than Carrie's on SATC. Liu plays a fashion publisher, at least, but that doesn't mean you have to punish her, damn. There was even a minor role for Tom Everett Scott (That Thing You Do!) as her ex, so I was happy for him.

And wait, I'm sorry, that was wrong. Nothing could be worse than Carrie's outfits on SATC.

So far so good, but it's only one episode so I'll have to keep going. Plus Miranda Otto is pretty damn cute. (You might know her better as Eowyn). I like the redheads, sue me.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

You're the new me. No wait... I'm the new me.

I've been dicking around with our computer set-up for a few days now. I finally bought a USB hub because it was frustrating to choose between Superfly Amadeus Shaft (our ipod), my camera's SD drive and now potentially the printer and scanner being hooked up. Only one at a time. So now they're all plugged in. But some of them won't matter.

For example, the scanner's software is designed for a PC. I have a Mac. Okay, scratch the scanner.

The printer won't print. The diagnostic prints fine and I even downloaded a driver for it just in case that was the problem (thanks, Alex!), but it still tries to print 10 pages instead of 1, with a little ink on each, all a-jumble. It's an HP Deskjet, it's nothing way cool but still, rather not buy another one, especially after I just bought a parallel-to-USB cord for it, not to mention ink. Fuck you, printer.

But at least now I can have my SD drive plugged in all the time. Otherwise, there was very little motivation for me to stand up, plug it in and download pictures. I'm really just that lazy.

Purple tulips D got me a few days ago when I was feeling crappy.

This one struck me as very Audrey II.

And no more catnip for Bourdain, he can't hold himself together.

I've also been playing with Dreamweaver (finally), which is not the newest version, but it cost me a bottle of Chimay. Blue, of course. So I'm really not complaining. I'm taking it very slowly, but I figured I would get a personal site up and running as a test before I go jumping into making a website for a non-existent theatre that, so far, doesn't really have a lot of info to write about.

I registered a domain name (more on that later) but I haven't picked a host yet. I wanted to time how rapidly Dreamweaver sent me into tears before deciding if I wanted a hold-my-hand type site with templates or a do-it-yourself host, which I really would prefer (I say now). I also have to decide how much space I want. I think the basic is around 50MB up to 3GB, but if I was ever tempted to do a podcast (about what I have no fucking idea, again, more on that another day), then it might be better to aim for the bigger space.

I still don't feel like I've accomplished a whole lot, but whatever. Baby steps.

We also might have ice late tonight (we usually only get ice, no actual, you know, SNOW), which sucks but makes me glad I have a later work start time than most, especially since my job no longer has the flexibility my old one did.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Put her in your spank bank and move on.

D has really been wanting this poster but it's hard to find.

After yesterday's events I made more of an effort to find one, which I did this morning. (All the Heath Ledger stuff up on ebay is kind of depressing--people didn't waste a second).

Anyway, hooray. It can be a Valentine's Day gift, even though we don't really do Valentine's Day. Hell, it can be a Happy Thursday gift...

We watched 10 Things I Hate About You, which has some genuinely funny moments. However, those moments are deflated by the movie's repeated attempts to make us hate it. Horrendously unbelievable scenes and forced dialogue completely overshadow the cute moments and a few funny lines. Oh well. Then onto the first half of A Knight's Tale which is really not as bad as I recalled...

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

It's not everyday you find a girl who'll flash someone to get you out of detention.

How totally depressing.

I got a call around 4:30 today just as the story was breaking, as my friend was under the impression I was a huge fan. In truth, I am not, but I do think Heath Ledger is a really fine actor--he always did an incredible job even when the film itself was utter shit.

Case in point, what we've rented tonight:

10 Things I Hate About You; the first film I saw him in. In fairness, I'm equally crazy about Julia Stiles, and they both saved this film, which was tripe and barf.

A Knight's Tale. I'm dreading it already, but D says he has never seen it. How this is possible is beyond me, but I'm willing to believe him.

This came out during my last Christmas at the Angelika, where we had it on three goddamn screens and it was torn apart by audiences and critics alike. I have avoided Casanova til now.

It really is a shame, it looks as though his last performance as the Joker in The Dark Knight is going to be a really incredible one. (He was shooting a Terry Gilliam film currently, which is especially unfortunate for TG and his track record).

Monday, January 21, 2008

Tonight I, uh, I just had to kill a LOT of people.

Is it wrong that I get a song called Re: Your Brains constantly going through my head at work? That can't mean much for what I think of my job. This was the only decent video I could find for it; great lyrics.

It's like riding a psychotic horse toward a burning stable.

Well hopefully everyone is happy now that I have finally seen La Cage Aux Folles.

I have no idea how I missed it or why it's never crossed my path before, but there you have it. I had just never seen it. My whole family (and I swear I'd mentioned my lack of having seen it before, in this very blog, even) was fucking appalled that I had never seen it. At least it says something good about my family.

What's worse, I'm sure, is that I have seen The Birdcage, and more than once. Even though the remake is practically a shot-by-shot rip off, they did a fairly good job (more so with the characters than the second half of the story), all things considered. Nothing will ever be the original, of course, but hey. The only line I missed was when Albin swears she's leaving for the cemetary with merely her toothbrush--in the '96 version, Armand remarks, "How Egyptian."

Anyhoo, I was really impressed, and it was quite risque (by American standards, I suppose) for 1979. It also seemed a little grittier and more realistic (for lack of a better word) than the '96 version in which everyone got along so splendidly and a little too easily.

I was also sad to see, while researching, that not one of the three leads survives. The son died in 1989 of AIDS, Renato (Ugo Tonazzi) died in 1990 and Albin (Michel Serrault) died just last July of cancer. But I hear La Cage Aux Folles 2 is also quite good, so I'll have to check that out.

And in keeping with the whole French thing, I had previously finished Paris Je T'aime, which I had had to postpone when Netfux sent me a shit copy and I had to turn it off after 5 stories.

I'm glad I got it back because I had been vaguely unimpressed, but the stories really picked up. Not all the stories are great (20 stories at 5 min each) but most of them are and it's certainly worth watching--a very neat film altogether. Might even crack my top ten of 2007. Assuming stiffer competition doesn't crop up...

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Laugh it up, Fuzzball.

I had heard about this while coming up with holiday movie trivia but had never actually seen any of it. I never sought it out and now, thanks to Veloute, I know why.

Five minutes of The Star Wars Holiday Special. You must bring your own barf bag.

Friday, January 18, 2008

You're beautiful. Let's have sex.

So I watched A Mighty Heart the other night. I hadn't had any plans to watch it, but Angelina Jolie's performance has really been getting talked up, plus she's one of those actresses I really like but who can never seem to be in a really decent movie. This was a well-done movie, but it doesn't really fall into the gee, I'm going to want to see that again category.

The movie was made in the memory of Daniel Pearl, of The Wall Street Journal, who was kidnapped and beheaded in Pakistan in January 2002. D didn't watch this one with me. It was an interesting movie, Jolie gave a really solid performance and yeah, it wasn't terribly upbeat. Infact, I was thinking of gouging out an eye and pouring habanero sauce in the wound to, you know, pick the mood up a bit.

Instead, we watched Logan's Run, which yes, I had never seen.

Wow, that movie is still a ton of fun, 32 years later. It has so much style, not just in the settings and costumes but in the way the story is carried out (bring your bong for the Love Shop scene, very interesting...). I don't think it will crack my 100 list, but then, it doesn't have the nostalgia factor it clearly does for everyone else.

Well, it has a little nostalgia. I totally forgot about the Fort Worth Water Gardens scene, which was bizarre and awesome, especially with the ocean behind it. And of course, who doesn't love American Werewolf in London's Jenny Agutter (though presumably most people probably know her from this).

But it was really enjoyable and holds up incredibly well. (And I can apparently still quote alongside T.S. Eliot's "Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats," much to D's surprise who had no idea how I knew what the Old Man was saying)!

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

The blouse man is on the premises.

And the award for Best Naked Bath House Fight Scene for 2007 goes to...

Eastern Promises! With a special slap on the ass to the very, ahem, talented Viggo Mortensen!

If only the rest of the movie had been as good as that fight scene. Actually, the movie was really great except for the last five minutes. Wtf? It had such promise, such build up, and then...piff.

And is it just me, am I the only one who just can't get into Naomi Watts? She's great in Mulholland Drive and The Painted Veil I guess, but she just seems so...replaceable.

Rollo Tomasi.

My dad recently (ok, maybe October/November) asked us (myself and my two sisters) if our top 100 guilty pleasure lists from last year had changed at all, noting his had a 5-10% turnover, which I am curious to see. I revisited mine and saw a few changes worth making.

Strangely, some of what I added are not new movies I've seen (although 3 are) but old favorites I watched again this year and decided they have a spot on the list. The bold ones are the new additions.

I did a pretty pisspoor job of getting around to the ones on my dad's and sisters' lists I hadn't seen. I did knock out quite a few, but not as many as I'd wanted. So now my top ten Netflix are...(and yes, I've seen Brazil, but it's been ages and it seems like it should be on the list).

La Cage aux Folles
Babette's Feast
(I tried to watch this recently but Netfux sent a broken one)
Logan's Run
Howards End
The Browning Version
Breakheart Pass
Zorba the Greek

So the list from 2007, top 100 comfort/fun movies. Again, not a list for the grittier Breaking the Waves type fare, though those are also well-loved.

1. Lost In Translation
2. Streets of Fire
3. Bringing Up Baby
4. After Hours
5. My Dinner With Andre
6. Boogie Nights
7. Heat
8. La Vita e Bella
9. Kicking and Screaming (1995)
10. Bandits (German)

11. Ghost World
12. Lonesome Dove (still bending the rules)
13. Jeffrey
14. That Thing You Do!
15. Four Weddings and a Funeral
16. What's Up, Doc?
17. The Full Monty
18. Thelma & Louise
19. The Last Days of Disco
20. Goodfellas

21. The Silence of the Lambs
22. The Goodbye Girl
23. The Breakfast Club
24. Working Girl
25. Ghostbusters
26. Dead Poets' Society
27. Clueless
28. Watership Down
29. Strictly Ballroom
30. Pretty In Pink

31. Ferris Bueller's Day Off
32. Mystic Pizza
33. The Terminator
34. Charade
35. The Man Who Came to Dinner
36. The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert
37. The Secret of NIMH
38. A Fish Called Wanda
39. Amadeus
40. Planes, Trains and Automobiles

41. Parenthood
42. Christmas In Connecticut
43. L.A. Confidential
44. Casablanca
45. Only You
46. The Lemon Drop Kid
47. To Kill a Mockingbird
48. Die Hard
49. The Professional
50. All About Eve

51. Go
52. American Psycho
53. Amateur
54. Fierce Creatures
55. Romancing the Stone
56. Strange Days
57. Pretty Woman
58. Kontroll
59. Mononoke Hime
60. Horror Express

61. Adventures in Babysitting
62. Closer
63. Contact (Jodie Foster movie)
64. Grosse Point Blank
65. Home For the Holidays
66. In Good Company
67. The Limey
68. Living Out Loud
69. Moulin Rouge!
70. Office Space

71. Party Girl
72. Meet the Feebles
73. Kamikaze Girls
74. Midnight Run
75. Say Anything
76. Secretary
77. Juno
78. The Joy Luck Club
79. A Few Good Men
80. Bangkok Hilton (miniseries;we're not big on rules here)

81. Bridget Jones' Diary
82. Pan's Labyrinth
83. The Fugitive
84. Raiders of the Lost Ark
85. Stand By Me
86. Mulholland Drive
87. The Linguini Incident
88. It Happened One Night
89. Beauty and the Beast
90. Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead

91. Peter's Friends
92. Airplane!
93. Groundhog Day
94. Sense and Sensibility
95. Pride and Prejudice (the Colin Firth one, der)
96. Saved!
97. Big
98. When Harry Met Sally
99. Sleepless In Seattle
100. Real Genius

Monday, January 14, 2008

You have made me the happiest juvenile delinquent in Baltimore.

Well, at least Johnny Depp finally won. Too bad there was, like, no ceremony. This picture is really trying to make up for it.

And as for the two people behind the podium...jesus. They may have been two of the blandest (yet most annoying) fucks on the planet. Their weak-ass banter lead me to believe they had not seen a single movie ever nor did anything but read little gossip blurbs. They didn't even announce (at this, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association's award show) the Best Foreign Film, any music, screenplay awards (intentional? meow), and only partially did made-for-TV/miniseries actress/actor, it was bizarre.

That was the worst thing I have ever seen ever.

And no one won that I expected, except for Johnny and Atonement. The rest were all pretty much surprises. And Hugh Laurie lost for the first time in the three years, but on the upside I don't have to be sad for missing his speech, usually the funniest part of the whole damn show.

Anyhoo. Well so far, 2008 has not been a good year for my Netflix choices. We did see Stardust on New Year's Day and that was really great, I could even own that. So much fun. Even Claire Danes couldn't ruin it. But aside from that, it's all been mediocre as hell.

First of all, there was Zodiac. I so wanted and pretty much expected to like this.

Jake Gyllenhaal! Robert Downey Jr! And it's a David Fincher movie! (Although now that I'm looking at his filmography I wasn't crazy about Panic Room, either). It felt like its three hours. Three hours of watching someone research. Robert Downey may have totally been phoning it in, nothing was required of him. Jake was...there. Great cinematography. Yup.

I was disappointed.

And we saw Hairspray. Meh. Why? I saw the John Waters version, which was superior. I mean, everyone and everything in this was great. (Except maybe the John Travolta decision...that was...odd. But Divine worked.) So yeah, meh. Nothing special.

BUT! I am determined to turn some shit around. I have Sunshine, Paris Je t'aime, Eastern Promises. Maggie! Naked Viggo! Danny Boyle/Alex Garland! Something's going to work.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

No point in mentioning these bats, I thought. Poor bastard will see them soon enough.

It does seem like a bad idea to go into too much detail about the theatre I want to start up, not that anyone reads this thing, but all things considered, better not to shoot myself in the mouth, or however that goes. Don't want to accidentally say bad things, burn bridges, etc. So I'll try to speak as generically as possible.

I did get in touch with a local film festival director who has used the venue I wish to become ours. He went over the negatives and positives of the place, as he had been thinking along similar lines in the past. The con column had way more in it, but that never really stopped anyone, right? What it really boils down to is how much damn work that place would need. And for one screen?

As the Alamo does, I'm totally into multiple screenings each week at different times. Variety, you know. I hate to go all Inwood on it and split the thing up. Who likes those two upstairs theatres at the Inwood? No one, that's the hell who. But it is goofy to have wasted space, all the same.

I will try not to get too tied down to that location, especially as the big development that's going on in my hometown will be bringing a theatre. What kind of theatre? It remains unknown, but one of the big arthouse theaters in the metroplex is a possibility. And that would suck for me. So therefore it's bad.

On a totally separate note, I'm reading a pretty good book called Call Me By Your Name, by Andre Aciman. I got it off some Best of 2007 Fiction list, NY Times or Washington Post, I forget. I didn't really know a whole lot about it as I sat down at work to read it, but it's a bit of a naughty book. It's almost annoying just how **ANGSTY** it is, but it's also well written enough to keep me reading.

I just have to be discreet and not laugh as I'm sitting there, occasionally getting to read and running into lines like, "I would sit and watch him after having dreamt of him all night. My first thought in the morning upon seeing him was, 'Did you know I came in your mouth last night?'"

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

When it comes to boyfriends, Paulie Bleeker was totally boss.

Hee hee, thank you Alex.

And that totally blows goat balls about the Golden Globes being cancelled, they're so much more fun than the Oscars. That would suck so immensely if this was your first time to get nominated.

I watched The Namesake this afternoon. I'm usually a sucker for those bi-cultural type movies, and while this one started strongly, it ended up leaving me kinda meh. I really liked the leading lady, Tabu, and I was glad to see Kal Penn (from House, M.D.) doing something other than Harold & Kumar Felch Sheep or whatever. But as it spanned roughly 25 years in a family's life, it ended up feeling way longer than it's just-under two hour runtime.

Off to make those bitchin' black bean asparagus enchiladas (oh, baby) and finally, finally, finally watch Zodiac. Oh, and speaking of the Gyllenhaal clan, looks like one of my ladies may be on her way up from semi-obscurity:

Heath Ledger must be shitting himself, taking a whack at such a iconic role. However, I think the original is more OTT (not knocking it, it totally worked) and this looks much darker. I'm pretty curious, and I can't tell you how excited D is, it's ridiculous. July 18th.

Saturday, January 05, 2008

It wasn't a sketch. It was a massive spastic fuck-up.

So I taped the first episodes back on the air of The Tonight Show and Conan O'Brien (though I've yet to watch the latter, which is odd since I prefer him to Leno). I never watch either, but it was hard to resist with its, you know, train-wreck appeal.

It really wasn't that bad. I didn't laugh, but nor did I cringe. (I could REALLY do without the ba-dum-dum of the drums after EVERY GODDAMN JOKE. WE GET IT).

Of course now there's all this dispute over whether the Guild is going to seek action against Leno because he wrote his own jokes. He did the monologue. Seriously, what the fuck is he supposed to do? I get being on their side but come on. He even took questions from the audience for a while, which were surprisingly a little less inane than the questions my crowd asked Jon Stewart (perhaps there was severe editing). I still have no idea why Letterman and Ferguson get a special deal where they get to use their writers, did I miss something?

Editor's Note: Ok, I just watched Conan and I take it back. There was a very different approach there. There was clearly no writing done and it was VERY "winging it." The difference? It was borderline hysterical--I laughed out loud a couple times. "Let's see for how many seconds I can spin my wedding ring on the desk?" He really pulled it off nicely. I would take that any day over ba-dum-dum type humor.

So if you cannot do any writing and must just go out there and wing it (plus you can't do regular bits you normally do), it should be, uh, real interesting to see what they do on The Colbert Report next week, which is 80% Stephen Colbert. The Daily Show should be interesting, too, if the correspondents are striking (as they are also writers). I hear they are desperately seeking to land a deal like Letterman's.

And speaking of TV, D just came to get me because apparently TiVO is doing something new and altogether, well, loathsomely sleazy. They have started popping up ads at you while you are fast-forwarding. He's fast forwarding through the ads and out of nowhere, the screen pops up with AMERICAN EXPRESS, APPLY NOW! (press thumbs up to say yes!) I mean, you can almost hear the Mr. Movie Phone voice, it's very Josie & the Pussycats.

I know someone out there will click on it, I do, but really? Really? I've seen hookers that came off as less desperate.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

I like a woman with an arse you can park a bike in and balance a pint of beer on.

I finally dragged out my book about how to write a business plan. D and I have always wanted to open our own theatre, for the most part a retrospective theatre in the vein of the Alamo Drafthouse. The Drafthouse, however, is more of a food service type place, more like the Studio Movie Grill or Movie Tavern. Ours would be less food servicey and more nostalgic concessions.

I really would like to locate it in my hometown, as there is a sizeable university there I think would make for a key audience. Location's going to be a bitch. And then there's the ongoing argument as to how many screens? 1-3 is the range, but I think 1 may be more realistic, especially based on the ultimate location. 3 might be ideal, but who knows at this point.

The tedious part of the business plan involves getting all the numbers of your target audience--the demographics, the trends, sheesh. For what we're going for, my hometown doesn't have much competition. I was recently lamenting how the only first-run theatre there was showing, of its four screens, Alvin & the Chipmunks, I Am Legend, National Treasure, and Walk Hard. But my tech friend pointed out that Alvin and National are the two leading films right now. Jesus wept. It's not even the type of theatre we'd like to run, but we may need to show first-run features to really make a profit, I don't know yet.

There are so many gorgeous abandoned vaudeville-type theatres across the country; I even looked at one in Evanston, IL back in 2003 when I was harboring delusions of maybe moving to Chicago. It was a very cool theatre, very art deco, but I didn't have the money to just drop everything and work on restoring it (it didn't need too much work, really, but still). And let's face it: the fuck do I know about Evanston? At least if it's my hometown I already know its shortcomings.

There has to be demand and first I would have to establish that a theatre of the sort we'd like to run would even be viable downtown. Being close to the university, I would think, would help immensely.

And there's nothing like word of mouth, so I have to make it a fucking myspace page of course. Did Blair Witch teach us nothing?

It may be a slow project that fizzles into nothing but it's certainly more than time to at least write up a business plan. Or at least, try to figure out how to write a business plan. You know?

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

It's like my grandma always said... 'The real money's in the dick and fart jokes.' She was a church lady.

We made a fire in the bedroom fireplace for New Years, which we don't typically do (living room has the nice TV)...

But I think he was into it.

Though Bourdain was a little more active...

And this is what we did for New Year's Eve. Nella Casson and Johnny Lockhart are in this shitty dorm, and while they've been heavily making out, Nella has gotten on academic probation but Johnny just squeaked by with a C+. Jerk.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

She's a dancer who doesn't dance and her friend is a painter who doesn't paint. It's kind of a Boho version of the Island of the Lost Toys.

Happy New Year! I will continue to compile my top ten theatrical releases of 2007, but since I haven't made a huge dent in them yet, this is my top ten for 2007 of flicks I saw for the first time, but weren't necessarily released in 2007. They are all very engaging and worth watching and come highly recommended.

Oh, and there were a few films I saw in January and February that were top ten theatrical releases for 2006, but since that would kind of be cheating, well, I excluded them (The Departed, Marie Antoinette, but still great). Only one appears both here and on my theatricals for 2007, Once.

In no order...

Top 10 Movies Viewed in 2007

1. Pan's Labyrinth (2006)

I put this off for like, a year, I know. And it still wasn't what I was expecting. They really play up the fantasy aspect in the trailers, but that's not most of the film, as I had thought. Incredible and moving, it's the first time in ages I went right in afterwards and put it on my wish-list.

2. Funny Girl (1968)

Lots of recognizable songs, very enjoyable. So upbeat for so long, yet its ending is totally depressing--though personally I prefer to think things continue to go well for her, unlike the premise of the sequel suggests. To hell with that.

3. Avenue Montaigne (2006)

Totally cute, a mellow little film that's sweet and fun to watch for its characters and setting. It revolves around one girl and the many people she meets while new at her job in the luxurious part of town. A little unusual in its story (or, vague lack thereof) but it's done well and somehow gets away with it.

4. Brief Encounter (1945)

The gorgeous cinematography, the angst, it's great. The original lovers-on-a-train-platform movie, this could never be made today but it totally works here. Simple story, beautifully told.

5. Citizen Kane (1941)

One I put off for ages. I admit it, I tried watching it ten years ago and it bored the shit out of me. But somehow this time I was into it. It was perfectly interesting and intriguing; obviously there was little mystery in it for me at this point, but it really is a great watch--for the style if nothing else.

6. Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore (1974)

Great characters totally make this. I don't know how I ever missed it, but it was genuinely funny (in parts). Great lines, and again, the characters make it one neat film.

7. Mutiny On the Bounty (1962)

Marlon Brando and the cinematography compete for Totally Prettiest Ever, but it's also full of great conflict. Especially for someone like me who loves the Hornblower series, it was in that same vein. Melodrama! On the seas!

8. Once (2007)

Totally low-budget but cute (realistic) characters. Halfway through the plot becomes almost laughably and drastically unrealistic (let's just say blindly upbeat), but go with it, it's not the point. Neat characters and good music, an ending to be proud of. And I know what she says to him in Czech...

9. Gandhi (1982)

I suppose this is a bit of a "duh" entry, but it really is good. Sometimes the epics can kind of drag. I'm still not sure what all the hype is over Lawrence (aside from him). But this was great, both for Ben Kingsley and a well-told story. Quite a few of these entries run in the 2.5-3 hour range, but none of them felt that long. I've watched 90 minute movies that felt longer.

10. Kontroll (2003)

Full of style. Both mysterious and goofy, a great film about Budapest's underground train system and the ticket checkers (and what they put up with). So many cute and bizarre moments, easily one I could pop in from time to time.