Sunday, August 29, 2010
"Step right up! You won't believe your eyes! Hurry hurry hurry! You've never seen anything like it!"
It isn't often you actually don't believe your eyes. But there was a slack rope act in Ovo that I saw yesterday that I literally do not understand. The physics didn't make sense. The girl sitting next me actually said, "that's not possible" out loud. Go see it for yourself.
The show overall wasn't Cirque's best, but it was mostly good. There was a great hand-balancing act, good juggling from a bunch of Chinese girls, good contortionists /acro-sporters, a totally cool dancing slinky thing that I don't understand, a fantastic Spanish web act (I love arialists) and the tumbling finale, which was absolutely spectacular. The diabolos act wasn't particularly good, nor was the trapeze. Something actually went wrong there. In addition to one girl falling, it became rapidly apparent that there was supposed to be more to the act and that they cut it short. It was weird.
More on that hideous blue dress.
Summer 2010. Well - I still need to catch up on the tail end of things, but it's about that time to wrap up and move on. And, I think we can all agree, not a moment too soon. The best of this summer were mostly the smaller indie flicks, and fall will bring many more of those. In terms of studio flicks? Iron Man 2 was okay, I might have enjoyed Prince of Persia for being campy, but I missed it, Splice got enough mixed reviews that I may check it out on DVD, I was sad that both the A Team and Jonah Hex reportedly sucked, Predators was awesome, Inception was brilliant, Salt was alright, and I have yet to see Scott Pilgrim or the Last Exorcism.
Oscars may move to Monday. Not that I see that it makes much of a difference. Either one is a week night, so guests don't drink much and leave early. I guess a Monday means less food prep time.
The 33 must see fall films I'm most excited for Tree of Life (please come out... please come out...), Black Swan, Blue Valentine, the Illusionist, Never Let Me Go (why isn't this coming out later?), The Tempest, Buried, possibly Let Me In. Hey! Where's Conviction?
Ha! I've already seen Tiny Furniture, I Love You Philip Morris and Marwencol. Marwencol is well worth seeing. Tiny Furniture is good if you're a recent college grad. I Love You Philip Morris is odd, but pretty good. A DVD wait maybe.
Oh, look. It's my life.
Test your geek knowledge.
Scrollover geeking: [Ed note - crap! With my new design I can't hide text anymore. Don't peek if you want to test your own abilities first.]
I get Star Wars/ Blade Runner & Battlestar Galactica/ Clockwork Orange & _____ & Tron/ Gattacca & ____ & _____ & _____/ _____ & Avatar & Matrix & _____ & _____
From here on out, I see Star Trek, Stargate, Buffy, ET, A different Star Trek?, TMNT, I thought that hawk thing was Serenity?, Jurassic Park, Metropolis. Ah no - the thing is from Quake. Oh shit - it's not Gattacca, it's Terminator. That's right. What - no Lost or Farscape?
Dresses - the good:
Jane Lynch, Lea Michele (although hon - that pose looks uncomfortable), Christina Hendricks, Tina Fey, Dianna Agorn, Jayma Mays (I think that is my favorite gown of the night), Kyra Sedgwick, Susan Sarandon, Besty Brandt (runner up), Heather Morris, Jennifer Carpenter, Maura Tierney.
The middling: Clare Danes looked fabulous, but her dress didn't quite move with her. It ended up looking like the martian girl in Mars Attacks. (And what was with how she said David Strathairn?) Also Emily Blunt, Glenn Close (scroll down) and Toni Collette. Rutina Wesley - great dress, bad hair. Jane Krakowski - without that hip ruffle, I would love it.
The bad: Julia Ormond, Emily Deschanel, Padma Lakshmi, Kristin Wiig, Anna Paquin, Heidi Klum, Kim Kardashian, Lauren Graham, Rita Wilson and Keri Russell. Naya Rivera and Mindy Kaling both came in from an 80s prom. Also - Rose Byrne's hair (bride of Frankenstein in the house!), and Julie Benz's makeup - I couldn't tell it was her in most pictures (gorgeous dress, though).
The godawful: January Jones.
[ETA: the charmingly debonair: Alan Cumming]
Thoughts on the show:
The opening number was fantastic. I loved it. Yay for having a host who comes from a skit background.
I realized part way through the show that every time Parenthood commercials came on, I kept confusing Peter Krause for Garret Dillahunt.
I thought Juliana Marguiles had a tattoo? Yup - she did, at least (scroll way down)
YEAH AARON PAUL!!! Tell me this isn't the best photo of the night. It was the one category I was really rooting for (other than best drama - *SNIFF*). Yay!
As for most of the wins...
Oh Community. Your sad product placement commercials keep reminding me of how overlooked you are.
Ricky Gervais - hilarious.
On that note - waiters? Don't offer beer to those who have been through rehab (like Matthew Perry).
I bet if Patrick Stewart had won, he wouldn't have babbled on about teachers incoherently. Thanks, David Strathairn.
Jewel? Wha.... oh. oh you sing really pretty.
Jimmy Fallon as Elton John/ Boys II Men/ Billie Joe Armstrong. So hilarious.
Clearly they thought Christina Hendricks would win, since Nathan Fillion was up there presenting for supporting actress in a drama.
Oh Michael Sheen. Someone needs to make a special Tony Blair award for you.
Friday, August 27, 2010
So I was reading Mick LaSalle's column this week and I came across this entry:
Dear Mick LaSalle: It may be saying something about how soft we have become as a country when 60-year-old tough guys like Sylvester Stallone, Bruce Willis and Mickey Rourke put our current generation of "action heroes" like Tom Cruise and Brad Pitt to shame. When the toughest action guys on screens today are an 80-year-old Clint Eastwood and a 64-year-old Stallone, how does that reflect on what America has become today?
Mike Spitzer, Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
Dear Mike Spitzer: It says nothing about America, except that there was a certain kind of action movie in vogue 25 to 35 years ago, and the vogue faded, and now all those tough guys who were in those movies are getting up in years. However, it may say something about the country that there are actually people looking at the relative toughness of movie actors to gauge the current state of American resolve. I can't for a moment conceive of anyone in 1940 saying or even thinking, "Well, Clark Gable looks a lot tougher these days than Doug Fairbanks looked 20 years ago, so heck, we must be in great shape." Please, let's just not worry too much about the country going soft - except in the head.
1 - they come at a point in the year when I'm missing awards shows.
And 2 - while I enjoy a lot of tv (read: watch too much), I don't feel any personal pride at stake for guessing the winners correctly, so I'm free to cheer on my dark horse candidates.
Let's take a gander at the nominees, shall we?
"Curb Your Enthusiasm"
Glee got the most nominations, but Modern Family seems to be where the smart money is. However, the couple of episodes I've seen have really not been funny. I'll root for Glee, the Office, or 30 Rock (I think only Glee has a chance of winning), and quietly mourn the overlooked Community and It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia.
Jim Parsons ("The Big Bang Theory")
Larry David ("Curb Your Enthusiasm")
Matthew Morrison ("Glee")
Tony Shalhoub ("Monk")
Steve Carell ("The Office")
Alec Baldwin ("30 Rock")
I haven't seen the Big Bang Theory, but from what I hear, Jim Parsons is fab and most likely to win. Fine by me - I think Alec Baldwin has been way over-recognized for 30 Rock and, really?, Joel McHale was the funniest man on a sitcom last year.
Lea Michele ("Glee")
Julia Louis-Dreyfus ("The New Adventures of Old Christine")
Edie Falco ("Nurse Jackie")
Amy Poehler ("Parks and Recreation")
Tina Fey ("30 Rock")
Toni Collette ("United States of Tara")
I honestly want Lea Michele to win this for that stunning rendition of Don't Rain on My Parade, which was one of the best moments of television in the last year. Otherwise, I'm fine with any of them. It should have been Portia De Rossi on Better Off Ted.
SUPPORTING COMEDY ACTOR
Chris Colfer ("Glee")
Neil Patrick Harris ("How I Met Your Mother")
Jesse Tyler Ferguson ("Modern Family")
Eric Stonestreet ("Modern Family")
Ty Burrell ("Modern Family")
Jon Cryer ("Two and a Half Men")
Please let the Modern Family guys split the votes and give Neil Patrick Harris his way-overlong due. However, it is criminal that Charlie Day was snubbed in this category.
SUPPORTING COMEDY ACTRESS
Jane Lynch ("Glee")
Julie Bowen ("Modern Family")
Sofia Vergara ("Modern Family")
Kristen Wiig ("Saturday Night Live")
Jane Krakowski ("30 Rock")
Holland Taylor ("Two and a Half Men")
"The Good Wife"
God - PLEASE not Mad Men. I'd be okay with Lost, Breaking Bad, Dexter, or True Blood. I'm really rooting for Lost. The finale was brilliant.
Bryan Cranston ("Breaking Bad")
Michael C. Hall ("Dexter")
Kyle Chandler ("Friday Night Lights")
Hugh Laurie ("House")
Matthew Fox ("Lost")
Jon Hamm ("Mad Men")
As glad as I am to see Matthew Fox recognized (the finale was my favorite Jack episode ever - words I never thought I'd say), he doesn't have a hope in hell. If Hugh Laurie were ever going to win it, it would be for the fantastic rehab two parter. Otherwise, Bryan Cranston and Michael C. Hall are both continually brilliant. And I'm a little sad Timothy Olyphant was overlooked. But I guess Kyle Chandler needed at least one nom.
Kyra Sedgwick ("The Closer")
Glenn Close ("Damages")
Connie Britton ("Friday Night Lights")
Julianna Margulies ("The Good Wife")
Mariska Hargitay ("Law & Order: Special Victims Unit")
January Jones ("Mad Men")
Apparently Julianna Margulies is going to win, and I don't care.
SUPPORTING DRAMA ACTOR
Aaron Paul ("Breaking Bad")
Martin Short ("Damages")
Terry O'Quinn ("Lost")
Michael Emerson ("Lost")
John Slattery ("Mad Men")
Andre Braugher ("Men of a Certain Age")
Aaron Paul. Hands down. First off - his work hasn't been recognized the way Bryan Cranston's has. And secondly - as brilliant as Terry O'Quinn and Michael Emerson both are, and really - they've been two of my favorites for the last few years - they've each won one, and I kind of don't want one to edge out the other. Is that weird?
Also - I really think Ryan Kwanten deserved a nomination for Season 2 of True Blood. He is SO COMMITTED to that character, and if he were any less good Jason would come off as terrible and false. I'm also a little sorry Nestor Carbonell didn't get in, but let's face it - LOST was spoiled for great supporting performances.
SUPPORTING DRAMA ACTRESS
Sharon Gless ("Burn Notice")
Rose Byrne ("Damages")
Archie Panjabi ("The Good Wife")
Christine Baranski ("The Good Wife")
Christina Hendricks ("Mad Men")
Elisabeth Moss ("Mad Men")
Awww - I'd really like Sharon Gless to win, but I don't think she will. I'll vote for Christina Hendricks, simply because she was on Firefly and she's pretty.
"The Special Relationship"
"You Don't Know Jack"
Haven't seen a single one of these. I really wanted to see the Special Relationship though. When was that on? I didn't hear anything about it.
"Return to Cranford"
Are there really only two nominees?
LEAD ACTRESS IN A MINISERIES OR MOVIE
Maggie Smith ("Capturing Mary")
Joan Allen ("Georgia O'Keeffe")
Judi Dench ("Return to Cranford")
Hope Davis ("The Special Relationship")
Claire Danes ("Temple Grandin")
I think this is Claire Danes' to lose. Claire Danes - WHY ARE YOU DOING EYELASH COMMERCIALS?!?
LEAD ACTOR IN A MINISERIES OR MOVIE
Jeff Bridges ("A Dog Year")
Ian McKellen ("The Prisoner")
Michael Sheen ("The Special Relationship")
Dennis Quaid ("The Special Relationship")
Al Pacino ("You Don't Know Jack")
Does Al Pacino only do good work on tv anymore? I'm voting for Michael Sheen because his Tony Blair was stupidly overlooked during The Queen's run.
SUPPORTING ACTRESS IN A MINISERIES OR MOVIE
Kathy Bates ("Alice")
Julia Ormond ("Temple Grandin")
Catherine O'Hara ("Temple Grandin")
Brenda Vaccaro ("You Don't Know Jack")
Susan Sarandon ("You Don't Know Jack")
I didn't know Susan Sarandon or Catherine O'Hara were in these. I'm going to vote for Kathy Bates though, because I love that her Queen of Hearts (which I have yet to see) is in with a bunch of Very Serious Contenders.
SUPPORTING ACTOR IN A MINISERIES OR MOVIE
Michael Gambon ("Emma")
Patrick Stewart ("Hamlet")
Jonathan Pryce ("Return To Cranford")
David Strathairn ("Temple Grandin")
John Goodman ("You Don't Know Jack")
Wow - what a great group of guys. Patrick Stewart!!! (If only because I'm sad Hamlet didn't get more recognition over here).
VARIETY, MUSIC, OR COMEDY SERIES
"The Colbert Report"
"The Daily Show With Jon Stewart"
"Real Time With Bill Maher"
"Saturday Night Live"
"The Tonight Show With Conan O'Brien"
I won't lie - I'd really like the Tonight Show to win as a big screw you to NBC's mismanagement. But the Daily Show is really the best thing around.
"The Amazing Race"
"Dancing With the Stars"
In other news, this is my new favorite review. It's for Takers. Choice quotes;
"Takers is the kind of movie where tough guys walk away from an explosion, in slow-motion, without looking behind them. But don't worry! It is also the kind of movie where a man leaps sideways, in slow-motion, while firing two guns at the same time! And the kind of movie where that man is Hayden Christensen!"
"Christensen plays A.J., who is a street-wise Ivy Leaguer, which means he has tattoos AND a stupid hat."
"What's that you say? Paul Walker and Hayden Christensen in the same movie? That's like having a movie with a plank of wood in it, and then also, in that same movie, having an identical plank of wood!"
Wednesday, August 25, 2010
Metropolis (1927, dir. Fritz Lang) Yay! Finally saw it!
The Day The Earth Stood Still (1951, dir. Robert Wise) Nope. I know Michael Rennie was ill, does that count?
Forbidden Planet (1956, dir. Fred M. Wilcox) Nope.
Planet Of The Apes (1968, dir. Franklin J. Schaffner) I've seen Stop the Planet of the Apes I Want to Get Off. I think that's good enough.
2001: A Space Odyssey (1968, dir. Stanley Kubrick) Oh my god I hated this.
Alien (1979, dir. Ridley Scott) I think I've seen all of Alien and Aliens at one point or another, but never in one sitting. I should do that.
Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back (1980, dir. Irvin Kerschner). Yup. Good stuff.
Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior (1981, dir. George Miller) Hmmm... I don't think so. I saw Beyond Thunderdome as a girl, but I'm not sure I ever saw the first two.
Star Trek II: The Wrath Of Khan (1982, dir. Nicholas Meyer) Nope.
Blade Runner (1982, dir. Ridley Scott) Nope. Must see.
E.T. (1982, dir. Steven Spielberg) HATE.
Tron (1982, dir. Steven Lisberger) I plan to see the new one. Is that good enough?
Back To The Future (1985, dir. Robert Zemeckis) I have seen this. And I remember next to nothing about it. I never got why it was so popular.
Brazil (1985, dir. Terry Gilliam) Hmmm... my least favorite Terry Gilliam movie (I've never seen Tideland). I like what it is trying to do, but by the time I saw it, 20 years after the fact, I just didn't feel like it was particularly exciting or subversive and the characters didn't really click with me.
RoboCop (1987, dir. Paul Verhoeven) Nope.
Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991, dir. James Cameron) Nope. This, however, is awesome.
Ghost In The Shell (1995, dir. Mamoru Oshii) Nope.
The Matrix (1999, dir. the Wachowskis) Of course. Love.
Primer (2004, dir. Shane Carruth) Ack. Must see.
The Incredibles (2004, dir. Brad Bird) Meh. It was fine, but I've never understood the slavish devotion.
Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind (2004, dir. Michel Gondry). Love.
Children Of Men (2006, dir. Alfonso Cuarón) Love.
Moon (2009, dir. Duncan Jones) Love love love! I'm including the io9 review below;
"Yes, we're putting three movies from the last couple years on this list, and there are a few other recent films that were strong candidates as well, including Wall-E, Avatar and The Dark Knight. As much as it's true that we're drowning in a sea of derivative garbage, as Hollywood tries to churn out as many cookie-cutter films and sequels as possible, some really original and clever films have sneaked through. Moon is both a throwback to old-school film-making (mostly practical effects, a single massive set that was built in its entirety and sealed up during filming) and a huge step forward in terms of using special effects in a clever, inobtrusive way. (The central trick, of having two Sam Rockwells, could not have been done without CG effects, and the DVD gives some insight into just how hard it was to pull off.) This movie manages to make the theme of corporate evil and the nature of selfhood, that pops up in so many films on this list, and make it totally fresh by throwing in a horrifying twist, in which Rockwell's character turns out to be disposable in the most literal sense. Well worth watching a second time, even if you saw it in theaters."
District 9 (2009, dir. Neill Blomkamp). Love.
Inception (2010, dir. Christopher Nolan). And Love.
13/25. I need to catch Primer.
Friday, August 20, 2010
The sad news was that I was also going to see AFI play that night. The shuttle bus I took to get there got stuck in traffic and I missed them. Entirely. (I complained to the bus company and got a voucher in case there's another concert I want to see down there. Better idea - play BOSTON bands! Not a freaking hour away). Ah well. I saw them twice last year. But still. It was still disappointing. They are one of my three favorite bands of all time. Maybe there'll be a Blaqk Audio show I can catch in the near future.
Also - instant streaming kills my productivity. Most recently, I've been watching Veronica Mars. At first, I wasn't sure why it had such a rabid following and thought it was just okay. And then somewhere about halfway through the first season I could not stop watching. ohmygod - SO ADDICTED.
~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~thar be spoilers ahead~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~
So. It all builds up to the big season finale, which I was desperately trying to get through before sushi making started last Wednesday, and I'm at the point where I am YELLING AT THE SCREEN. Because most of the second half of the season (on top of the murder mystery, which is done really well) is whether or not Veronica and Logan are going to get together, those crazy kids. And of course, the whole episode wraps up on a cliff hanger and we don't see who is at Veronica's front door.
So again. I put off my roommate for another five minutes to start watching season 2, because I have my priorities in order. And of course it's Logan and young love wins out and all is well. And then we made sushi and it was delicious.
The next day I sit down to watch the rest of the episode. The episode is told in flash back but it becomes rapidly apparent that Veronica is no longer with Logan, she's with... I've forgotten his name already. Duncan. That's right. Sorry. The boy is so devoid of any personality I tend to be distracted by shiny things in the room while he's on.
My problem with all of this is not that Veronica is with Duncan (or even that I got spoiled. I went online to lookup one of the songs in an episode - the show has great music, including an excellently placed garbage track - and found out that Logan and Veronica do not end up together. Ah well.) Characters can make stupid choices. Real people do it all the time.
The problem I have is that the creators of the show put a lot of time and effort into carefully building up this relationship and then they tear it down in the course of a little under 2 minutes. Veronica doesn't discuss the fact that Logan set the community pool on fire before breaking up with him? He's under trial for murder, he just found out his father is a murderer, and you can't cut him a little slack or have a discussion with him before dumping him? Not to mention you don't pipe up when your father throws him out of the house? You don't hear him out? This is not the intelligent, caring character we grew to love.
Maybe she was too excited about finding out that Duncan wasn't a blood relation. Maybe she sensed Logan would always do bone-headed rich boy pranks. But whatever the reason, we hardly even get her voice-over talking about it. It's tons and tons of build-up all about Logan, and then... complete gear shift. Dropped like a hot cake. I got whip lash.
It's a poor show running decision. They had done such a good job with character development in season 1, if Veronica had wanted to move on in season 2, then that same sort of growth and change would have been nice. Maybe given some progression I would actually care about Blandly McBeige she's dating.
Also, does anyone else think the writing for Wallace comes off as uncomfortably like a white guy trying to write urban at times?
In other news, the box office is looking to be particularly tricky this week. Estimates are ALL over the map. I have to say - I love such a wide open weekend. When everyone agrees on the top 5 slots and there are no surprises to mull over - it gets boring. I love that people are really debating over the chances of about 5 new releases (Vampires Suck, Piranha 3-D, Nanny McPhee, Lottery Ticket, the Switch). The Expendables staying in the top spot (despite the biggest percentage drop of the week) seems like the only sure bet.
Can I mention I weep for America a little bit when a 0% reviewed film could have a chance at being the top film? Damn you, Wednesday receipts. After the clever marketing, I hope Piranha 3-D does better.
And finally, I just realized today that I have been confusing Mila Kunis and Rachel Bilson for years.
Sunday, August 15, 2010
I had a chance to see The Complete Metropolis at The Brattle last week. Metropolis hasn't been seen in its complete form since its premiere due to studio editing. The missing footage was assumed to be lost (much like the Magnificent Ambersons). But, in 2008, 25 minutes of the missing footage was found in Buenos Aires and has been cut in to the film that most people know. (There's a good article on the restoration here.)
Now, I had actually never seen Metropolis, so I can't say whether I would have noticed a much more coherent plot or tonal changes with the new footage. What is important to note is that there are still some scenes missing (the missing action is described on inter-title cards created from film notes). Furthermore, the new footage is a different aspect ratio and comes from a terrible print. The film is grainy and dirty and therefore you can easily tell when you are watching one of the 'new' scenes. While it is great to see the film in its near-entirety, these sections do pull you out of the action a bit and remind you that your are watching a restored piece of film history.
The grainy sections are especially easy to notice because so much of the rest of the film is beautifully shot and well preserved. Metropolis is known for its ambitious visuals and it doesn't disappoint. The lighting in certain scenes was especially stunning and certainly of a much higher quality than most of the films we see today.
Tonally, I found the film to be wildly variable. There are some scenes which are high melodrama and seem to be a holdover from stage acting. These scenes elicited a lot of snickering from the audience I was in. They were particularly jarring because they were juxtaposed with much more naturalistic, subtle acting which holds up well for modern tastes.
The only other piece which I don't feel held up well was the message of the film, which is repeated ad nauseum. I kept picturing the Animaniacs using a sledgehammer on the audience every time it was repeated. Okay, okay! We get it already!
I was surprised, based on my cultural knowledge of the film, that it wasn't more sci-fi. I had thought the film dealt with a city of androids and humans, when there is in fact just one android in the story. That wasn't disappointing, though, since Brigitte Helm throws herself into the role. (She really was the best part of the film, other than the cinematography).
Overall, it is well worth seeing and it (mostly) stands the test of time as a classic. Visually, it is stunning, wildly original and a work of art.
4.5 out of 5 stars
Thursday, August 12, 2010
Wednesday, August 11, 2010
Monday, August 9, 2010
So, remember how I was talking about long delays for films being released? I recently saw the trailer for Colin Fitz Lives! and thought it looked interesting. Yeah, it turns out it premiered at Sundance in 1997. It currently available On Demand. (Not quite as long, but a film due to premiere the week after 9/11 finally showed up on tv).
Step Up 3-D. Is it wrong that I kind of want to see this? I figure it must be like Avatar; crap story but fun to watch. (2 articles about the film; a leap forward for musicals and an interview with the director). Plus - bonus Home and Away connection!
Is it wrong that these make me excited for Captain America? My favorite one.
*sigh* I'm going to miss Doc Jensen. I mean, I miss Lost more....
Speaking of which.... (although I'd like to go on record here and say that I was a huge fan of how it all wrapped up and the series as a whole. Although it always could have used more Desmond. Yes, I'm a big fan of his post S2 finale essay (#4).)
I love that they picked the transbay terminal design with the park on top. It is going to be gorgeous. I liked one of the other tower designs better, but at least we won't end up with the hideous red orange spiky thing.
Modern rom-coms are neither.
Fun trailers here. I really like the one for Amer.
Wooooo Sam Rockwell! Ummm, maybe? Please don't let this be another Gentleman Broncos.
Cillian Murphy in talks for I'm.mortal. Does this mean I have to go see something with Justin Timberlake in it?
Lipless zombie girl!
No. No, no, NO. I'm sorry, but if she doesn't "possess a visible understanding of what it means to be homeless, penniless, strung out, and dying of a terrifying disease" then she doesn't work as Mimi.
Hey, it's me.
Friday, August 6, 2010
That tends to always be a true statement, but I'm noticing it particularly at the moment, given that everyone and their mother is out touring, given the bad economy.
Upcoming shows in Boston include Janelle Monae, Jimmy Eat World, Flyleaf, Scissor Sisters, Ra Ra Riot, Evelyn Evelyn at the IG Noble awards, and Cirque du Soliel's new show. And so on and so forth.
See - I want the money for noble purposes! To give it away to artists!
I tried my best to get tickets to the new production of Angels in America at the Signature Theatre Company but all the dates till December sold out in about an hour and a half flat (I was trying to load the webpage that whole time). It's probably a good thing for my budget, but wildly disappointing otherwise.
I'm going to have half an hour Sunday evening to make it to the Brattle for the only showing of the restored Metropolis I'm free for. Add to that screenings of Agora, I am Love, Cache, The Lives of Others, Farewell, the noir double Deature, 4 months 3 weeks and 2 days, wanting to see Inception in IMAX, plus Animal Kingdom and Scott Pilgrim opening this weekend and..... I'm totally not going to catch all of these.
Thursday, August 5, 2010
The Thin Red Line
God, I love Terrence Malick. I've written before about how much I love the New World, and this one is just as good.
It astounds me that the dialogue surrounding the '98 Oscars was Saving Private Ryan vs. Shakespeare in Love. It clearly should have been The Thin Red Line vs. Shakespeare in Love. The Thin Red Line is altogether a more immersing, human, and haunting look at a soldier's experience in war.
Malick has an unbelievable gift for vignettes and he uses this technique to highlight a variety of soldier's stories. He shows an incredible range of experience, despite only focusing on one squadron and one battle.
Also, much like in the New World, he displays his incredible eye for capturing natural settings. He gazes at the world around him and lets the audience see what he feels.
(On this note - there is a brief, but incredible shot, of a Papuan or Tawny Frogmouth, the best bird EVER. Well done, sir.)
(See also this picture. And this one.)
Ahem. The acting is first rate all around, the battles are well shot and exhausting, and I found it more affecting than nearly any other war film I've seen.
5 out of 5 stars
Seriously, it is not possible not to watch this film and not fall in love with it. I had been craving it for a bit, and wanted my roommate to see it as well. Unfortunately, I brought up the Princess Bride as a reference, because who doesn't love the Princess Bride? Her, it turns out.
Anyways, I luckily discovered that Mark Strong is one of her favorite actors, so I was able to convince her to see it that way. Of course, she fell in love with it, too.
Probably the easiest description of the film is that it is like the Princess Bride, but for those averse to that particular fairytale, here goes. Stardust is about a boy who journeys into a magical kingdom to retrieve a fallen star in order to win the hand of the girl he is in love with and the star turns out to be Claire Danes. Also there are witches. And gay pirates. And one of the best sword fights, EVER. And since I am a total sucker for any movie with swashbuckling in it, I love this film.
Stardust is a fairytale, a coming of age story, and one of the best romances I've seen. (One of the few romances I enjoy without a tragic ending, actually.) There is enough of a Grimm's fairytale vibe to keep it from becoming sugary-sweet. Anyways, check it out. I'm certain you'll fall in love with it, too.
(Hey! It's on my top 100 films of the decade list!)
5 out of 5 stars
Seriously fun. One of the best comic book adaptations around, it is ridiculous, and over the top, and AWESOME. James McAvoy makes a great protagonist, Angelina Jolie is at her action figure best as a nearly mute assassin, and it might be my favorite role ever for Morgan Freeman.
(Also a top 100 honorable mention)
4 out of 5 stars
Kiss Kiss Bang Bang
Caught this again as a part of the Brattle's "best of the oughts" series. Robert Downey Jr. mostly does an excellent job, but I had forgotten about his character's casual homophobia and slight misogynistic tendencies, which I found a little disturbing. Val Kilmer is really good, though, and while I've never been a big fan of his, I'm glad he got a meaty part like this.
Overall, it's a slick caper romp through LA, and diverting enough. I happen to like the 4th-wall-breaking narration, mostly because Robert Downey Jr. is charming, but I also know it doesn't work for everybody.
3 out of 5 stars
Okay - maybe it was a bad idea to watch this right so soon after Wanted, which is fantastical. Salt is much more reality based and very cool for that, but not quite as thrilling or fun. Obviously, I love Angelina Jolie, and I think she does a great job here. However, the plot is pretty obvious. Salt (Jolie) works for the CIA. One day, a Russian spy comes in to defect and names her as a Russian mole. She goes on the run to try to clear her name and protect her family (I have to insert here that her husband is an arachnologist. An arachnologist as a major character in a summer blockbuster. AWESOME.)
Much of the film then becomes great action sequences mixed up with the intrigue of trying to figure out Salt's loyalties. The problem here is that every twist of the plot is really obvious. You can see each one coming from two miles away. Now, I still enjoy watching Angie and she carries the film beautifully. There just wasn't the tension of trying to figure anything out.
Additionally, Liev Schreiber is great. And I love the final fight scene, when Salt fights a man and they are both in white oxford shirts. I thought it was a nice nod to the fact that Salt was originally scripted to be a man.
3.5 out of 5 stars
28 Days Later
I went to a midnight screening of this at the Coolidge. I had forgotten how much I love this movie. It's so clever, so well directed. The pacing is perfect. The shots of a deserted London are still haunting (and completely astounding - I still can't get over the fact that they managed to film that). The music is perfect. The actors are perfect.
For those who have no idea what the film is about, a coma survivor wakes up 28 days into viral outbreak which has devastated the UK and possibly the entire world. Basically, it's a zombie movie. The virus turns those infected into brain-dead killing machines, and a single bite is enough to infect others. But 28 Days Later was really clever. Instead of having the normal, shuffling type of zombies (seen here), in this film they move like "rabid, caffeinated jackals" [EW], which is terrifying.
But it isn't constant scares, or all jump scares of zombies coming out of nowhere. There are psychological scares and philosophizing and a lot of character development and all around it is just really well crafted. And that's why it is also on my top 100 films of the decade.
Also - I did not know this, but about a month after the film came out, they added an alternate ending after the credits. I don't like it as much as the actual ending, but just so you know...
5 out of 5 stars.
The Shadow in the North
Oh my god. Where to begin? This was godawful. My roommate and I had watched The Ruby in the Smoke (the first Sally Lockheart mystery), and while it wasn't great (it seemed that they were jumping from plot point to plot point to wrap it all up in an hour and a half), it was at least entertaining enough that we decided to watch the sequel. The Shadow in the North, however, was baffling from the get-go. We were convinced that there had been a book in between the two that hadn't been filmed and that was why we were so lost, but we were wrong. This is the second book in the series - there is just a several year gap between the two stories and the movie doesn't do a very good job of trumpeting that fact.
Again, the plotting races along because the whole shebang has only an hour and a half to wrap up, which means that some characters are hardly given any time for developments, while others seem to be having vicious, bi-polar mood swings. Finally - and here there be spoilers - they kill off the main guy! Sally finally sleeps with the guys she's in love with - after spending the whole movie distancing herself from him and arguing with him, of course - and then he dies that same night! It was like a teen horror film came in to espouse the dangers of pre-marital sex. My roommate spent the next 15 minutes convinced it was all a dream, because clearly that hadn't just happened. Not to mention, Sally cries more over her dog's death than her fiance's!
Anyways, the whole thing is completely ridiculous, the plot is barely understandable, and a lot of actors I normally enjoy were completely wasted. It is unsurprising that the next 2 Sally Lockheart mysteries were never filmed.
1 out of 5 stars