Archive for the 'movies' Category

Mother’s History of Birds

My col­league and friend Elliott Malkin just fin­ished his short sub­ject doc­u­men­tary, Mother’s His­to­ry of Birds, the third film in his fam­i­ly tril­o­gy. In it, he tells the sto­ry of his moth­er through her pet birds. (I love Roberta’s taste in eyewear.)

Also, if you haven’t seen it, check out his home movie recon­struc­tions.



From A.O. Scott’s review:

Perse­po­lis” is a sim­ple sto­ry told by sim­ple means. Like Mar­jane Satrapi’s book, on which it is based, the film, direct­ed by Ms. Satrapi and Vin­cent Paron­naud, con­sists essen­tial­ly of a series of mono­chrome draw­ings, their bold black lines washed with nuances of gray. The pic­tures are arranged into the chron­i­cle of a young girl’s com­ing of age in dif­fi­cult times, a tale that unfolds with such grace, intel­li­gence and charm that you almost take the won­drous aspects of its exe­cu­tion for granted.

I loved Perse­po­lis… the Iran­ian Rev­o­lu­tion was a curi­ous thing to study, in col­lege. Through­out the mid­dle part of the last cen­tu­ry, with the Cold War rag­ing, the expec­ta­tion for “Rev­o­lu­tion” was near­ly always a marx­ist con­cern. Even lit­tle Marjane’s rel­a­tives in Perse­po­lis expect­ed the Pro­le­tari­at to pre­vail. What was new and unique in Iran was the rise of a reac­tionary, reli­gious author­i­ty – that no one in the West, (and also the lib­er­al elite in Iran), saw coming…

But as inter­est­ing as the pol­i­tics in the film are, this is still pri­mar­i­ly the sto­ry of a young girl, and her per­son­al jour­ney. I loved Ms. Satrapi’s depic­tion of her anar­chist friends in Vien­na, (where she attend­ed French board­ing school). These Euro­peans embraced her in part because of her expe­ri­ence with rev­o­lu­tion and war, but they had no clue about the per­son­al cost of this expe­ri­ence. Teenaged Mar­jane strug­gles with her iden­ti­ty, while they laugh behind her back. And in the end, we’re not quite sure that she comes out on top.

Perse­po­lis is a jour­ney worth tak­ing, and the ani­ma­tion real­ly is wonderful.

HD Trail­er »

Halloween 2007

In 3D!

We cel­e­brat­ed Hal­loween a lit­tle dif­fer­ent this year – by watch­ing Tim Bur­ton’s The Night­mare Before Christ­mas in 3D. Thanks to Bec­ca for the idea, and for get­ting the tickets.

I haven’t seen this movie since it came out almost 15 years ago, but it real­ly is an ani­ma­tion clas­sic. The stop motion method looks just as cut­ting-edge and inspir­ing as any­thing done by Pixar in the past few years, and I love the many homages to Beetle­juice and oth­er Bur­ton films, (details here). [from iPhone]

We saw it at the Pavil­ion Park Slope, but I think that it is up in oth­er the­aters around the city this week. More pho­tos below the fold.

Con­tin­ue read­ing ‘Hal­loween 2007’


It’s been near­ly 24-hours since I relaunched this weblog, and the feed­back has been encour­ag­ing. Thanks to every­one who emailed or left a comment.

I talked last night about my desire to use a typo­graph­i­cal grid for this design, but I also knew that this had the poten­tial to look quite anti­sep­tic and ster­ile. I thought of the com­ment that David Car­son makes in the Hel­veti­ca film, as he points to the word “caf­feinat­ed” that has been print­ed out in Hel­veti­ca Black and hung on the wall next to oth­er iden­ti­cal look­ing words: “This doesn’t say ‘caf­feinat­ed’!” To avoid the trap, I need­ed to work in a design ele­ment that would make things a lit­tle more interesting.

Con­tin­ue read­ing ‘Splat!’

No Reservations”

Went to the Com­mon today to see a total chick flick: No Reser­va­tions [NY Times Review], star­ring Cather­ine Zeta-Jones and Aaron Eck­hart. I fig­ured, hey, I’ve got lots of expired AMC The­aters gift cer­tifi­cates sit­ting around that have to be accept­ed in Mass­a­chu­setts by law, and I’ve got time… why not?

This film is a qui­et, under­stat­ed emo­tion­al tri­umph. Sure, we all love to watch Mrs. Dou­glas mope around the screen in a cute Chef’s out­fit, and who doesn’t like Aaron Eck­hart every moment he’s on screen? The dude made Thank You for Smok­ing watch­able, so he has talent.

But I was real­ly sur­prised by the down­beat, slow pace of the film. Abi­gail Bres­lin breaks your heart, as a recent­ly orphaned pre-tween forced to move in with her emo­tion­al­ly imma­ture Man­hat­tan­ite Aunt. Still, she finds the ener­gy to scheme and guilt her stunt­ed Aunt into falling in love with the goofy sous-chef that wears CrocsDid I men­tion that Eck­hart wears freak­ing Crocs in this film?

But, I real­ly focused on lit­tle Bres­lin – every­one knows her from the absurd, hacky Lit­tle Miss Sun­shine – but that’s too bad. She’s odd­ly affect­ing in this film, and her char­ac­ter is much more root­ed in reality.


The Omen

666Rat­ing: B+

So yea, I went to the movies on 6/6/06, to see the remake of The Omen. I was sur­prised to find the the­ater packed on a Tues­day night, but the full house added to the suspense.

Here’s my quick review: ready?

  • The sto­ry takes its time to devel­op, but its not “slow”.
  • The pro­duc­tion design was incred­i­ble, with on-loca­tion shoot­ing in Italy, Lon­don, and Jerusalem.
  • Julia Stiles is one of the bet­ter actress­es of her gen­er­a­tion, and it was inter­est­ing to see her play a wife and mother.
  • Why is the Roman Catholic hier­ar­chy always por­trayed as evil?
  • Kids are creepy.
  • Mia Far­row is creepy.
  • Why are hor­ror films all edit­ed like The Ring now?

The Constant Gardener

Rat­ing: A+

We had the oppor­tu­ni­ty to see The Con­stant Gar­den­er (meta­crit­ic) a cou­ple of weeks ago, and I neglect­ed to post about it.

I’ve nev­er read a John le Carre nov­el — I remem­ber him say­ing on Fresh Air that he was a for­mer British intel­li­gence offi­cer, so I nat­u­ral­ly assumed that his pol­i­tics were more aligned with Tom Clan­cy’s, than Amnesty Inter­na­tion­al. Now, I’m the kind of Lib­er­al who squirms around rad­i­cal activist-types, so when we were greet­ed at the cin­e­ma door by Amnesty rep­re­sen­ta­tives with their pam­phlets and peti­tions, I won­dered just what kind of action pic this was. I ducked the do-good­ers, and took a seat.

It was my impres­sion that the film is being mar­ket­ed as a Ralph Fiennes action pic, (see poster). And while there cer­tain­ly is a lot of sus­pense, the true heart of the film lies with Rachel Weisz’s char­ac­ter — the rad­i­cal activist. The film pro­vides a win­dow into an Africa that we often hear about, but rarely see… sure, the film is indig­nant about cor­rupt local offi­cials, war­fare, dis­ease, and neglect­ful (or antipa­thet­ic) West­ern pow­ers. But, it also shows African peo­ple who are gen­er­ous in spir­it, and wor­thy of a bet­ter col­lec­tive future.

Liquid Television

Check out the trail­er for the live-action film of Aeon Flux. It does­n’t look that promis­ing, to be honest…

Char­l­ize Theron has a snap­py black hair cut, but her out­fit looks more PG-13 than the dom­i­na­trix-inspired garb Aeon wore in the MTV ani­mat­ed series.

Ah well. If they real­ly want­ed to attract 13-year old boys, (and me), they’d do it right, and take the R rating…


Mar­ci was in town for a job inter­view at Har­vard, so we took wednes­day off from work, and head­ed for the beach in Gloucester.

not crowded
So much less crowded on weekdays…


Having just finished Tipping Point, I dug into a couple
hundred pages of Malcolm Gladwell’s new book, Blink


…and, we enjoyed a big jug of homemade Sangria.

Ebert & Roeper Podcast

Seems like Apple’s deal with Dis­ney to lever­age con­tent into Pod­casts is building—I saw today that you can sub­scribe to the Ebert & Roeper (iTunes link) podcast.

C’mon NPR, let’s get Fresh Air and On Point on board.

John Doe Mexican

I received a mes­sage from our friend Kar­la today, about what her boyfriend Steve is up to this sum­mer. He’s a pub­lic-school teacher, and is cur­rent­ly work­ing to pro­duce a doc­u­men­tary titled John Doe: Mex­i­can, on bor­der crossers in the Southwest.

Sounds like an inter­est­ing project, which he will be blog­ging about:

John Doe Mex­i­can is an hour-long doc­u­men­tary that cap­tures the strug­gle to val­ue human life, even in death.

The dead have no names here. For Mex­i­can bor­der crossers, South­ern Ari­zon­a’s Sono­ran desert is an unfor­giv­ing and, all too often, mur­der­ous land­scape. John Doe Mex­i­can fol­lows a hand­ful of peo­ple who have made it their busi­ness to end these desert deaths and to name John Doe.

Kar­la said that he is look­ing for feed­back and ques­tions, so feel free to leave a com­ment on his blog.


Pres­ley was busy study­ing tonight (damn MBA school), so I fig­ured I’d check out a movie. But what to see? An Oscar win­ner? Avi­a­tor? Mil­lion Dol­lar Baby? nah.

Since I enjoy read­ing reli­gious texts, I thought I’d check out the lat­est Keanu movie, Con­stan­tine. From the trail­er, I thought it looked cheesy, but chock full of demons, and the occult… fun on a wednes­day night, right?

Well, yea… it was fun. Despite what the New York­er might think:

Con­stan­tine turns Catholic doc­trine, rit­u­al, and icono­graph into schlock… Imag­ine Jew­ish ver­sion of the spec­ta­cle–Angel, star­ring Vin Diesel, in which God’s mes­sen­ger stays Abra­ham’s hand in mid-sac­ri­fice and then earns His approval by low­er­ing him­self into cursed pharaon­ic tombs with tied-togeth­er prayer shawls. In a Hin­du ver­sion–Vish­nu, with Nico­las Cage–Shiva unleash­es his snakes on the out­skirts of Pough­keep­sie and starts a war between truck dri­vers and apple pickers.

Oh, you’re no fun Mr. Denby…

Then again, my par­tic­u­lar reli­gious inter­ests tend toward “hereti­cal” Chris­t­ian texts, such as the Gnos­tic gospels, so I sup­pose I’m not as con­cerned about pro­tect­ing the Faith.

If Con­stan­tine whets your appetite for all things dev­il­ish, I’d rec­om­mend read­ing Elaine Pagels’ mono­graph, The Ori­gin of Satan… oh, and it’s noth­ing like the movie.

Pauly Shore is Dead

Pauly & Snoop, in a promotional photo.

Pauly Shore is in Boston this week­end, to show and pro­mote his film, Pauly Shore is Dead, at the Coolidge, and we braved the 2 degree-cold to wait in line for the mid­night show­ing last night. Dur­ing a Q&A before the show­ing, Pauly spoke very elo­quent­ly about the project, which he wrote, direct­ed, pro­duced and financed (from his stand-up earnings).

I think we came for the kitsch val­ue of see­ing this fall­en icon from our youth — the Wiez… but left hav­ing thor­ough­ly enjoyed the film, for what it was.

Ordi­nar­i­ly, movies that fea­ture numer­ous cameos are quite a drag to watch… (Bruce Willis in Ocean’s Twelve comes to mind). But, not only does Pauly man­age to coup some real­ly fun­ny peo­ple, he also wedges them into his plot. Rico Suave sell­ing oranges on the side of the high­way, Todd Bridges play­ing the part of spir­i­tu­al men­tor and cell­mate, Tom Size­more & Michael Mad­sen with young girls, and Kurt Loder play­ing “diva” dur­ing his MTV News updates… all of these are pret­ty funny.

Go see Pauly & the film, tonight at the Coolidge, 12am. And, the DVD comes out on tues­day, jan­u­ary 25.

The Incredibles

ElastigirlI was incred­i­bly impressed with The Incred­i­bles, despite my well-known aver­sion to ani­mat­ed kid­die-fare. I nev­er saw the Toy Sto­ries, and Find­ing Nemo’s sto­ry was stale and Albert Brooks was insuf­fer­able, but this film is dif­fer­ent — it’s fun­ny, unex­pect­ed, and mul­ti-lay­ered. It’s part James Bond, part Spy Kids (nev­er saw those either), and part Rocky V — that is, what hap­pens after the glo­ry days have passed you by. The good news is, this film is noth­ing like Rocky V.

What can I say? I’m a suck­ah for Hol­ly Hunter and her grav­el­ly Geor­gia drawl. For a con­trast to her moth­er­ly warmth in this film, go rent Crash… talk about range.

Fahrenheit 9/11 & the year of the angry Liberal

Fahrenheit 9/11We went to see Fahren­heit 9/11 at the Fen­way 13 on Sat­ur­day night, and I became uneasy before the movie, because there were rent-a-cops milling about and check­ing bags. Were they expect­ing vio­lence? Like a mod­ern day Out­siders, with mem­bers clash­ing with the Young Republicans?

There has been much made of Michael Moore, and the con­tro­ver­sy sur­round­ing whether he can cor­rect­ly claim the title of doc­u­men­tar­i­an. On the Today show, pseu­do-jour­nal­ist Matt Lauer nit­picked and argued with Moore as if he were host of Fox and Friends. Truth is, the jour­nal­ists who think Moore is utter­ly ruinous, (Gwen Ifill comes to mind), are mak­ing this judg­ment from a pret­ty skewed, “elite” frame of reference.

It is, after all, a movie, which intends to bring impor­tant infor­ma­tion to the mass­es, wrapped in an enter­tain­ing pack­age. It is not jour­nal­ism, and I am fine with not call­ing the film a “doc­u­men­tary”. Let’s call it Op/Ed.

Moore is shame­less, manip­u­la­tive, and yes, he has an opin­ion. But I sim­ply refuse to hold him to a high­er stan­dard than I do Rush Lim­baugh, Sean Han­ni­ty, and Ann Coul­ter. He makes me laugh, he makes me sick, and he presents a point of view that is total­ly amer­i­can.

Oth­er reactions:

The Prisoner of Azkaban

'Hold me, Harry...'Review: A+

Yes, we attend­ed last night’s show­ing of Har­ry Pot­ter and the Pris­on­er of Azk­a­ban, at 12:01am. And, despite some sug­ges­tions from my work mates, I did not play dress-up.

My reac­tions and excite­ment after see­ing the 3rd install­ment on the big screen, direct­ly par­al­lels what I felt a few years ago when I dug into the 3rd Pot­ter bookAzk­a­ban is where the series takes a much dark­er turn. The Demen­tors are fright­en­ing in the film, though the new direc­tor Alfon­so Cuar?n devotes far more ener­gy to stok­ing fear of Sir­ius Black, than of the prison and it’s soul-suck­ing guards.

Over­all, Cuar?n’s vision is a breath of fresh air — the film is scari­er than Chris Colum­bus’s two films, (it’s a mys­tery to me how films like this man­age to receive a PG-rat­ing), but it’s bal­anced with a few whim­si­cal moments cour­tesy the Whomp­ing Wil­low, and by Michael Gam­bon’s quirky take on Dumbledore.

How long do I have to wait for the Gob­let of Fire?

UPDATE: Capn saw it last night too

Battle Royale

whoaBat­tle Royale has one of the best plot lines (and fan fol­low­ing):

Ninth grade stu­dents are tak­en to a small iso­lat­ed island with a map, food and var­i­ous arms. They have to fight each oth­er three days long until the last one remains and are forced to wear a spe­cial col­lar which will explode when they break a rule.

The Japan­ese are an absolute­ly amaz­ing people.

X‑mas in Buffalo

Ornament on the familial X-mas tree

Ornament on the familial X‑mas tree

Macy and Jeremy at Spot Coffee, Elmwood Ave.

Macy and Jeremy at Spot Coffee, Elmwood Ave

Exhibit at the Albright-Knox Art Gallery

Exhibit at the Albright-Knox Art Gallery

Con­tin­ue read­ing ‘X‑mas in Buffalo’

Best of 2003

Well, I’m late with my year­ly round-up. I’ve enjoyed read­ing what oth­er weblog­gers have writ­ten on 2003, and hope­ful­ly I’ve got some­thing to offer. Here goes:


Yeah Yeah YeahsI won’t bore you with my the­o­ries of cor­re­la­tion between poor eco­nom­ic prospects and qual­i­ty rock music—suffice to say, 2003 was a lousy year to look for work, but it was anoth­er excel­lent year for rock. With­out any dom­i­nant “ism” (e.g., Alter­na­tive, Rap Met­al, etc.) defin­ing what was cool, small­er bands were giv­en the chance to experiment.

  • Stel­las­tar, Stel­las­tar —The 80s are back, and I’m thank­ful for it. But to dis­miss Stel­las­tar as a Goth­ic throw­back would be a crime— Shawn Christensen’s voice is more a post-punk David Byrne, (and I love basist Aman­da Tannen’s back­up vocals). My Coco is a great tune.
  • Blur, Think Tank —Ok, enough New York bands… Let’s talk about Blur. With their sem­i­nal gui­tarist Gra­ham Cox­on gone, and the Goril­laz side project behind him, Damon Albarn and crew turned out some­thing no one expected—a melod­ic, mea­sured, mature album, with some of the best album art by Banksy that I’ve seen. I miss the mod days of Mod­ern Life, but this was a fit­ting evolution.


Lost in TranslationSum­mer movies still baf­fle me—I nev­er saw The Hulk or X‑Men 2—but there were a few inter­est­ing films sprin­kled amongst the usu­al trash this past year. There were so many I missed this year, but here are a few worth considering:

  • Lost in Trans­la­tion—I start­ed a new job this year, and I work close­ly with a Japan­ese girl, whose Eng­lish skills are… well, lim­it­ed. So, this film was my favorite in 2003. I was rolling on the Cin­e­ma floor laugh­ing dur­ing the “why do they switch their Ls and Rs” con­ver­sa­tion. I’d mar­ry Scar­lett Johans­son tomorrow.
  • In Amer­i­ca—Jim Sheridan’s semi-auto­bio sto­ry of an Irish fam­i­ly mov­ing to New York after the death of their son, was about as sweet and mag­i­cal an expe­ri­ence as is pos­si­ble at the movies. I hadn’t expect­ed it to be so emo­tion­al­ly heavy, but there is redemp­tion in the end.
  • Pirates of the Caribbean—John­ny Depp as a pirate and Orlan­do Bloom with a dread­ful mous­tache. What’s not to love?
  • Angels in Amer­i­ca—I’ve nev­er seen the play, but this 2‑part HBO movie was exhil­a­rat­ing, inven­tive, and gut-wrench­ing. This film tack­les the big ques­tions of faith, love and identity.
  • Kill Bill—Uma and Quentin were back in 2003, and despite rumors that Kill Bill was going to suck, I real­ly enjoyed watch­ing Uma slice and dice her way through her address­book. Part II is com­ing in 2004, so maybe we’ll find out who the hell Bill is anyway.


Howard DeanFor those of you in late-pri­ma­ry states who might not be pay­ing atten­tion, there’s a pres­i­den­tial cam­paign under­way. Nev­er in my life­time have the stakes been so high—2003 showed us ter­ror­ism, pre­emp­tive war, tax cuts, bud­get deficits, job loss, and gay mar­riage (one pos­i­tive, at least).

  • Howard Dean—Not only has Howard Dean sin­gle-hand­ed­ly hand­ed the Democ­rats their balls back, he’s re-writ­ten the cam­paign hand­book and made blog­ging an impor­tant tool in reach­ing the Grass Roots. Sil­ly estab­lish­ment pun­dits are still dis­miss­ing him as the fla­vor-of-the-week (and weak), but I think he’s going to put up one hell of a fight, and he’ll be walk­ing and talk­ing a lot more like a tra­di­tion­al can­di­date after the primary.
  • Noth­ing else good hap­pened in 2003. sorry!

Thanksgiving Prefix

We’re await­ing com­pa­ny for the hol­i­day– Pres­ley’s mom, mom’s boyfriend Marc, and sis­ter Kel­ly are join­ing us in a prop­er New Eng­land Thanksgiving.

The pump­kin and corn breads smell won­der­ful, the turkey is still thaw­ing, and we picked out a few nice wines to go with din­ner. Ok, so maybe the Puri­tans did­n’t drink French wine– or wine at all– but I’m stick­ing to the “prop­er New Eng­land Thanksgiving”.

The fun­ni­est part (to me) was that our 1‑month old Sears Ken­more refrig­er­a­tor died yes­ter­day– luck­i­ly we were able to shut­tle off var­i­ous bits to neigh­bors’ fridges, and get a repair­man to the apart­ment today. It’s not going to be Pieces of April (which inci­den­tal­ly is real­ly quite good, and you should go see it).

Larry got it Right in Mystic River

salonlogo.gifAn open let­ter to the author of an oth­er­wise good review of Mys­tic Riv­er in Salon:

Hel­lo Ms. Zacharek,

I did enjoy your review of Mys­tic Riv­er, and am look­ing for­ward to see­ing it this week­end. I espe­cial­ly enjoyed your obser­va­tions on con­cep­tions of neigh­bor­hood, and on the film’s sense of place.

While it’s true that Boston’s many neigh­bor­hoods are more self-con­tained than most cities’, I think it’s a leap to assume that this clan­nish­ness is total. It’s equal­ly true to argue that all of Boston is insu­lat­ed from oth­er parts of the coun­try. There is a dis­tinct com­mon Boston cul­ture, which includes things like lan­guage, val­ues, and tra­di­tions (red sox).

And while there may be an evi­dent us vs. them dynam­ic between cer­tain groups in the city, there is always a cir­cling of the wag­ons when Boston is fac­ing out­ward to the rest of the coun­try. So there must be more to this place than the sum of its parts.

Which leads me to ask you about this:

His part­ner is played by Lau­rence Fish­burne, who was­n’t told, unfor­tu­nate­ly, that black peo­ple in Boston don’t speak with a Boston accent.

I know it’s a minor bone to pick, but what expe­ri­ence or knowl­edge did you use as basis for that com­ment? An assump­tion that only Irish-Bosto­ni­ans drop their Rs and As? Michael Dukakis cer­tain­ly would debunk that statement.

Vis­it an ele­men­tary school in Chi­na­town, and you’ll see the chil­dren of Chi­nese immi­grants say­ing cah and pahk, just like many of their teach­ers. Maybe not to the exag­ger­at­ed degree that you’d find on the South Shore or in the Kennedy fam­i­ly, but it’s there.

Would you sim­i­lar­ly argue that blacks born and edu­cat­ed in Chica­go don’t speak with a Great Lakes Mid-West accent?

The Boston accent orig­i­nat­ed in East Anglia, when the first Eng­lish colonists came from. It’s been refined and extend­ed by a immi­grant groups of all kinds (not to men­tion a few of us trans­plants from oth­er parts of the coun­try). I think there is a mis­tak­en assump­tion here, and I’d hate for non-Bosto­ni­ans to get the wrong idea when watch­ing this film.


Now, I’m not a native Boston­ian, but I have been here for near­ly a decade — and I know many peo­ple that grew up in this town, and share the local accent– be they from his­pan­ic, black, or oth­er back­grounds. Does any­one dis­agree? Am I over­re­act­ing to a small bit in an oth­er­wise good review?

UPDATE: Ms. Zacharek kind­ly respond­ed to my letter:

Hi Ned — Thanks for your let­ter. I actu­al­ly took great pains to make it clear that the clan­nish­ness shown in the movie isn’t total — the neigh­bor­hood of the movie seems to me very much like South Boston (though plen­ty of peo­ple are writ­ing in say­ing, “No, it’s Charlestown!” or “No, it’s Dorch­ester!”) I think the point is, there ARE pock­ets of Boston that are par­tic­u­lar­ly clan­nish, and Lehane’s sto­ry is pred­i­cat­ed on that.

And the L. Fish­burne line…I just went in and cut that from the piece, because it seemed to be a bone of con­tention with sev­er­al peo­ple. I lived in Boston for 15 years (it was only four years ago that I left), and I nev­er heard a per­son of col­or speak the way Fish­burne does. Then again, all of Boston is set up so that a white per­son (like me) nev­er needs to come into con­tact with a per­son of col­or unless he or she makes a great effort to do so. So it’s entire­ly pos­si­ble that there are African Amer­i­cans in Boston who speak like Mark Wahlberg and I just nev­er heard them. In any event, it did seem like a mis­guid­ed act­ing choice to me.

Any­way, thank you again for tak­ing the time to write in with your thought­ful com­ments, and best wishes –

Stephanie Zacharek

I’m hum­bled that she respond­ed so gen­er­ous­ly, but now that I think about it, I’m feel­ing a bit like the PC Police. I did­n’t want her to self-cen­sor her­self, but I thought that I should say some­thing.

Full Throttle Boredom

Lucy looking juicyChar­lie’s Angels: Full Throt­tle is the most point­less movie I have ever paid mon­ey to see… and, yes, I did see Show­girls in the cinema.

Some­one explain to me what the hell this movie is about — because I have no clue. Here are my questions:
  • Who is that “Leo” kid?
  • Why is there unre­al­is­tic CGI fight scenes every 35 seconds?
  • Who is Bruce Willis’ character?
  • Why did that guy from the X‑Files sud­den­ly switch sides?
  • For a fol­lowup, why did Crispin Glover switch sides?
  • Why is Drew Bar­ry­more in Mexico?
  • Why does Demi Moore play with her gun like she’s nev­er touched one before?
  • When did Justin Ther­oux get jacked? Seri­ous­ly, he’s got some muscles.
  • Why does Bernie Mac turn into more and more of a car­i­ca­ture, as he gets more famous?
  • And yet, why was I laugh­ing at his one-liners?
  • What are those fuck­ing rings, and why would such low-lev­el gov­ern­ment work­ers have them?

That’s all I got right now. Oh, and one more thing: I think Lucy Liu is incred­i­ble– but I hope she has bet­ter mate­r­i­al in Kill Bill.

Cronenberg’s Spider

Over the week­end, I saw David Cro­nen­berg’s new Film Spi­der with Tbone, who wrote a review. One thing I’d like to com­ment on, are Miran­da Richard­son’s sev­er­al excep­tion­al­ly note­wor­thy per­for­mances, as both Fiennes’ Moth­er and Stepmother.

The first char­ac­ter is a mod­el of 1950s restraint and beau­ty, duti­ful­ly prepar­ing din­ner for her fam­i­ly and accom­pa­ny­ing her hus­band to the Pub, though she’d rather be at home. This is the boy’s (Fiennes) ide­al­ized vision of his Moth­er. Richard­son plays the role much like Julianne Moore did in Far From Heav­en. As an audi­ence mem­ber, you can’t hard­ly resist her virtue.

The sec­ond char­ac­ter, is a trashy pub-girl that Fiennes’ father picks up for a lit­tle action, and even­tu­al­ly becomes the boy’s Step-mom. Wear­ing a leop­ard print coat, and stained teeth, this char­ac­ter casu­al­ly gives a hand­job to the boy’s Father under an over­pass. She encour­ages the mur­der of the boy’s Mom, and becomes the object of the boy’s vin­dic­tive inten­tions lat­er in the film.

In addi­tion, she also steps into the role of the half-way house-mas­ter, where she tor­ments Fiennes.

What is tru­ly incred­i­ble, watch­ing Richard­son, is that you real­ly aren’t sure if it’s the same actress. They are so dif­fer­ent in appear­ance and behav­ior, that the screen­writer and Cro­nen­berg must’ve been jump­ing for joy.

It’s a creepy film, about a creepy guy. But, while Ralph Fiennes is mum­bling into a jour­nal for an hour, I think Miran­da Richard­son deserves the cred­it for hold­ing it all together.

The Quiet American

Review: A

I saw The Qui­et Amer­i­can last week, and I want­ed to do a quick review. Faith­ful to the Gra­ham Greene nov­el, on which the film is based, it’s a com­pli­cat­ed movie with char­ac­ters that are both flawed and heroic.

Con­trary to Mira­max’s fears, the movie is _not_ anti-Amer­i­can or unpa­tri­ot­ic– still, it’s a film worth see­ing at this time of renewed Amer­i­can adven­tur­ism. Michael Caine and Bren­dan Fras­er give excep­tion­al per­for­mances, and the pro­duc­tion design is faith­ful to the peri­od, with­out get­ting nos­tal­gic, ala Auto Focus and Con­fes­sions of a Dan­ger­ous Mind.

Shoot the Weather-people

OK, so I spent the week­end in Albany, at an inter­state Court­yard by Mar­riott, because I met my par­ents there (half-way between Boston & Buf­fa­lo). I went swim­ming, shopped at the mon­strous Cross­gates Mall, and saw The Recruit.

This was all fine. Until I had to decide what to do about the com­ing storm…

Albany Dan was com­ing back from New York, and I want­ed to go out and have some drinks… so we checked with the Weath­er Chan­nel, and they seemed to think that the storm would­n’t start pound­ing New Eng­land until the after­noon, mon­day. LIARS!

I left Albany at around 11am, and imme­di­ate­ly ran into the shit on I‑90 East… I mean, do you peo­ple plow your roads in New York State? There nev­er was a prob­lem with vis­i­bil­i­ty– only with the road sur­faces. So it was 25–40 MPH all the way into Our Fair City. I got in at 4:30pm, a full 5.5 hours lat­er! eek.

Sor­ry if this comes off as a teenaged rant, but Weath­er-peo­ple must be hanged!