Tag Archive for 'movies'

Sacha Baron Cohen Crashes the Catwalk at Milan Fashion Week

Ali G and Borat might have been put to rest, but come­dian Sacha Baron Cohen seems to now be work­ing on a Brüno movie, based on his gay Aus­trian model character.

Ear­lier today, he caused a ruckus when he crashed the cat­walk at Milan Fash­ion Week, dressed in a ridicu­lously funny cos­tume. The pho­tos and video look hilarious.

HD Trailer for “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince”

HD Trailer for “Harry Pot­ter and the Half-Blood Prince” – I would argue that the books get bet­ter in order, and if this trailer is any indi­ca­tion, per­haps the same is true for the movies.

Persepolis

Persepolis

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′

Splat!

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.

8/10

Silent Shout: An Audio Visual Experience

I’ve been lis­ten­ing to a few CDs on repeat a lot, these past few months – my chief obses­sion being The Knife’s two LPs, the ear­lier Deep Cuts, and last year’s Silent Shout. I’m not a big techno fan, but I am a con­fessed svensk-phile.

I’m excited to hear from Pitch­fork that The Knife are get­ting ready to release a deluxe edi­tion of Silent Shout, “fea­tur­ing a live disc and a DVD in addi­tion to the orig­i­nal synth-rattled masterpiece.”

I’m totally look­ing for­ward to the DVD [Pre-order with Ama­zon] – my favorite track “Heart­beats” was re-worked awe­somely. Here’s a preview:

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…

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.

Constantine

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 MoveOn.org 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:

MUSIC

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.

FILM

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.

POLITICS

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.

Respect­fully,
Ned ned.suckahs.org

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.