Wednesday, April 30, 2008
CHUD's Devin Faraci grumpily passes on the news of the "Wolverine's an emo pussy" bent in the upcoming X-Men spinoff. Now, I love C.H.U.D., and I like Devin's writing a lot, but I will have to renew my call for the permanent retirement of the word "emo." For, like, ever. It's time.
Finally, Tara offers my absolute #1 favorite celebrity sighting of all time. It's good enough to get me to promise to not give Maria Bello any more shit for the new Mummy movie. The best celebrity sighting I've gotten after almost a year in New York has been Tom Brokaw talking about walking his dogs. Not even actually walking the dogs, talking about it. So not fair.
Tuesday, April 29, 2008
So just to wash this awful taste out of my mouth, here's Neil Diamon's original in all it's dorky bombast (that's right -- I'm posting a clip from The Jazz Singer to make things feel less gross and creepy):
I was just having a Lee Pace kind of day. To the point where I saw an ad for The Fall on TV and thought "I'm totally going to see that." This would be the new movie by Tarsem "The Cell" Singh, so you know I must be in something of a state.
But if this is the only Lee Pace to be had until fall -- where the pushed-back October premiere of Possession joins the second season of Pushing Daisies -- then so be it.
Monday, April 28, 2008
I was on the fence about this movie -- and leaning towards probably seeing it, all things considered -- back when I thought it was some post-apocalyptic thing and not a movie about a cranky superhero. I don't know whether I was confusing this with I Am Legend or what, but until I saw the trailer the other day, I was completely misinformed. Because this movie? Looks like it's going to suuuuuck. Part of it is that I'm not a big fan of the big Will Smith persona, but part of it is that it just looks...stupid. Silly. Even for a superhero movie.
The Incredible Hulk
This viewpoint is probably not shared by many, but I really feel for Edward Norton here. He just got his career back on track with The Illusionist and The Painted Veil, and he builds up enough clout to get to headline a major studio tentpole movie and he ends up with...this disaster. Or disaster-to-be (though I don't have much doubt). And yeah, his reputation as a behind-the-scenes meddler has resurfaced with a vengeance, but while I wouldn't love to work with him, I kind of feel him because he's got a lot riding on this movie. This awful, awful movie.
Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull
You know, I don't begrudge anyone else rediscovering their childhood with this movie, but even if I hadn't already learned my lesson about that kind of thing with the Star Wars, Indiana Jones was never really my thing anyway. As a result, the whole corporate thrust behind this trip back to the Indy well seems really prominent for me -- especially the grooming of Dear Shia as Indy 2.0. Pass.
Kung Fu Panda
I wouldn't even consider this a summer blockbuster if I hadn't been seeing a stand-up display in the Times Square theatre for the last six months or so. I'm still holding onto my affection for Jack Black with both hands and ten fingernails, so I'm definitely staying away from this for fear that the strain would be too much.
The Love Guru
Ohhhh, Mike Myers. Please just let me enjoy my happy memories of Dr. Evil and leave me in peace.
The Mummy:Tomb Of The Dragon Emperor
Wow. I can't believe they're still making Mummy movies. Also: what is Maria Bello doing within thirty yards of this movie?
Sex and the City
Initially, despite feeling guilty about it, I figured this was definitely a movie I was going to see. I'm not sure that my opinion on it has changed, I just don't think I know anybody who'll see it with me. And I'm totally not gay enough to see it by myself.
The era where I will see just any Will Ferrell movie is long, long, long past.
Robert Downey Jr. will get me to see a lot of things (Two Girls And A Guy...it still burns), but I'm drawing the line at the latest Ben Stiller actor/director effort, comedic blackface be damned.
You Don't Mess With the Zohan
I'll admit, the trailer took me closer than I ever thought I'd get to wanting to see this movie. I just can't imagine myself forming the words to purchase a full-price ticket to this or (in the event that I try to circumvent my shame by buying online) telling people I know that I'm going to see You Don't Mess With The Zohan. Plus that annoying woman from Entourage is in it.
...And, Okay, Ten Summer Movies I Probably Will Be Seeing
The Dark Knight
For reasons too numerous (and sometimes depressing) to mention.
For a TV show I never watched, I've thought this was an expertly put-together summer comedy. Love the casting of Steve Carell, Anne Hathaway, and The Rock. Loved that poster with Hathaway's Agent 99 almost totally obscuring Carell's Maxwell Smart. Loved the trailers. I'm in.
M. Night Syamalan's new movie. Because I never learn my lesson. Ever.
Hellboy II: The Golden Army
The first Hellboy was a solid, if not mind-blowing, action movie. Seeing as standards for summer movies have dropped so much in the intervening four years, that puts the sequel in a high echelon indeed.
For Robert Downey Jr. and only for Robert Downey Jr. Okay, a little for Jeff Bridges.
It took me a while to work up a head of steam for a movie that looked to be, essentially, just the pot-smoking scenes from Knocked Up stretched into an entire movie. But then I got to thinking of James Franco re-entering the Apatow fold for the first time since Freaks and Geeks, and that trailer was really funny...yeah, I'm in. And David Gordon Green's directing! How weird!
I've been sold on this movie by other people. Now that I look at the footage, it really does look like they made a Mario Kart movie.
That part in the trailer where Liv Tyler's on the phone in the empty room and...you know, just watch the trailer. It's freaked me out every time. Also: Dennis from It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia! Though he probably does get killed.
Eh. Probably. Pixar always delivers, but I am almost never psyched about them beforehand. It's weird.
This is one where if I didn't have an unwavering loyalty to James McAvoy, I probably wouldn't be interested. That said, it looks like it could be the good kind of preposterous, and one of these days I'm going to have to check out those Nightwatch/Daywatch movies and see if director Timur Bekmambetov has the stuff.
Finally, Two Summer Movies I Have No Idea About
The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian
I neither loved not hated the first one, but seeing as my two favorite parts from that movie -- Tilda Swinton and James McAvoy -- will be absent, it's going to take a lot to bring me back. That Prince Caspian dude's hot and all, but...well, we'll see.
I don't know. If somebody asks me to go with them, I probably will, but I've been out of the X-Files loop for so long (where is this movie even picking up the storyline? Didn't one of them give birth and the other die?), I can't see myself going to see it of my own initiative.
Saturday, April 26, 2008
"He's become a more and more relaxed interview (as we found on his Lust, Caution LWD), the highlight so far being his discussion of The Ice Storm, which he says he should have called 'The Fuck You Movie,' as the choice to do it was a direct response to having made 'nice, heartwarming' films. He said, 'A lady would come up to me and say, "I just loved Sense & Sensibility," and I'd just want to punch her in the face.'"
At 5'7", I doubt he'd be able to do much damage, but I'd sure like to see him try.
[Weekend posting is weird and infrequent for me because I'm not sure if anybody's out there reading them. But I figure I can't be the only one checking the computer in between afternoon and evening plans. Or else read it Monday morning when you check back in again, what do I care? Anyway...]
So I got to see a screening of Terrence Malick's Badlands today, followed by a Q&A with none other than Sissy Spacek. Not a bad way to spend an afternoon, I'd say. She's absolutely delightful in person, which should come as no surprise. Intelligent and conversational and self-effacing -- after thirty-plus years doing this, she still manages to seem like she enjoys these things. It's a good thing, too, because the guy from IFC running the Q&A was really awkward, prone to long silences and unable to really engage her in a conversation, despite her clear willingness to do so. No, he had his pre-prepared questions designed to show how much research he did. You'll recall this is a pet peeve of mine, the guy in the Q&A whose question exists only to show how smart he is. We had a doozy today, some affected slob who got all indignant about the "this isn't based on real events" disclaimer and then went on some tangent about Martin Sheen, James Dean, Tim Roth, and pointed use of the word "physiognomy." Ugh. Anyway, she was great.
I hadn't seen Badlands in a very long time, and I still like it very much. I didn't remember it being as darkly comic as it was, so that was a nice surprise. As heavy as the events and themes are, it's also something of a send-up of the lovers-on-the-lam genre.
Spacek is in town today for the Tribeca Film Festival's showing of her new movie Lake City, which I hadn't heard of previously, but which has the following things going for it: 1) Sissy Spacek, obviously; 2) it stars the underrated Troy Garity just as I was starting to wonder why he stopped getting cast in movies; 3) it features Rebecca Romijin as a small-town cop. Makes perfect sense to me! Anyway, I'm totally looking forward to it now.
EDIT: I forgot to mention the other cool thing I learned about Sissy Spacek today: lady's connected! You don't normally think of her as being this big Hollywood insider -- she lives in Virginia, after all. But her cousin is Rip Torn (didn't know that), and when she first moved to New York, she lived with Torn and his wife, Geraldine Page (didn't know that). We were also told that David Lynch is her "brother-in-law," but I haven't been able to figure out whether that's an actual familial relation or whether that's just because her husband and Lynch were boyhood best friends. [EDIT to an EDIT: ahhh, Lynch was once married to Fisk's sister. The friendship has apparently endured the divorce.]
Friday, April 25, 2008
Funny that NBC's choosing to replace Conan -- one of the great rags-to-riches tales in all of television, who started out hated and grew into a beloved TV presence -- with someone who started out beloved (albeit in a frat-cult kind of way) but who the public generally turned on a good three years ago at least.
Of course, this all becomes much cooler if Fallon decides to host the show in the guise of Barry effing Gibb.
Thursday, April 24, 2008
Sarah gives her take on the post-Pennsylvania state of the Democratic nomination, and it's pretty much the only take on this issue I've been able to read in the last week without passing out. As was inevitable from the moment the Democrats decided to kick off campaigning with a full two years to the election, I have become entirely sick to death of this entire campaign. I'm sick of the Clinton campaign taking cheap shots at Obama. I'm sick of the Obama supporters clutching their pearls every time Hillary says something bad about him. The whole "elitism" thing really was the last straw, though. Anti-intellectualism is perhaps my biggest trigger in politics, and to see a Democrat engage in it like Hillary grossed me out for good.
You know, this'll teach me not to read CHUD for a couple weeks: they've embarked upon a massive feature project taking on the most over-appreciated movies that film geek culture has come to embrace. Awesome. I don't agree with all of them, not by a long shot, but yesterday's takedown of Cabin Fever was a pleasure, and they produced the definitive document on why Fight Club's loved for all the wrong reasons. Love it.
Monday, April 21, 2008
Who exactly does Jesse Metcalfe think he's fooling? Brain injury survivors? Clay Aiken fans? Helen Keller?
I pose this question to you, dear readers.
Worst Case Scenario For The American Idol Top 6's Song Choices On Andrew Lloyd Webber Night:
David Cook: "Memory"
Carly Smithson: "Don't Cry For Me Argentina"
Syesha Mercado: "I Don't Know How To Love Him"
Jason Castro: "Any Dream Will Do"
Brooke White: "Music Of The Night"
David Archuleta: "Skimbleshanks: The Railway Cat"
Best Case Scenario For The American Idol Top 6's Song Choices On Andrew Lloyd Webber Night:
David Cook: "Memory"
Carly Smithson: "Don't Cry For Me Argentina"
Syesha Mercado: "I Don't Know How To Love Him"
Jason Castro: "Any Dream Will Do"
Brooke White: "Music Of The Night"
David Archuleta: "Skimbleshanks: The Railway Cat"
Sunday, April 20, 2008
Movie: Forgetting Sarah Marshall
Director/Studio: Nicholas Stoller / Universal
10 Word Review: Apatow's crew is funny as ever, despite frustratingly half-baked story.
Best Thing About It: The acting crew. Everybody's on their game, nobody's dogging it. Jason Segel carries his first movie, Kristen Bell tries very hard with a character that gets taken out at the knees (more on that in a second), Jonah Hill and Jack McBrayer doing variations on their usual typecastings, and Bill Hader really, really coming to play. There were a couple times where he seemed to be running through the usual Apatowian dialogue, but for the most part he was wonderful. And apparently I have to like Mila Kunis now, because she's lovely and believable and just generally fantastic in a way I've never seen her be.
Worst Thing About It: The story. It's unfair to saddle Forgetting Sarah Marshall with the baggage of Judd Apatow's previous features, considering Apatow neither wrote nor directed this one. And honestly, the charge that Apatow's movies write women poorly only really applies to Knocked Up (Catherine Keener was given a fairly fleshed out character in The 40-Year-Old Virgin , and Superbad is about the two guys almost exclusively -- the girls are supposed to be mysteries to them), so that's been a bit overblown (even by me, I'll admit). That being said, my major problem with the movie that kept nagging at me was the way the female characters were written, specifically Kristen Bell's Sarah Marshall. I give Segel, who wrote the script, credit for writing Sarah as a real character and not just a stock faithless hussy. But he needed to follow through to the end, because what ends up happening is that Sarah gets treated as a real, relatable character to a point, then gets suddenly dropped into a very typical (if innovatively filthy) comeuppance that has the effect of building up our sympathies for her before asking us to cheer her demise. It's like Segel set out to write a movie where all the characters get to be real people with real motivations and problems and feelings but at some point in development someone got spooked that the movie wouldn't have a clearly defined villain and changed the resolution to Sarah's arc. Truthfully, I hope that's what happened. Because otherwise Segel just got lazy.
Best Performance: Everybody's great, as I said above, but I Russell Brand as the oversexed, overly familiar, flowered-shirt-hating British rock star girl-stealer got the biggest laughs, and deservedly so. He's apparently a big deal in
Oscar Prospects: Ohhhhh, none. Though if someone were to start a write-in campaign for Jason Segel's peen as Best Supporting Actor, they'd be doing the Lord's work.
Friday, April 18, 2008
Anyway, after much futzing around, I was able to find it in the tag to the "Cougars" episode, where Frank discovers he's "gay for Jamie." My point in posting this is: I submit to you that the best part of "Muffin Top" is the "I'm an independent lady..." breakdown. Thoughts?
Tuesday, April 15, 2008
Casting Thompson in the role of Miss Kenton was probably a no-brainer at the time, coming on the heels of her Oscar-winning performance opposite Anthony Hopkins in Howards End, but Thompson's indomitable spirit burns brightly inside the otherwise staid exterior of a WWII-era English domestic, ultimately igniting the tight-assed passions of that old fussbucket Stevens.
It was a fascinating roman-a-clef in the waning years of Bill Clinton's presidency, and it's even more fascinating today, of course, but while Travolta's version of Bubba was, I thought, merciless and ultimately turned the audience against the man, Thompson's faux-Hillary Susan Stanton was an incredibly sympathetic and humanizing portrayal. Plus, she got to say things like this:
"I talked to the head of their Democratic party about fly-fishing for an hour and forty-five minutes. Do you realize how indescribably boring fly-fishing is? Do you realize I've now committed to doing...this, this thing with him? I'm going fly-fishing because of you, you asshole!"
It's this scene being depicted in the photo, I believe, that gets me every time I watch this movie. Thompson's performance throughout the film is full of little moments that speak volumes and sly jokes and tiny heartbreaks, but this scene, where her world has just crashed around her all at once and she needs to hold it all together long enough to go to the kids' Christmas pageant...seriously, every time.
""I, I, I, I am the bird of America. The Bald Eagle. Continental Principality. Lumen, Phosphor, Fluor, Candle. I unfold my leaves, bright steel in salutation open sharp before you."
Also, because she played the homeless person: "Have you read the prophecies of Nostradamus?" Who? "Some guy I went out with once."
Stranger Than Fiction (2006)
My best supporting actress of 2006. So worn down and washed out. I really need to see this movie again, and soon.
Monday, April 14, 2008
This just gets better every time I watch it. She'll kill your dog just for fun! So don't push her!
Friday, April 11, 2008
Next, other people:
Best Week Ever illustrates the difference between Pixar animation and Dreamworks animation remarkably well and reaffirms our trust in everything Pixar makes that isn't called Cars.
Jezebel's "Pot Psychology" sex "advice" segment has been a guilty pleasure of mine for a couple weeks. A pleasure because it's damn hilarious (Rich from FourFour strikes again). Guilty because...well, watch it.
The great cheese battle of our time rages on at Tomato Nation. If you haven't weighed in on Provolone vs. Havarti yet, please do it soon.
The Onion A.V. Club's Scott Tobias -- easily one of my favorite movie critics -- really sent me down the rabbit hole with his "New Cult Canon" piece on Primer, Shane Carruth's impenetrable nerd-opus about time machines and confusion. I actually went and watched the movie on Netflix immediately after reading the column, and damned if it didn't make more sense to me this time around. I'm learnin', Ma! I'm learnin'!
Finally, join Glark as he chronicles the further adventures in the Exciting Life of the Solitary Man. I never really thought of him as a deer's head kind of guy, but you know? I think it suits him.
Monday, April 07, 2008
So why is Best Week Ever trying to freak me out by calling it the best episode of the season? Yes, the googly-eyed plants were pretty funny, and you know I love Kristen Wiig, but I'd have taken the Target lady (or for God's sake Amy's Aunt Linda reviewing movies! Where has she been??) over the permanently surprised lady. Weirder still, BWE calls the Jonah Hill episode the season's worst. Dude, I loved that one! With the "I'm six!" guy and "What's Your Situation?" and Wiig playing Suze Orman (which is the only clip from that episode that isn't on Hulu, god damn it)? How does a blog I enjoy so much arrive at such bizarre conclusions?? When will the universe recognize the unfailing correctness of my opinions??
This is the last of 'em. Yes, I know it's no longer winter, but I wanted to get us through April and the first quarter of the year. Y'all are on your own for the summer movies, but I trust those will be advertised out to here anyway.
Movie: 88 Minutes (Jon Avnet)
High-Concept Synopsis: Al Pacino has some random allotment of time (I can't quite remember how long...) to figure out who's trying to frame him for murder. Probably has something to do with the serial killer he put away with his testimony. Ben McKenzie, Neal McDonough, Alicia Witt, and Leelee Sobieski co-star.
Who Will Be Seeing It: People who saw all 81 minutes of Phone Booth and thought an extra seven minutes would have perfected it. Pacino fans who have grown fonder of him during his relatively light filmmaking schedule the last few years. Fans of blue-eyed psychopath McDonough.
Who Won't Be Seeing It: Non-fans of Jon Avnet's hackery. Audiences who can already sense the bullshit twist that will no doubt arise at the end of the movie. People who are upset that this movie is actually 108 minutes long because THAT IS BULLSHIT!
Why I'd See It: Don't judge me, but it seems like a decent way to kill a couple hours. Not too taxing on the brain, and who knows, maybe Ben McKenzie falls out of his shirt or something. April 18
Movie: Forgetting Sarah Marshall (Nick Stoller)
High-Concept Synopsis: Kristen Bell breaks up with Jason Segel, then heads off to Hawaii, where he follows her and ends up settling for the far inferior Mila Kunis. The usual Judd Apatow suspects all co-star in some capacity or another.
Who Will Be Seeing It: Fans of the Apatow oeuvre (he's producing, but not writing or directing). The frothing, sun-deprived hordes of Kristen Bell fans. Fans of resort-porn vistas.
Who Won't Be Seeing It: Audiences who are anticipating yet another Apatow Boys Club outing at the expense of the female characters. People who absolutely hate the idea of Mila Kunis as a better catch than Bell. Folks who have grown weary of the omnipresent and punctuation-challenged subway marketing campaign (no, you look fat in those jeans!).
Why I'd See It: The trailer looks funny, I love Jason Segel and Kristen Bell, and not having seen Drillbit Taylor or Walk Hard, I can say the Apatow family has yet to let me down. April 18
Movie: The Life Before Her Eyes (Vadim Perelman)
High-Concept Synopsis: Formerly titled In Bloom, this stars Uma Thurman as a woman still trying to deal with the memory of the school shooting tragedy that shattered her like. Evan Rachel Wood plays Uma's teenage self, with Eva Amurri as her best friend.
Who Will Be Seeing It: Fans of rich subject matter for occasionally brilliant actresses. Fans of Laura Kasischke's novel of the same name. Fans of intense examinations of damaged psyches in the middle of spring.
Who Won't Be Seeing It: Anybody who saw the absolutely appalling and tone-deaf trailer. People who remember that this was supposed to open last year and got pushed back and retitled. Non-fans of Perelman, who has been accused of groping, sexual assault, and directing The House of Sand and Fog.
Why I'd See It: Big-time actress showcases are rare, particularly this time of year, and if Perelman can stay the hell out of the way, it's a good story for Thurman and Wood to play off of. April 18
Movie: Baby Mama (Michael McCullers)
High-Concept Synopsis: Tina Fey can't get pregnant so she decided to rent out a particularly white-trashy Amy Poehler's womb. Sigourney Weaver, Greg Kinnear, Romany Malco, and Maura Tierney co-star.
Who Will Be Seeing It: Fans of Fey and Poehler's smart-lady comedy, even if one of them is playing stupid this time around. People who have been waiting for another great artificial insemination comedy ever since Look Who's Talking. Fans of Sigourney Weaver's latest "one scene as a comically buttoned up executive bitch on wheels" career trend.
Who Won't Be Seeing It: People who think the trailer looks sophomoric (that only works with the fellas). Obama supporters still bitter about that whole "Tina Fey has opinions that differ from my own" thing. Fans nervous about the presence of McCullers, the first-time feature director who previously wrote all three Austin Powers films and Undercover Brother.
Why I'd See It: Their names rhyme with "Tina Fey and Amy Poehler." April 25
Movie: Deception (Marcel Langenegger)
High-Concept Synopsis: Hugh Jackman introduces Ewan McGregor to a mysterious underground sex club and the audience tries to forget they ever saw Eyes Wide Shut. Michelle Williams and Natasha Henstridge co-star.
Who Will Be Seeing It: Sex club aficionados. Hugh Jackman and Ewan McGregor aficionados. Audiences eager to get the memory of Kubrick's last and crappiest film out of their minds.
Who Won't Be Seeing It: Audiences not lured in by the film's crappy title. Audiences not lured in by the film's crappy poster. Prudes, those four curs.
Why I'd See It: Jackman looks to be playing a tremendously wicked character, and when he's having fun, I'm having fun. April 25
Movie: Harold and Kumar Escape From Guantanamo (Jon Hurwitz, Hayden Schlossberg)
High-Concept Synopsis: En route to Amsterdam, our nonwhite herb-heads get shipped to a detention camp as suspected terrorists. Either they find Doogie Howser or Doogie finds them.
Who Will Be Seeing It: People who enjoyed it well enough last time so why not? Easily impressed liberals eager to stick it to the Bush administration any way they can. Anybody who's seen Neil Patrick Harris anywhere, in anything, in the past five years.
Who Won't Be Seeing It: Moviegoers who found the first movie a bit broad. Moviegoers who find the trailer to this movie WAY broad. Anybody who's read the film's official press release, which includes the phrases "hilarious slacker anti-heroes" and "as 'un-PC' as it gets." New Line deserved to go under for that one alone.
Why I'd See It: NPH, baby. Plus I do recall giggling like an idiot after the first one. April 25
Sunday, April 06, 2008
Saturday, April 05, 2008
Friday, April 04, 2008
You know, it's like I can't even check out Us Weekly online anymore without hearing about this damned election. Headline: "Lauren Conrad: I Won't Endorse Any Politician"
And good for you, LC! Or, you know, LC's publicist, because...come on. But at least somebody is thinking that the presidential election is no place for Lauren Conrad to thrust her uninformed opinion. Hell, Teen Vogue is no place for Lauren Conrad to thrust her uninformed opinion, which is why they never give her anything to do.
But does it surprise me that Heidi Montag thought we'd all like to know who she's endorsing for president? Not a bit. Nor does it surprise me that she'd "endorse" McCain. She totally would. And if you asked her why, my guess is she's turn to Spencer, look confused, look contemplative, turn once more to Spencer, tip her head to the side, and say, "The troops."
In truth, I kind of feel bad for McCain. One, because it's probably the worst endorsement you can get this side of Elliott Spitzer. And two, because every time he tries to comment on it, his remarks show up in print and look terrible. "I'm honored to have Heidi's support and I want to assure her that I never miss an episode of The Hills, especially since the new season started." I mean, clearly that was said with his tongue-in-cheek, right? Clearly when he says "She's a very talented actress," he's trying to make a bit of a joke. But the whole thing just serves to make him look so old.
It also makes him look like a liar, because if he "never misses an episode," there is no way he'd be honored to have Heidi's support. So which one is it, Senator? Are you honored to have her support or do you really watch the show? (Barack or Hillary, whoever ends up winning the nomination, feel free to use that one in the debates. Really hammer him on it. Then make sure the American public knows you like Lo the best.)