Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Westward Ho!

I know it's been awhile, but what's one to do when life expects things from you beside random internet blogging. Frankly, It's quite arrogant as well to assume that people really care what I think about each and everything I watch. That of course doesn't mean I'm going to stop. Anyway, speaking for random, I do have one bit of personal update.

Brace yourself (and no, I'm not pregnant)...

I'm relocating to....

THE MIDWEST.

This is not a typo. And I'm am quite serious. In about six months and by August at the latest I will be a resident of the midwest. I feel kind of dirty about this, but also excited. And, anything that makes you feel dirty and excited at the same time can't be bad. Happy Thanksgiving.

Friday, November 11, 2005

put down that cornball and show some respect

It is a sad day...


"The Bluth clan of Fox's ratings-challenged 'Arrested Development' is also headed for the exit after Fox cut the third-season order on the Emmy-winning comedy to 13 episodes.

Also getting the ax at Fox is "Arrested's" companion on Monday, the freshman comedy "Kitchen Confidential," whose order will not be extended beyond the initial 13 episodes."

A sad, sad day.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

THE BOX - That's a bad bad boy



Attention Desperate Housewives Fans:

You know that guy, that guy that Mrs. Applewhite (Alfre Woodard) keeps chained in her basement? Well, he's been a very bad boy. So bad in fact that Disney fired Page Kennedy for "improper conduct." For all the details, click here.

Monday, November 07, 2005

this recruit got lost on her way home from college

What is it about cerebral men acting like cavemen that gets me all… Well, you know?

Jarhead 7/10


I loved this movie. Everyone else in my office this morning hated it. I loved this movie. This is not a great film, but it is certainly a good film. As I left the theater, I felt (though not to the full extent) the same way I felt after my very first viewing of Fight Club. Primal. If you know me, you know how I feel about Fight Club, the second greatest film ever made, EVER. So, to compare Jarhead to Fight Club obviously is saying a lot for me.

Jarhead is not a film, NOT a film about the Gulf War (I). Jarhead is NOT a film about being a Marine. Jarhead is a film about one man’s impression of duty, of service, and of meaning as influenced by the Corps. The film is not objective and though a memoir, I doubt it’s even very truthful. Yet the film conveys a moment, an impression of one man’s life and how the Corps has and will always influence who he is for good and for bad.

While this film was supposed to be Jake Gyllenhaal’s coming out party – by that I mean his portrayal of something other than the shy/nice/sad/smart/good boy we’ve all come to know and love – Jamie Foxx and Peter Sarsgaard stole each scene they were in. Jaime Foxx was nothing short of brilliant as he ingeniously and seamlessly delivered lines that a less skilled actor would turn into ridiculous parodies or badly timed punchlines. Sarsgaard’s seriousness and dedication offset the good ‘ol boy attitude held by his counterparts.

Gyllenhaal, for his tour of duty, delivered a powerful performance. In one scene in particular, the man and his rifle, I actually thought to myself, “wow, that was Jake.” Swafford (Gyllenhaal) was the middleman of the movie. He had a bit of every character in him and was inconsistent in his reactions. Sometimes he was the level head, sometimes he was the jerk, sometimes he was the psycho killer. Gyllenhaal’s performance was just as disjointed as the character, which isn’t to be confused with well rounded.

So anyway, go see Jarhead, because I loved it. Don’t be surprised though… You’ll probably hate it.

P.S. Look for Jake’s coming out performance this Jan/Dec. Pun intended.

Good Night and Good Luck – 10/10

In a normal year, I would declare this the most important film of the year to watch, but with Syriana and Munich on the release schedule, I don’t think I can firmly make that assertion.

Leave the Middle East for a moment (just a moment) and remember back to a time when Russia or the USSR was our enemy. I was born in 1979 so I remember snippets of spite. My mother on the other hand was born in 1956. She was raised in the time when nuclear drills and communist hatred were standard operating procedure.



Good Night and Good Luck takes you back even further though, to 1953, the era of the post war American Dream. Suburbs were on the rise and kitchens were becoming modernized. There were many stories taking place that Julianne Moore would one day tell through cinema. In Washington though, a war of ideals – correction: a genocide of ideals - was underway spearheaded by Karl Rove. Oops, I mean Joseph McCarthy.

Good Night and Good Luck is a brilliant little film that plays like, well a play. It’s script and scenes are tight and its style is slick without being flashy. The cinematography, set design, the entire mis-en-scene was crafted and woven with perfection. Its message is unobscured by gloss, and its poignancy is timeless.

Clooney’s directorial debut should easily land him with a nomination, if not a little shiny statue, come early next year. The camera work is reminiscent of master filmmakers like Orsen Wells, Alfred Hitcock, and Billy Wilder. The performances were flawless. David Strathairn gave the performance of his often overlooked career and should be standing beside Clooney on a podium somewhere. The only thing I found awkward was the casting of Patricia Clarkson opposite Robert Downey Jr. While Clarkson is only 6 years Robbie’s senior, she looked uncomfortably too old to play his wife. She is a beautiful women who by no means looks like an old lady, but the role of Shirley should have gone to a woman in her late thirties or the role of Joe should have gone to someone in his fifties.

That aside, this is a great film that is less about the past than it is about the present. I’m happy that it hopped into the box office top 10 this week as everyone – especially you red staters – should see this film. After all, when an old white man who smokes a lot is outspokenly critical of the government, Washington starts listening… And so should you.

Naked Lunch (DVD) – 8/10

So I finally got a chance to sit down and watch the Criterion Collection edition of Naked Lunch. This film is beautiful, though maybe to some, disturbing to watch. The entire craftsmanship, from the costumes, to the lighting, to the music, to the creature effects are gorgeous… classic Hollywood noir.

The spiraling hallucinatory journey into and out of the Interzone is worth the watch filled with all its Kafka like glory. Will you know what’s real and what’s not? Will you even care? Does the story have a point? How many drugs was Burrows on when he wrote this novel? Are the bugs a metaphor? Does it even matter? If you have two hours with nothing else to do, let David Cronenburg take you on a vacation. Don’t worry, you’ll come back.

The Lost Weekend (DVD) – 9/10

The Lost Weekend is one of a long list of films in my netflix cue that fall into the “how have I never seen this film” category. Now, I have.

The Lost Weekend, set in New York City, follows four days in the life of an alcoholic unpublished writer as he falls off the wagon and then gets run over by it.

This film is very, very good and only mildly dated in subject matter. Having known my share of alcoholics and drug addicts, this film could easily be a documentary about four days of a man’s life. Ben found it depressing and the ending unbelievable. I found the last act a bit over top – a reefer madness spin to it.

That aside, the camera work is beautiful and rhythmic and the acting top notch. It actually gave me a desire to read the novel on which the film is based. It deserved all the acclaim it garnered in its time and deserves more attention from today’s audience.

THE BOX

First, let me start by saying last night’s Simpson’s is one of the worst Treehouse of Horror in years.

Okay, moving on…

Desperate Housewives 2:06 “I Wish I Could Forget You”

Last night’s DH was amazing. Eva Longoria is charging after those golden globe and emmy statues for next year as a tiny little force to be reckon with.

As Gabrielle woos her lawyer back into action after a courtroom shoot out, Lynette steps up the hotness factor to shut up the judgmental label whores in the work place.

The best moments of the night though, came from the disturbing dance of seduction between Bree and George as she works through some nerves to give “it” up to the creep. George, in his shystery pharmaceutical ways, helps her along.

And Susan, dear Susan finally gets her freakin’ upcomings for being a flighty spaz as Mike publicly dumps her – while wearing a wedding dress no less. Okay, I’m not saying Susan was wrong for putting her daughter first, but she’s a moron to try to keep Mike in her life. Susan, of course, was acting desperately.
Tonight, make sure you tune in for the return of Arrested Development. Woo Hoo

Thursday, November 03, 2005

frail beautiful people killed john lennon




Lindsay Lohan has had her fill of Disney teen flicks. After playing a 24 year old publicist in Just My Luck (2006), getting super thin and platinum for Prairie Home Companion (2006), jumping on the A-List band wagon for Bobby (the Emilio Estevez pic about RFK), Miss Lohan has joined also frail and sexy Jared Leto for "Chapter 27."

According to Reuters... "Chapter 27 features Lohan as a Lennon fan who befriends Lennon's murderer, Mark Chapman (Leto), during the weekend that he kills the musician outside his New York apartment building, the paper [Daily Variety] said. It did not mention who would play Lennon. "

What this film will shape up to be could be anything at this point but one this is for sure... That's a dynamic on screen duo.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

We can like raise the dead or do something halloweeny

This past weekend sugar and darkness were plentiful as we celebrated Halloween. Friday night, Darren invited me to his place for an adolescent type sleepover watching horror movies with his parents. The perk? We got to watch Paris Hilton die…

House of Wax – 6/10




I thought this film was good for a gore-horror movie, but not great. The pacing was good and the effects were just enough “yuck” factor without gratuitous over the top pointless blood. Speaking of pointless… Along side Paris Hilton, Elisha Cuthbert looked like Meryl Streep. Speaking of Meryl, has she ever super glued her lips?

While I’m no stranger to seeing Kim, I mean Elisha, in troublesome situations where a little common sense goes along way, this time she got to be the super heroine. Darkening her standard platinum locks was also a good move.

The film is classically formulaic in a good way. There were very few scream out load moments, in fact I don’t think any, but Chad Michael Murray with his shirt off… How is that not worth it?

The wax effects are the star of the film as the director used creativity (with complete absence of realism of course) when visually designing the eye-popping climax in (duh duh duh) the House of Wax.

Next up on Darren’s scary movie schedule was the art house horror flick May. Okay, if you’ve strolled through the horror section at the local video anytime during the past year and half, the cover to this film is bound to stick in your memory, or at least mine anyway. Angela Bettis looks like a bizarre cross between Rose McGowan (Scream) and Robin Tunney (The Craft).

May – 8/10

I thought this was a well-crafted highly disturbing film, though I don’t know if I liked it or not yet. I saw Paperhouse, a UK art house horror film often compared to Nightmare on Elm Street, when I was a kid. It was on Cinemax, Cine-Vangard night. I think that film combined with Blue Velvet sidetracked any chance I had at being well adjusted. I’ve tried to find Paperhouse on DVD or Video, but it’s like the film never existed… Anyway, I’m digressing. Where was I? Oh yes, art house horror. Highly disturbing normally bodes well with me, in fact to steal a quote from the film “I like weird.” I mean, I do live for David Lynch and David Cronenberg flicks, so have I finally hit too weird?

SIDE NOTE: Darren will never forgive me for making him watch Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me or as he calls it “that weird movie.”

What makes this so peculiar you ask?

1. Jeremy Sisto – Elton, as I will call him, is normally quite hot from Clueless to Thirteen and even in Wrong Turn, quite sexy. Yet, not in this. He bore a striking resemblance to one of my ex’s, on Mr. Klein; I personally think it was the horrid hairstyle he sported throughout the film, very reminiscent of Tim Curry in Rocky Horror.

2. Anna Ferris – Ms. Ferris has a hot voice. It’s very “California,” like a raspy valley girl. In this film, she takes on the role of swingin’ lesbian, an oversexed secretary looking to score with any and all who spread their legs. Yes, Anna Ferris is hot, but the unrelenting sexuality couple with her raspy voice and aggressive dialogue definitely radiated and uncomfortable vibe.

3. Angela Bettis – I easily see why Ms. Bettis was cast in this film. Angela Bettis is weird. Don’t get me wrong, she is in her own gothicly peculiar way quite beautiful… (See Below)


Yet, her body frame actually distracted me throughout the entire film. She is tiny, minute even. I have no idea her exact body dimensions obviously, but we’re talking Olsen twin stature here, maybe even smaller. That in itself wouldn’t be too distracting except her body is so small, depending what she was wearing, she looked like a bobble head about to tumble over. What makes it more awkward is that her frame looks natural. She didn’t look like Lindsay Lohan or Mary Kate Olsen. She wasn’t just skin stretched over bone that you desperately want to share your Halloween candy with. She is just perfectly peculiar. As I said, this distracted me throughout the film. Because of her doll like form and stature, Bettis couldn’t have been more perfectly cast as the girl her who never had a friend. So after being sexually rejected one to many times, she made her own.

After reflecting, I think it’s Loopie, the fluffy Persian. Frozen cats may just be too weird for me.

And so, that was it for my Friday celebration. I think Darren and I started watching Hocus Pocus on the Disney channel, but I passed out quickly.

Saturday night Ben and I made an impromptu appearance at the Halloween party thrown by friends… We were Shaggy and Velma if you’re curious. Sunday Darren came over to my house and tried using a Ouji board to talk to the ghosts that Ben insists we have. We then dorkily played horror movie charades – Oh yeah! How would you act out The Grudge! And that my friends, was my All Hallow’s Eve.

THE BOX

In the world of television, Fox brought back House last night after a too long baseball induced hiatus. I love Doctor House and I can’t stand Cameron. Jennifer Morrison is quite pretty, but I hate her character. She’s weak, and dumb, and easily manipulated by all those around her. No wonder House wouldn’t bang her last season. Ron Livingston made a guest appearance last night stunningly portraying a self-centered doctor without a border that - you guessed it – easily manipulates Cameron. My thought: pretty smart girls don’t have to act so stupid.

Speaking of Fox, Arrested Development doesn’t come back until next Monday, but production has been put on hiatus because Jason Bateman had a sore throat. Well, a little more severe than that. Our beloved Bateman had to undergo throat surgery for a benign tumor. Which means Arrested will have to wait. So far 8 episodes have been completed, yet only three have aired. So hopefully there won’t be too much of a disruption of the broadcasts.

As for repeats, Lost is repeating itself once again tonight. To that I say “UGH!” On the Lost front though, I came across this quirky story today.

“Producers of ABC's mega-hit castaway thriller "Lost" plan to introduce a new storyline centering on the discovery of a fictitious manuscript that will become the basis for a real-life novel that Hyperion will publish this spring.” For the entire story and marketing ploy… Click Here.

POPCORN

As for the upcoming weekend… I still have the whole freakin’ current season of Veronica Mars to watch. The DVD-at-home line up features The Lost Weekend (still), Million Dollar Baby (still), and Naked Lunch. Mysterious Skin is on its way.


Whether I get to this viewing or not is yet to be seen as this weekend, little ol’ York (We don’t believe in Evolution) PA is getting a copy of Good Night and Good Luck which just might be occupying my Friday night. Regardless, Jarhead is debuting as well and I just can’t get enough Gyllenhaal (either of them). Have you seen Jarhead’s TV spots featuring Kanye West? I can’t remember the last time a TV spot looked or sounded so good.

That’s this week’s Drained Brain…. For now anyway.