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Friday, December 26, 2003
Movies this week...
Late, but hey, gimme a break. It's Christmas. Are there people even looking online today? And if they are, do they know it's Christmastime at all?
Big Fish: Is it time to give up on Tim Burton? I'm being serious. Like most sane people my age with a modicum of whimsy, I loved and continue to love just about everything the man did up to a certain time. I mean, Beetlejuice? Edward Scissorhands? The first Batman? He was like the cool older kid in your neighborhood that tinkered all day in the garage writing loud music or fixing up an old Trans-Am. And then you'd see him riding around town with like the hottest chick in the world and you just thought, "How'd he... do dat?" Then, somewhere along the way, he grew up and started doing shit like Sleepy Hollow, which seemed like a great idea probably, but except for Johnny Depp was kind of an extreme exercise in "Why?" Don't even get me started on Planet of the Apes, which I tried to sit through and just couldn't do. With all the running in the forest? And Marky Mark? I could have pretended that one didn't exist if the reviews for Big Fish didn't so uniformly call Tim Burton on basically making a big, schmaltzy, "Lookit me!" weird-for-weird's sake fest. Maybe it's because Tim got with Helena Bonham Carter and grew up and stopped being depressed and creative. Many artists function on a depression to output ratio and maybe Tim is just too happy these days. Maybe he needs to develop a crippling heroin habit or lose a limb or something. Well, here's hoping. Happy holidays, Tim Burton!
Cheaper by the Dozen: Like I said yesterday, I liked it all right and you can read my review here. The best thing I can say about it is that it's not a complete waste. If this were on basic cable, you'd definitely be inclined to want to watch it. And maybe get up or a nice snack during the parts involving the kids being wacky.
Cold Mountain: The thing about movies like this (and by that I mean "Long-ass draaahh-mas with big stars and lots of scenery") is that if I don't catch them in a preview, caught up in the pre-release excitement, it's not likely that I'm going to check them out later when actual American currency and the breaking of tickets (like so much stale bread) is involved. This was a movie I was excited to see, but since I missed the sneak preview, I'm now thinking I may just let it pass until it reaches the DVD Realm. (O, Mighty DVD Realm, Let Me Trek Across Your Pretty Plains.) Just the thought of sitting through a long movie that isn't one about a pesky ring and some hobbits and big horkin' elephant creatures doesn't appeal right now. And no, I haven't seen Return of the King yet, dammit. But I'm on the last Two Towers disc, so the moment is nigh. Nigher. Most soon nighliest.
Paycheck: This movie has so little buzz going for it that there are bees hanging around the honeycomb going, "Did you hear something... just then? Was... that... ? Naw, it's probably nothing." A year ago, this movie would have been completely saturating the media what with the Affleck Factor, but now everybody is sick of Ben, nobody gives a shit about John Woo anymore after Windtalkers (which I have seen, and which did suck) and even the comely (I didn't think she was all that comely until very recently, thank you Quentin) Uma Thurman can't rub two pieces of film together and generate any kind of heat for this. The critics are nearly unanimous in their fierce, unyielding condemnation. I predict very, very small monetary units for this particular Hollywood product. Make your own joke here using irony and the title of the film.
Peter Pan: Everybody I've talked to about this movie (all two of them) had the same reaction upon seeing the trailer: "They made another Hook?" Yep, maybe it was a little too soon to try to make this movie given that the crocodile-testicle-like taste of Hook still lingers upon the mouths of moviegoers. (Like rotten cinammon, that.) P.J. Hogan is okay in my book because of a film called Muriel's Wedding that works and doesn't make you sick of ABBA somehow. What's with Peter Pan anyway? Who wants to see a film about a boy who refuses to grow up? Doesn't that describe any guy in his mid-'20s who spends more on PlayStation2 games than on his rent? And can the word "Neverland" be used with a straight face anymore? I fear for P.J. Hogan becaues this film, despite whatever qualities it may have, has the deck stacked against it. And it's a big fucking deck, one that you could lean a tall building against.
21 Grams: If you've not seen Amorres perros, I reach my virtual hand out at you and grab you by the short hairs on the back of your neck and toss you toward the nearest video store. Please, please see it. It's a fantastic film. This one has got acting power to burn. You could seriously take the surplus acting power from 21 Grams and fill the tank of James Lipton's car with it and get all the way to Vegas with enough left over to cruise the strip for a few days. The film is being described as unrelentingly grim and depressing. So if you hate the holidays, you could do a lot worse than wallowing in your own crapulence at a movie palace featuring these warez.
House of Sand and Fog: More puzzling and mysterious to me than this film (which is said to have a fuckton of fog in it; it's literal fog, in addition to the metaphor part) is the size of Jennifer Connelly's breasts. You won't see a story about that in EW, but it's been on the forefront of my brain since about A Beautiful Mind. What's going on in there? One film, they're huge, next film they shrink, then you see her on the red carpet and there they are again. Is it padding? Does she rent them? Do they wax and wane with the moon like titty waves? Ben Kingsley, who is on some kind of rampaging roll after the great Sexy Beast, is in this film too, but I wonder far less about his breasts. The movie is about two people fighting over ownership of a house. A foggy house.
Modern Times: I've spoken my piece about Charlie Chaplin. I may try to go see this to feed the gaping maw of my ignorance.
DVDs: Still plowing through Lord of the Rings, though the end is now in sight. Got an Eddie Izzard DVD of "Circle" from my brother and the Smallville first season from my aunt, uncle and gramma. Plus there's a Coldplay Live DVD to check out and a few more Aqua Teen Hunger Force episodes. It's gonna be a busy week.
Thursday, December 25, 2003
Merry Christmas! Mine was pretty damned fantastic. I drove to San Antonio after getting off work a little early and the evening was spent hanging with the 'bro and Rebecca, watching part of Freaky Friday again with the folks (so I like it. You got a problem wit dat?) and opening presents, the bounty of which was legendary, like some damn gold city out west. This morning, we had turkey and the fixins and as much as I was dreading this holiday (not for any personal reasons: Only because I have to work Friday, so it's going to be a little tricky with the traveling since I still have plans of driving to South Texas this weekend), everything so far has been as it should be: simply wonderful.
My review of Cheaper by the Dozen, starring Super(Dork) Tom Welling is up. I blame the two stars on Mr. Korey and Mr. Martin. I walked out of that movie feeling perfectly satisfied, thinking I'd just seen an all right piece of entertainment. As we sometimes do at screenings, we jibby jabbered about it in the parking lot after. I miss seeing their show because it's not carried on satellite (for this I forgive you, Dish, but let this be your only trangression). But I do still get to hear them plow into films when I see them in person.
We had a hilarious little time trying to figure out how exactly 12 kids in a house would work, and how the one scene where an ax goes through a closet door was more harrowing than, say, the last 15 minutes of Requiem for a Dream, and how there was remarkably little bloodshed considering how loose the rules around the house were, and how if it weren't a white family, there's be some bashing of children's heads before the end of the first act. While I tried to defend the film as harmless, better-than-expected fluff, these guys see way more movies than me and definitely showed me the (dark, critical) light. Thank you, Korey and Martin. What would a film critic do without you?
Wednesday, December 24, 2003
It's almost time, folks.
I'm working today and Friday, but in an hour or two, I'll be outta here and off to see my family. You all have yourselves a great Christmas (even if you don't celebrate it -- hope you have a nice Thursday with lots of good food) and I'll talk to you soon. Be festive, dammit!
Tuesday, December 23, 2003
Charity starts on top of your head
Pamie's got book donations covered and Penny Arcade has boggled the mind with kids' videogame donations.
So, I figured, I'd get on the charity tip (charity on my tip, can't get it off! [get off!]) and see what I can do about this awful baseball cap shortage.
The kid organizing this is the nephew of a guy I know (It's legit, don't worry. They're not going to re-sell your caps on Ebay or anything).
I'll let Eric speak here:
Caps For Caring
My name is Eric Pass and I am 12 years old. I love sports and I wear a baseball cap all the time. For a charity project for my Bar Mitzvah, I am collecting new baseball hats to donate to children who are battling cancer. I am calling my project "Caps For Caring."
My goal is to collect 1,800 baseball caps by the time of my Bar Mitzvah (June 5, 2004). I chose this number because in Hebrew, 18 is chai and chai translates to the word life. My wish is that all of the children with cancer live a long life.
I will donate the hats to three worthy charities: Tomorrow's Children Oncology Center at Hackensack (NJ) Hospital, Chai Lifeline, and the Hadassah Hospital Mother and Child Pavilion in Israel.
I need your help. Please join me and donate any amount of baseball hats to help my charity project. Adjustable or children's sizes would be the most helpful. Please send donations of new caps to:
19-10 Prospect Avenue
Fair Lawn, NJ 07410
I will use my Bar Mitzvah money to send the hats to the charities noted. Thank you in advance for your support.
Monday, December 22, 2003
The parking problem
In case it hasn't been made clear in these pages, my stance on congested parking lots and traffic is very firm: I am ag'ggin it.
Thus, all that time I spent sitting in parking lots, waiting for SUVs to figure out what the fuck they're doing in relation to physics, their mass and the millimeters of space they have to play with in exiting a parking space, should serve some purpose, some higher calling, some karma withdrawl slip allowed for by such a hefty time deposit.
That withdrawl is today's XL Blog entry.
Where's the horse?
Overheard at the Suncoast Saturday evening from an older, blond lady near the "New Releases" rack to a poor, put-upon employee:
"We saw this movie, and we thought it was supposed to be about a horse, but what they don't tell you is that the whole movie, they're looking for a horse and training to ride the horse, and horse doesn't even come out in the movie until about 30 minutes until the end! We kept saying, 'Where's the horse? Where's the horse?' It's supposed to be a movie about a horse, right? Where is he? And he finally comes out and wins the race, but by then, we were just beside ourselves, just sick about this movie. I can't believe we spent $20 for that!"
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