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Friday, April 02, 2004
Movies this week
Here's the surprise I promised yesterday: I wrote a short piece on Pineapple Girl's wedding blog called "MY NEW WIFE IS NOT YOUR WHORE." Enjoy.
Hellboy: Well. Hmm. Hellboy. You know what? It's all right. It's good, maybe really good for a comic book adaptation. It's not dopey and changed up like The League of Unwatchable Bullshit last year and it looks as good or better than just about any big-budget action movie out there (even though it was made for a slender $35mil. Say what you want about Latino directors, but they know how to stretch a damn dollar). I saw it at a big premiere in Austin with the director and the gruff, yet menacing Ron Perlman in attendance and, sure, I got a little infected with the hero worship. After all, this is the director who made the way-better-than-you'd-expect Blade II and the quiet, fantastic The Devil's Backbone in the same damn year. I honestly believe Guillermo del Toro has a Lord of the Rings-level film or series of films in him. He's a visual stylist, a great storyteller, someone who films action scenes that just flow and work. Unfortunately, Hellboy is a little silly in parts and I'm told by comic book fans that that's mostly due to del Toro's devotion to Keepin' it Real by comics creator Mike Mignola, who was a hands-on consultant on the film. That doesn't prevent the fact that there are Nazis and Rasputin and other nutty things about. But Ron Perlman is great, the visuals work well and del Toro is about the coolest, friendliest director you could ever hope to lay eyes on. For that reason alone, I think the cause is worth supporting. (And according to my brother, there were lines around the block for an advance screening this week in San Antonio, so maybe my prediction that it would only do so-so box office isn't on track after all.)
Home on the Range: I came very close to seeing this on a recent Saturday (a wedding food tasting bailed me out), and now I'm sort of glad I missed it. Mediocre Disney product is usually worse than bad regular product. It just reminds you of Disney's better films and you keep wondering what the Hell is going on over in Disney's 2-D animation studios. The most recent exceptions were The Emperor's New Groove and Lilo & Stitch, which I really liked. But Treasure Planet? Lion King 1 1/2? Give me a six pack of fucking breaks, Disney. This movie stars cows trying to save a farm and it looks like they threw every celebrity voice they could steer (heh, steer, get it?) into it. This movie makes me glad at least that not every Disney animated movie is overly serious and requires a Phil Collins song. But that's not much of a reason to spend $20 on tickets, is it?
Kitchen Stories: This movie sounds like the cinematic equivalent of IKEA, a Scandinavian concoction that is both inexpensively produced, yet awfully cute on the shelf. It's a fictional story about researchers in the '50s studying the kitchen habits of bachelors in Sweden. The stills I've seen show a researcher sitting in this impossibly high chair in the corner of a kitchen, watching a Hungry Man chow down on what I'm guessing is a pre-Hungry Man-brand dinner. And they become friends. Doesn't that sound like a cute-ass IKEA movie? I think IKEA should start a film studio that makes only quirkly, low-budget films that are so fucking adorable you just want to take them home and mount them in your living room.
Osama: This movie release is a little baffling because unless I'm mixed up here, the DVD is already out for this. This movie was made in Afghanistan under the Taliban and is said to bear witness to the foul treatment of women by that nefarious regime. A young girl poses as a boy so she can work to help her family and at every turn, women are dissed in high Taliban fashion. The story of the film's release (it got nearly unanimous praise for its great filmmaking-under-pressure vibe) took a weird turn when the Bushes (you know, W. and Laura?) started raving about this film and saying how it totally proved how we were right about something or another. The filmmakers, who I'm guessing are trying not to piss off anyone while not exactly loving this sort-of endorsement, are like, "Oh. Well. Yeah. Um. Glad you liked it, George." What a strange position to be in.
The Prince & Me: Of course there's an ampersand in the title. Would you want it any other way? Julia Stiles, unless I'm missing something, has the personality of a blank sheet of typing paper with a light shining through it in a white room that's been vacuumed of all of its oxygen. Maybe it's just me. That's what it seems like. Yet, she apparently is so dazzling and charming that a Danish prince woos her. This does not speak well of the women in Denmark.
The Reckoning: Hell, yeah! A gang of bikers killed your family and you need to get your revenge on. Grab some shotguns, put some grenades in your pocket, pack a fucking flamethrower in your Hummer's backseat. It's time for THE RECKONING. That's right, bad guys. The muthafucking RECKONING is coming to smoke your ass like sweetgrass. You will not survive THE RECKONING. THE RECKONING is going to stomp you like twice-crushed gravel. What? What did you say to me? It's about a priest and some actors in the 14th century? That's THE RECKONING? Really? Paul Bettany is in it? You're joking. Well, shit. I like my movie better.
Red Trousers: The Life of the Hong Kong Stuntman: One of the great things about living in Austin is that not a week goes by that you don't see some weird, obscure documentary playing for one week and then disappearing into the Nothingmist. You can't walk anywhere in Austin without tripping over an obscure documentary. You'll be walking along the Drag and screw up your ankle and look down and there's a documentary on the sidewalk about elderly lesbians who want to adopt. You get up and brush off your pants and a bird shits a documentary about union strippers on your shoulder. They're everywhere. This one is about what's in the title. Be careful you don't skin your knee on it.
Walking Tall: I really think this movie needs to switch titles with The Reckoning. In fact, if they'd done that, they could have tweaked the title to make it THE ROCKENING. That would have kicked ass. Anyway, I quite like The Rock. He has maybe the best head in human history. It's got a great shape and contains fantastically malleable features. I think he ought to be the biggest action star in the world right now. He has personality oozing out of every pore, seems smart enough and doesn't take himself too seriously. A great many folks liked The Rundown, which should have been crap but somehow wasn't. But this movie looks like it's going to just get absolutely buried, which is a shame because it's certainly not going to make it any easier for The Rock to be the next Terminator. He'll be lucky if he's the next roach exterminator after this one. Oh, and the dude with the freaky blue eyes from Boomtown is in it too. I'm not sure if that's a plus or not.
DVDs: Still trying to wade through Matrix Revolutions which somehow is even more boring than Reloaded. How'd they do that? Still want to see Capturing the Friedmans and Love Actually just landed on my desk. Frida has turned into dust and blown off my TV set.
Thursday, April 01, 2004
Zombies, toxicity, "Gay or Asian" and mucho game-o
L'il Floaty Omie Head talks about horror movies, Britney, lazy comedy and the plethora of cool games out there. (I'm playing some Unreal Tournament 2004 myself right now. Has anybody gotten the voice chat to work on that? It's stumpin' me. Or maybe games I'm finding online just aren't using it.)
Incidentally, if you want to see the "Gay or Asian?" thing I mention in the blog, the vile thing is here. Long story short: in corporate America, you can't always link what you want.
And bad news: No Movies This Week until tomorrow. Sorry, y'all. It's been a crazy day. But I promise a super special bonus suprise to make up for keeping you waiting.
Wednesday, March 31, 2004
The comedy keeps coming
From a man who calls himself... Jim:
A univeristy Prof. tells her students that, unless they have a serious medical reason for not attending tomorrow's final exam, she expects to see them there on time, or face a failing grade.
One smart ass in the back says, "So, if I was suffering from severe sexual exhaustion would you excuse me from the test?"
"No," the Professor answered, "I'd tell you to write with your other hand."
Shit, I need to lighten the mood in here a little.
I've asked my homies on the Terribly-Happy Community on Orkut to post jokes with the promise that I'll post them here if they are A. funny, B. not 100,000 lines long.
Here's the first one, from TranceJen:
Why do farts stink?
So deaf people can enjoy them, too.
Hee. I feel better already.
This has been one of those far-away weeks, the kind where you feel that you're observing your life from a one-foot orbit, rather than participating; moving the limbs and the mouth by remote control rather than pushing buttons and pulling levers in the brain.
That may have something to do with the avalanche of important dates coming up (First Communion, Confirmation, lots of friends' birthdays, a script reading and, oh, yeah, a wedding) and the feeling that all these social obligations are passing me by on my race to keep up with work and its related stresses.
Last night, I did my very first Confession. (Or as they call it in the church now, "Reconcilliation.")
I walked into a very small room with a priest who obviously predated Vatican II. It's not like in the movies, we were told. You don't go in and say, "Father forgive me for I've sinned, it's been xx years since my last confessions, blah blah blah." Instead, we were told, you can just go in there and talk and ask them to walk you through it if you're not familiar. This priest sighed heavily when I told him it was my first reconcilliation and that I needed some help. He asked me to list sins in kind and number. I kept things intentionally vague, keeping in my own mind the specifics while listing areas of my life I felt needed improvement. As a sort of gimme, I mentioned sex and the priest leapt on that, asking for specific numbers which, frankly and not to boast, I've simply lost count of. He kept asking if there was anything else, and I really couldn't think of anything although I know there must be plenty, nearly 29 years of sinning, that could have (should have?) been rattled off.
But I was still floaty, still feeling removed from my own skin and life, and all the sins that are my life felt distant, shoeboxed, the actions of someone else in a movie I half-remembered.
The tally: 10 Our Fathers and 10 Hail Marys.
A girl in my class asked what I got. "Oh, I only got three of each," she said.
"How old are you?" I asked.
"Don't worry," I told her, "you'll catch up."
Monday, March 29, 2004
Blogger in Austin
I was so wrapped up in our South by Southwest film coverage that I missed going to the Blogger Party at Club Deville.
Not that I would have known anybody there, but it looks like a funky, eclectic group of people were on hand, which is par for the red interior at Club Deville. It's one of those bars where you really don't feel cool enough to be sitting there and then you have a few drinks and don't care about that anymore. We should all have a deep-red-lit bar in our lives.
True Tales of Journalism
Absolutely true work-related conversation:
Me: Can we use "Piss Christ?"
Another editor: Well, it was a pretty big deal in the news.
Me: So we can say "Piss Christ" in the paper?
Another Editor: I don't see why not.
I went to the big Alamo premiere in San Antonio, and there's lots to be said about it (including photos!), but I'll save that for a little bit later when I have time to write it up. I'll just say for now that it was a huge event, the biggest movie premiere I've ever attended, and that Billy Bob Thornton is as oily in real life as he appears on screen.
In the meantime, check this out Sopranos fans: Adriana to be a Tribiani. So, er, I'm thinking she's not long for the Tony Soprano world, huh?
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