Showing posts from February, 2008

Oscars 2008: How Much Have You Seen? And Does It Matter If You Haven't? And If You Have, Who Cares?

Late in January, Jen and I took in a late afternoon showing of Michael Clayton, which completed our yearly goal of seeing all five Best Picture Oscar nominees before the actual Oscar ceremony in February. At the time, we weren't even sure, due to some peasants' strike that seemed to have all of Hollywood in an uproar, that there would even be a ceremony this year, which would have been sad as it would take away a chance for people unused to the superb Jon Stewart to yet again grouse about wanting the much safer Billy Crystal back as host. (Nothing against Billy, but Jon is, currently, the man...)

You would think that seeing all five contenders for Best Picture would also mark us up for most of the other major categories, but you would be wrong in this assumption. Yes, this feat enabled us to see four of the five nominated directors' films, and six (combined with Ratatouille) of the ten nominated screenplays. In conjunction with seeing Sweeney Toddand Eastern Promises, we ha…

Huh? What?

I am terrible with excuses this week. What can one say? I had several topics planned to write about this week, and I just simply got lost.

Lost in work, lost in my unending "post-bronchitic" cough (as my doctor in Wisc. termed it, now starring in a throat near me for over three weeks, standing room only), lost in taking care of a recovering from surgery Jen, lost in hanging out with Jen's mom, lost in developing a possible new short film project, lost in the comforting text of a couple of really awesome books, lost in taking care of my newly injured (yet again) sweet, sweet Isabelle...

Lost... lost... lost...

This week, I even watched three episodes of Lost on top of all this, just to keep the theme going.

And now I have found myself again... until I get lost -- whether by incident, accident or purposefulness -- once more...

What's My Obsession? What's My Line?

Outside of the mega-brainy Jeopardy , old school Match Game larf-fests, the not-really-a-gameshow The Gong Show, the Groucho-rich You Bet Your Life, and the occasional current episode of Lingo (where my chief compulsion is to stare like a drooling idiot at Bush-lovin' ex-Miss USA Shandi Finnessey, who could only get hotter to me if she were actually discovered to be a bush-lovin' ex-Miss USA instead), I am really not a game show guy.

In fact, as a breed, they sort of make me sad to a large degree. This could be because much of my time spent viewing them was when I was either stuck at home sick as a kid, so watching them reminds me of being sick, or when I was stuck inside on summer vacations due to rainstorm or snow blizzard, with no hope of actually doing anything fun. They also remind me of those bygone days when, if you were indeed stuck inside at home due to inclement weather or illness, you only had the four local channels and some fuzzy UHF to rely on for entertainment, a…

Recently Rated Movies #59: "Turtle?" "No... Tuttle!"

The Passionate Plumber
Director: Edward Sedgwick // 1932
Cinema 4 Rating: 6

An interesting thing happened amongst the pillars of reticence in my mind when I was first approaching MGM's initial attempt to turn two comic geniuses, Buster Keaton and Jimmy Durante, into a new comedy team in the early 1930s: I started to enjoy it.

I approached The Passionate Plumber with such reticence because I had not only heard and read many disparaging things about this pairing over the years, but had also heard ill tidings about this movie in particular. Also, I had something called silentkeatonitis: an affliction, far more common than one might think, acquired by anyone raised solely on the Great Stoneface's masterpieces. Over the years, except for The Villain Still Pursued Her, Sunset Blvd., Chaplin's Limelight and his '60s work, I have largely avoided most Keaton efforts outside of the silent days, preferring to let that period of excellence go untainted by the lesser efforts.


Reasons for Yesterday's "Reasons... #1"

Perhaps someone wrote me, perhaps not. You will never know for sure. I will not give you that pleasure. Given that about three of my old friends back home even bother to contact me anymore, let alone comment on this blog, it is just as likely that no one sent me a comment or email reaction to yesterday's totally selfish and slathering posting that I titled "Reasons I Am Watching the Sarah Connor Chronicles Even Though I Never Saw the Last Terminator Film and Haven't Given A Rat's Ass in 10 Years #1."

Or maybe they did. I get some strange, random comments from people of whom I have never had any contact before, and if I were to be honest (which I might be, or not. You will never know for sure. That pleasure, too, I am denying you), I might admit that I care even more about these occurrences than I do those that drift in sporadically from my ex-entourage. Maybe one of these random emails mentioned some concern about the brevity of my comments on the picture that I s…

Reasons I Am Watching the Sarah Connor Chronicles Even Though I Never Saw the Last Terminator Film and Haven't Given A Rat's Ass in 10 Years #1

Sweet, sweet Summer Glau...

...even if Luis thinks she has a giant forehead...

Technically, doesn't a "preview" still count as a "view"? (Pt. III - The Conclusion)

[Continued from yesterday... really...]
So, how would it feel to my unrelaxed and reluctant self seeing the upcoming, brand-new, animated Dreamworks comedy Kung-Fu Panda five months before its release?

Animated films are done on a much longer though tighter schedule, and it is rare for extraneous scenes to get beyond the storyboard or animatix stage (unless they are purposefully done that way to cash in on the current vogue for Easter eggs and DVD bonus features). Like most films, and especially films with large doses of special effects, they are tweaked practically up until the moment of release, so it left me wondering just what form this film would be in for this January preview. How complete would this film be? Surely, the voicework -- usually the first completed element following the script -- would be intact, but how advanced would the animation be at what felt to me to be a relatively late date? Would I finally see an advance screening which truly felt in a full manner to be an a…

Technically, doesn't a "preview" still count as a "view"? (Pt. II)

[Continued from last Thursday, Jan. 31st, waaaay past the time I said it would...]

And that is how Jen and I found ourselves sitting at a five-months-in-advance screening of the upcoming, brand-new, animated Dreamworks comedy... Kung Fu Panda.

It is exceedingly hard to enjoy oneself at an advance preview. Let me qualify that as a more personal concern: it is exceedingly hard to me to enjoy myself at an advance preview. For the bulk of the people sitting about me, they carried on like it was just any other movie on any other afternoon, chatting, joking, kicking seats, purchasing far more popcorn than they can possibly eat and far more soda than is good for them at far too hefty a price, both monetarily and physically... the usual nonsense. What mattered most was the affordability of the situation (i.e. FREE -- which I must admit appeals to me greatly as well, especially at this economically tight moment) and the exceedingly selfish and wonderful sense that you were part of an exclusive g…

Isn't this the way?

Isn't this the way?

You get sick, you don't go to the doctor, you start to feel better after a few days, then you get hit with a recurring cough. After a week of this, you get tired of coughing, and you finally go to a doctor.

And they tell you that they want you to tough it out.

No medicine. No anti-biotics. You have what the doc terms a "post-bronchitic cough" (she actually used the qualifier, "Well, I'm going to call it a--" when imparting this to me). And then you get shuffled out the door to face the 15-degree Wisconsin winter alone. Well, not alone. You've got that cough at your side. Or in your lungs.

So, I am coughing, coughing, coughing. My stepmother is up in arms and worried about me, my grandmother is worried about me, and I now have to greet every long-distant relation and neighbor with a hand over my mouth trying to block the cacophonous rasp that shoots out anytime I even think of breathing. Not to mention that I lose my voice every three…

On Wisconsin! (...and a bit off-kilter...)

Yes, thank you. I know... I know, I haven't finished the promised conclusion regarding my test screening visit to Kung Fu Panda. I said on Thursday last week, "To be continued tomorrow..."

Tomorrow was Friday, and I got some sort of monkey pox-like thing in my system. When I got home from work, I was coughing every 3.2 milliseconds and unable to even see straight. This in itself would not have been enough to keep me from writing into the weekend, perhaps even concluding the piece on Saturday.

And then our cable cut out on us. And with it, the internet.

We had paid our bill. The next installment wasn't even due for a couple of weeks, but I made doubly sure and paid that as well. Nothing. No signal in any of the three rooms where Time Warner's service held entertainment control within our abode. A call to technical support found a very helpful rep trying to ping and ping and re-ping our modem, DVR and cable box to no avail, though I did have a very pleasant discussio…