Wednesday, June 17, 2009

movies I want to see (book-adaptations and a tip of the hat to the ladies edition)

Draco gets expanded characterization compared to previous books and movies. Snape gets screentime. The only book with better news for Slytherins is the seventh. I can't wait to see Narcissa's scenes, for the record. I hope she gets to keep them from the book.


Ben Whishaw, who is exclusively doing period pieces it seems, and Abbie Cornish star as John Keats and Fanny Brawne in Bright Star. and Paul Schneider, Gus from Lars and the Real Girl, plays Charles Brown, the thorny third angle to Keats' and Brawne's romance. He resents Brawne because he regards love as being detrimental to poetry. Drama ensues.

Jane Campion remains the only female director to have won the Palme d'Or (with The Piano - and off the top of my head, I think she actually shared that one in a tie with Kaige Chen for Farewell, My Concubine, which was the first mainland Chinese film to win the Palme d'Or), but she was definitely in contention this year with Bright Star. Michael Haneke's The White Ribbon took the prize, but Campion's film is probably going to be easier to find in the US. Haneke's worldview is just too depressing for US audiences.


So this one is a little older than the others, but it still hasn't been released anywhere near where I live. Kathryn Bigelow directs. She's an oddity in the action genre, but one which I heartily endorse.


An Education premiered at Sundance. I've loved Peter Sarsgaard since I saw him in Kinsey. The premise of this movie is nothing special - a teenage girl falls in love with a much older playboy in 1960's London. But the acting promises to be great. Carey Mulligan plays protagonist Jenny, and she was plucked from acting on Broadway. (The Seagull opposite Kristin Scott Thomas!)


Not your father's Star Trek? Not anybody's Sherlock Holmes, either!

Distribution is ambitious. Christmas Day. I'm sad Jude Law isn't on the movie poster. I'd think that his name is just as large as Robert Downey Jr's.

But I, for one, am insanely happy that Watson is being fairly represented. Jude Law is actually a little too skinny for my tastes, but I can finally envision Watson as (a very slight) rugby player, fit from serving in Afghanistan and faithful follower of Sherlock Holmes.


A different kind of directorial triumph if this movie is recognized. In any case, this looks like a very powerful movie.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Taste these teeth please/And undress me from these sweaters better hurry/Cause I'm keeping upward bound now/Oh maybe I'll build my house on your cloud


Today, I drive my mom's car to where I volunteer. I lock the car, file, sort, and organize for 3 hours, and then happily go back to the parking lot (via the BACK DOOR today, since I finally got the code to unlock it) to drive home. Too bad the car alarms start blaring. I quickly look around the parking lot. Didn't anyone hear this and want to come out and investigate? The alarm dies after about 60 seconds of chaos. I cautiously try again. The alarm starts up. This cycle repeats about two more times.

At this point most people probably would have given up. But I soldier on through. And finally start the car without all hell breaking loose.

My question is as follows: What the hell are car alarms for if not to tell people that THIS CAR IS BEING TAMPERED WITH, here? Everyone is so immune to them that I could have actually been breaking in, and nobody would have cared. In fact, a man came out of the office across the street, saw me trying in vain to stop this alarm, and all he did was smile at me and then drive off in his own car.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

We are the people that rule the world /


I saw Up yesterday. It made me laugh and cry, but I was still bitterly disappointed.

Carl and Ellie's story, told as it is mostly in images and without words, had me bawling. I don't even know why, as it's a fairly typical story of two people growing old together.

Dug made me laugh. The Cone of Shame, in particular, was a nice touch and its use at the very end is a nice illustration of how the circumstance can influence a person's identity.

But holy crap. The Wilderness Explorer (a Boy Scout parody) kid, Russell, was beyond annoying. It got to the point where I was groaning every time he came on screen, which was basically every minute of the last 3/4ths of the movie. His existence just reaffirmed my opinion that kids suck. Every minute on screen he was whining, pouting, or arguing. Or looking "sad." I put sad in quotation marks because that kind of "ohhhh poor me I'm a puppy don't kick me" look doesn't work well unless it's on a puppy's face (read: Dug).

The part that angered me, though, was the ageism against Carl. Oh, sure, he's 70+ and the real hero of the movie, but that doesn't stop the old-people jokes from flying fast and furious. My question: What's the point of making a character a hero if the movie just makes fun of said character the entire time?


Today I read Someday This Pain Will Be Useful, by Peter Cameron. It's about an 18-year-old boy, James Sveck. He has gotten into Brown but is thinking about abandoning college to live in a no-name town in the Midwest and pick up a trade, all because he hates people his own age and would much rather be a loner. He is the quintessential rich white city boy. He doesn't fit in anywhere. He spends his time thinking about the past, and hates pop culture but is at the same time very aware of the culture. He's able to pinpoint a Marimekko dress that is worn backwards, and identify a Comme des garcons shirt. Those are pretty obscure high fashion brands!

The one part that stood out the most to me was when James is attending the American Classroom, one of those week-long camp things run by conservatives that supposedly give you experience in civics and government. Actually, James is telling the reader what happened during his stay with the American Classroom, which happens several months prior to the present of the book. James likes to sit alone at the tables because he is acutely aware of his own uncomfortableness with other kids and also disdains the rules that govern their (and his) lives, such as having the back of the bus reserved for the "cool kids." (Oh, how I remember that the cool kids were always in the back, and you really wanted the back seat, and how this one bus driver would reserve the back seat for the birthday kid.)

During the intermission of a dinner theater performance, another girl invites James to sit with her table. James is disgusted because he recognizes that she thinks she is doing him a favor, and is trying to be nice, but he doesn't think that it's nice at all. He would much rather be alone.

And so I find this a really strange book to put in the young adult section of a bookstore or a library, but that's where this book is classified. I suppose it's for all the loners of the world, but I can't say if this is an optimistic book or not. James finds that not even his dream of living in a beautiful old home in the Midwest can stand up to scrutiny. He ends up attending Brown, but it's not an active decision.

This worldview is so completely from all the other books and movies out there. this one says it's okay to feel like James does, although it probably won't make you happy.

When I read this book, I ended up just feeling sad. I recognized all the social awkwardness in myself, but I was also too cowardly to buck the silly rules that James disregards.

Friday, June 5, 2009

movies I want to see 2 (fall/winter/beyond edition)

As I have previously mentioned, I really want to see this movie. Alejandro AmenĂ¡bar, Rachel Weisz. Atheism and Christianity during a troubled Rome.


This looks like a scifi movie along the lines of Gattaca, not really Rendezvous with Rama hard scifi but also not Serenity or the new Star Trek cowboy space opera fun. BUT. It's only playing in NY or LA? Kill me dead.

Also, Kevin Spacey voices GERTY, the on-board computer.


European zombie horror flick.


Okay, so this one is coming out in the summer, not in the fall/winter/beyond.


One of my favorite books as a child, and I reread it a lot at work.


Okay, so I couldn't find a movie poster for this movie, even though it's been completed for months and is being set up for a Best Picture Oscar run.

it has Hilary Swank and Ewan McGregor, and if you know me, you know I love Ewan McGregor. What else? Richard Gere is also in this baby, and it's directed by Mira Nair. I may be wrong, but I think this is the first movie directed by a woman to appear on these lists. There is such a shortage of directors who are female.


I really hate the movie poster for this movie. I suppose it's better than not having one, though. But in any case, that's why it's not here.

Guess what? It's Ewan McGregor again. And apparently Jim Carrey in a The Truman Show-like performance, and not like his recent comedies. This movie was apparently banned to NC-17-land for a moment there, but I think it's back to R. It looks like a Catch Me If You Can-type con movie, which tickles me greatly.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

For small creatures such as we

"For small creatures such as we the vastness is bearable only through love." --Carl Sagan, Contact