Sunday, February 24, 2008

Thoughts on the Oscar telecast

6ish—Gary Busey scares Jennifer Garner on red carpet with a powerful bear hug/neck kiss. She then refers to the 75% loony Busey as “this man”—obviously not recognizing who he is.

7:05—John Travolta interviewed on ABC—HD reveals face lifts and a horrible chia pet styled toupee. My God man—get rid of the toupee!

7:47—Host Jon Stewart’s monologue ends. I like Stewart so I enjoyed it. Without trying too hard he’s pithy with his barbs of loving mockery. I’m just glad it wasn’t Whoopi Goldberg up there.

8:02—I’m a big fan of Amy Adams (she did make the recent Top5 after all) but that song from Enchanted is quite annoying.

8:20—Fifty minutes into the telecast and we finally get to the first important award for supporting actor. This was a no-brainer: Javier Bardem for No Country For Old Men. Although I’m a Phillip Seymour Hoffman fan, I can’t really argue with Bardem winning, as he was mesmerizing in that role.

8:32—The irritating Jerry Seinfeld in animated bee guise shows up and the bee’s haircut is nearly identical to that rug Travolta was wearing. I am baffled, he makes millions and millions of dollars and he wears a toupee that looks like an animated bee head?

8:40—Best supporting actress was a bit of a surprise. I thought Cate Blanchett had it easy for I’m Not There but Tilda Swinton won it for her Michael Clayton role. I was relieved Ruby Dee didn’t win for her whopping 90 seconds of screen time. Swinton gave a funny little speech but unfortunately was wearing something that resembled a hefty bag made out of velvet. What an ugly dress!

8:50—Quasi-hermit writer Cormac McCarthy is shown in the audience. What’s next—Thomas Pynchon coming out to sing a song?

9:15—Marion Cotillard wins best actress and I’m kind of sad. I’ve had a crush on her in little movies for years and before tonight she was a French secret—known only to male film geeks. Now that’s ruined.

9:19—Colin Farrell is an idiot.

9:24—Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova performing their song “Falling Slowly” is my favorite moment of the night so far—it might only be topped by the pair actually winning. The other nominated songs are more Broadway show-tunes—which makes this one even better.

9:49—Yes! Hansard and Irglova do win for best song. Afterward, Stewart got off one of his best quips of the night regarding Hansard’s surprised and awestruck speech—“that guy is so arrogant.” Funny. Thanks to Stewart for bringing out Marketa and letting her give her speech after the show’s director cut her off. Seeing them win and their joy makes the entire night worth it.

10:26—Diablo Cody wins best screenplay and is wearing a get up that looks like she’s Betty Page channeling Jane—as in Tarzan. Wow, we have a battle for worst outfit: Cody and her animal print vs. Swinton and her hefty bag.

10:35—Daniel Day-Lewis wins best actor and uses a bunch of words that might go over the heads of some viewers—it’s nice to be literate and speak like a poet. I bow down to the guy so it’s kind of rough for me to think about not seeing him in another movie for years and years.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

1998-2007 career stats

I just updated that "stats" from last year and since it was the 10th year of keeping track of every film I see, where I see them, who I was with and where the film is from--I thought I'd post the entire massive list.

10 years. I love looking at some of these places I've watched a film and some of the people I saw a movie with I don't even remember who they are! Friend of friends for the most part. I am the CineRobot, ha. Okay, here goes...

1998-2007 total films seen: 2,271

Films by year

1998: 262
1999: 285
2000: 263
2001: 151
2002: 200
2003: 195
2004: 265
2005: 228
2006: 216
2007: 208

Films by month

January: 190
February: 158
March: 171
April: 159
May: 264
June: 271
July: 200
August: 147
September: 156
October: 149
November: 161
December: 238

Films by decade

1910-19: 5
1920-29: 15
1930-39: 37
1940-49: 51
1950-59: 57
1960-69: 84
1970-79: 133
1980-89: 188
1990-99: 639
2000+++: 1,041

Where I saw 'em

619: Tulsa, Okla.
550: Seattle, Wash.
438: Pryor Creek, Okla.
361: Norman, Okla.
85: Manhattan, NY
64: Astoria, NY
31: Oklahoma City, Okla.
28: Dallas, tex.
11: On a jet airplane
9: Budapest, Hungary
8: Helsinki, Finland
7: Broken Arrow, Okla.; Siloam Springs, Ark.
4: Rogers, Ark.; Santa Fe, NM
3: Jenks, Okla.; Springdale, Ark.
2: Rapid City, SD; Saint Louis, MO; Tallinn, Estonia; Washington, DC; West Palm Beach, Flor.
1: Bozeman, Mont.; Branson, MO; Claremore, Okla.; Fort Worth, tex.; Guyman, Okla.; Hollywood, Cali.; Krakow, Poland; Los Feliz, Cali.; Madison, Wisc.; McCook, Neb.; Miami, Flor.; Missoula, Mont.; Montreal, Canada; Muskogee, Okla.; Treasure Cay, Bahamas; Trinidad, Colo.; Turku, Finland; Warsaw, Poland; Weir's Beach, NH

Who I saw 'em with

1,458: Alone
164: Lillian
102: Nancy
70: In class
51: Laura B.
46: Otis
42: Shane
36: Robert
33: Brandi
17: Michael N.; Sherrill
16: Trevor K.; Kelly
14: Phillip
13: Scott; Sara Y.
12: Sveta
11: Bobby
9: Cameron; Gunter; Donnie
8: Fitzhume
6: Seth; Leah
5: Joshua; Emily; Lilly; Molly; Betty; Rosemary
4: Nicole
3: Victoria; Michael A.; Paige; Kylie; Greg
2: Angie; Amy C.; Larry; Beth; Dave; Jack; Sheri; Sacha; Tim
1: Siophan; John; Brent; Gertrude; Migee; Steven; Billy; Martha; Norma; Shelly; Sandy; Katrina; Clay; Sara B.; Chuck W.; Missy; Denny; Bruce; Trevor P.; Pedro; Jory; Shawn; Chuck I.; Barbara; Laura W.; Linda; Ellen; Ashley; Amy V.; Polly; Jeff; Rig; Shirl; Ingrid; Katherine; Momeko;

Country of origin

1,486: US and A!
117: France
106: England
75: Japan
41: Italy
33: Hong Kong; Spain
27: South Korea
23: Germany
22: Canada
20: Australia
18: China
16: Ireland
12: Taiwan
11: Iran
9: Denmark; Mexico
8: Sweden; Czech Republic
7: Russia; Scotland
6: Israel; Poland
5: Hungary; Thailand; New Zealand
4: Austria; India
3: Norway; Belgium; Yugoslavia
2: Serbia; Cuba; Iceland; Finland; Brazil; Algeria
1: Romania; Argentina; Greece; Bosnia; Slovenia; Kyrqizstan; Holland; Ethiopia; Turkey; Venezuela; Mongolia; South Africa; Chile; Latvia

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Worst films I saw in 2007

Since I’m not writing reviews for anyone—I wasn’t asked to see new releases that might be awful…so, this is the worst I saw in 2007. These are the unedited reviews taken directly from my Kinetoscope film journal I’ve kept since ’98. These reviews, written the day I’ve seen the film, tend to be short, to the point, comical, full of fragmented sentences and mean-spirited. Maybe I should go over them and choose some interesting old ones to post?

28 Weeks Later—2007—England—watched in Tallinn, Estonia on June 7; Had to get in a second film here in Tallinn. I didn’t like this at all. A vile filled, waste of an opportunity to tell an interesting story about what happens post zombie holocaust. Instead, we get an absurd film about a father (the annoying as usual Robert Carlyle) who lies, then becomes a “zombie,” then follows and hunts down his kids to eat them. I don’t think I’ve ever seen Carlyle in anything I liked—he is terrible! This was repugnant & a miserable & unenjoyable movie…Highly implausible.

10 Items or Less—2006—Usa—watched in Tulsa, Okla. on September 9; Terrible. Absolute dreck! Probably the worst film I’ll see all year. The film is just so unbelievably inauthentic and phony from start to finish. Morgan Freeman is a big time movie star who wears $100 t-shirts & claims to be blown away by Target yet is wearing friggin’ Wranglers! Enough said. Even the gorgeous sexpot Paz Vega can’t save this train wreck. Plus, it’s only 70 minutes long. Considering how shite this is—that is a favor.

RV—2006—Usa—watched in Tulsa, Okla. on Novermber 16; This was terrible. Really really bad. Not funny. Painfully unfunny. Embarrassingly unfunny. I only watched this because Jeff Daniels with a big mustache was in the cast. That wasn’t enough. Even with a good ‘stache. Robin Williams is hard to watch. When he’s bad—it’s train wreck bad. Dreck!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

The Awful Truth

Now, this is how it’s done. The reason I love romantic comedies so much is due to a film like The Awful Truth. Unfortunately, the majority of them today are not so great but in the 1930s? This was the golden age for my absolute favorite kind of romantic comedy—the screwball.

The Awful Truth combines the screwball elements in such wonderful ways that it reaches near the top of the genre. Why is it so good? It’s got two terrific leads—Irene Dunne and Cary Grant—who have perfect comic timing AND real onscreen chemistry that can not be faked. The Awful Truth has lots of smart dialogue spoken quickly between Dunne/Grant with the rest of the cast just a beat slower in tempo—a common screwball tactic. Toss in some great bits of business (aka physical comedy) and I’m happy.. Combine all those things and you get a classic Hollywood romantic comedy.

Dunne plays Lucy, married to Grant’s character of Jerry. After he gets home from a trip he believes his wife has betrayed him with another man. Divorce proceedings start. The couple has to wait 90 days for the divorce to be final—just enough time to get up to all kinds of shenanigans.

Lucy begins to date a slow talking oaf from Oklahoma City (a few subtle digs toward Oklahoma that had me chuckling); Jerry starts to date a stuffy Wasp—both Lucy and Jerry relish their various antics to cause turmoil in those new relationships. There’s one hilarious scene (of many) with Lucy (faking a drunk) pretending to be Jerry’s sister at his new girlfriend’s house that is the pinnacle of what a screwball scene can be (see the 6 minute scene below).

To say that Grant is terrific is a no-brainer—it’s Cary Grant! The real revelation is Irene Dunne. While Dunne was a star in 1937 and into the 1940s, she doesn’t have the timeless legacy her male co-star has because his career lasted so long and he was in so many great films. Lucy, thanks to Dunne’s performance, is a smart, independent and sexy woman who takes no guff from anyone. This shouldn’t be much of a surprise as the women in ‘30s Hollywood films were full of feistiness that the same qualities are lacking in movies now. Dunne exemplifies how much I love the glamour and the sass of actresses from this era. I just added a bunch of Dunne films in my Netflix queue that I’m eager to see.

The Awful Truth is as good as it can possibly get. It has movie stars at their best, it’s romantic, it’s intelligent and it’s as funny as all get out. This is the third time I’ve watched The Awful Truth and like movies this good—it gets better each time I see it. I’m not sure I like it as much as two of my favorite films (which are also screwball pictures) The Lady Eve or It Happened One Night but it’s a nearly flawless movie and I can hardly wait to watch it again in a few years.

The Awful Truth scene

Here's Irene Dunne stealing the show in a scene from The Awful Truth.

Monday, February 18, 2008

King Corn

I saw the documentary King Corn last weekend and while I enjoyed it--a brief look at how corn has become the only crop for Iowa farmers and all the damage it seems to do to us nutritionally--what I really love about it is the design of the poster.

I love rural scenes in graphic design and this poster has a lot in it that I like--the use of corn (actually two times, a large image in the middle and a corn field), two guys sitting on the top of a pick up truck and the yellow/green color scheme.

King Corn--a good documentary with an even better promotional poster.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

2 Days In Paris

2 Days In Paris is scathingly funny piece of romantic turmoil and culture shock from writer/director/star Julie Delpy. A person’s tolerance for on screen neurotics will help their appreciation of the film as if you aren’t into that—you won’t like this. 2 Days In Paris is the best “Woody Allen” styled comedy I’ve seen in some time—and to me that is a very good thing.

Marion and Jack are just finishing off a two-week trip to Italy. Marion, from Paris, plans a brief two-day stay so Jack, an American, can meet the folks/friends before heading back to New York. The couple have been together for two years but this trip has made them look at their relationship and gauge whether or not the person they’ve been with is the person they thought they were. You know the cliché regarding Paris—it’s the city for lovers; well, that partly might be true but the Paris on display here is a city that can damage as well as enflame that love.

Normally watching a film where the two leads bicker practically the entire film would not be something I’d enjoy. At some point the arguing reaches a point to where I want to break up with them and stop watching the movie just to be rid of them. The Break-Up from 2006 was one such recent mainstream movie. Vince Vaughn and Jennifer Aniston, fighting non-stop, I found tiresome by the end of the movie. So, for 2 Days In Paris to be such an enjoyable film for me is proof it has a lot of different things going for it—oh, the quarrels are there but it’s entertaining nonetheless.

The reason the film works is there’s a lot happening—the neurotic couple; the fish out of water comic elements (Jack is American; can’t speak French; lots of befuddlement); the outlandish family antics; the various incidents in Parisian taxis; the escalating jealousy of Jack as he seems to meet an endless parade of Marion’s former lovers; all of this with a great deal of quick-quick dialogue that makes you feel like your in a throwback screwball comedy yet set in France with cursing and nudity.

I also liked the fact that this was not just a Parisian/French love-a-thon for the city and people. Delpy takes real digs at her city/country (as well as taking some digs at Americans). This gives 2 Days In Paris a more honest tone in its comedy as its unrealistic to believe the city is as flawless and romantic as Paris gets portrayed in film after film. Don’t get me wrong, the city still is a vibrant, amazing place in the film but it and its people have some issues that Delpy puts out there for us to see.

2 Days In Paris is a bit of an over the top comic version of Delpy’s Before Sunrise and Before Sunset. Her persona was stamped firmly in those two films—she helped write the latter. At first, as I watched 2 Days In Paris, I was thinking this might be the end result of her relationship in those films if the couple were to stay together for two years but that’s not really the case. Marion is very similar but Jack is more manic and neurotic than Ethan Hawke’s character of Jesse.

2 Days In Paris is a charming comedy with two leads that have real chemistry (Delpy and Adam Goldberg were a one time couple). The comedy has a real bite to it though as these are neurotic, intelligent people, surrounded by other creative, sometimes eccentric people and the events that will challenge their relationship much deeper than they expect. Recommended for those of you looking for a modern screwball type of film done with French flare.

2 Days In Paris trailer

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Top5 for 2008!

It's been two years or so since I've gone public with my "Top5." The list can mean anything-- actors/actresses/celebrities you want to run off with for a weekend, have a tryst after coffee, go hang out in the park--whatever. I like to pick the actresses out who I think are talented AND attractive--but that's just me. I also like to include a woman who has been in at least one movie I've watched recently. Here's my updated Top5 for '08--3 of 5 are returnees from last time so I'll start with them.

Rachel Weisz. Rachel is going to be on the list for a long time it seems. The combination of English + incredible eyebrows + great actress is too much for me to ever consider removing her. Unless she goes batty or starts making crap movies, she may challenge Winona Ryder for "longest" time in my Top5. That's what got Ryder booted off the list!

Maggie Gyllenhaal
. Her character in Stranger Than Fiction cemented her to this list for years to come. That was a character I literally fell for a little bit even though I know it was fiction and "not real." As an actress, Gyllenhaal is pretty fearless--watch Secretary or SherryBaby for proof of that--and always lends an honesty to her roles. Plus, she's adorably sexy.

Zooey Deschanel. Another returnee from the previous list and someone who'll be on the list for a while--what can I say, I'm mostly monogamous when it comes to my Top5, ha. Zooey has a record coming out this year that is supposed to be very good and if you've heard her singing you know she has a great voice.

Marisa Tomei. She might have made the last list but might have just missed--either way, she's always around it. Her role in Before the Devil Knows Your Dead shot her back onto this list like a rocket. Watch the movie and you'll know what I'm talking about, ha. I've been into her since A Different World in 1987--I told you I'm loyal! By the way, I do NOT subscribe to "Mr. Skin," I just googled Marisa Tomei photos and went to a few of the top links on google. Although, that site did have some nice photos of her, ha.

Amy Adams. I've long been a fan of her work as she's done a lot of quirky, solid, unseen stuff over the years. The past couple of years she's broke out into the bigtime--Junebug, Talladega Nights, Charlie Wilson's War and Enchanted. And the red hair doesn't hurt her in Top5 consideration either!

Friday, February 01, 2008

January movies

The TV Set---2007---usa---****
Love & Basketball---2000---usa---***1/2
Beijing Rocks---2001---hong kong---***
Margot at the Wedding---2007---usa---***1/2
Sweet Talker---1992---australia---**
'Til There Was You---1997---usa---**1/2
There Will Be Blood---2007---usa---****1/2
Comanche Moon---2008---usa---***
The Road Warrior---1981---australia---*****!
The Road Warrior---1981---australia---*****!