Tuesday, July 31, 2007
Full disclosure: I'm not a Danny Boyle fan. I can count the number of films of his that I enjoy on one fist. Trainspotting had that Underworld song in it's coda, and Millions' intentions were sweet, but really you can do without the whole lot. Like 28 Days Later, there are moments in Sunshine that are so visually displeasing, nothing but the word amateur could be used to describe it's maker.
Boyle resorts to cheap horror film techniques for the film's final act. The cameras gloss over the narrative missteps with blurs and saturation; it's like bad Tony Scott (and he's one of the worst...).
Maybe it's unfair to Boyle, on a day when the passing of two film giants were on my mind, that I took in his movie. But nah ... the The Darjeeling Limited trailer played during the previews, and it gave me a thrill. It reminded me that there are still original filmmakers out there ... they just don't make pictures once a year like they used too.
Nah ... it can't be! What happened to viva el socialisimo???
Ahhhh ... it's because los dólares del impuesto are going to an American! Spain isn't so proud of their government funded arts program when it benefits a dirty YANQUIS!!
As actors and film crews working for Woody Allen clog up the already bustling streets of Barcelona this summer, the residents of this eastern Spanish city have begun to ask why their city hall is helping fund the director's next film.
With a section of the city's famously busy Las Ramblas boulevard among the streets to have been blocked off for Allen and stars such as Scarlett Johansson and Penélope Cruz, the grumbling has turned into a political row.
Some 10% of the budget for the film, known as The Barcelona Project and featuring Spanish actor Javier Bardem, comes from city and Catalan regional taxpayers.
Barcelona city hall has set aside almost €1m (£680,000) to help fund the film, as well as providing police escorts for Johansson and others. A further €500,000 comes from the regional government of Catalonia.
Opposition politicians have accused the city's socialist administration of being so obsessed with the New York director that its members had queued to get their photograph taken with him.
"They spend money on this film, but seem to find it difficult to give money to Spanish or Catalan films," said Alberto Fernández of the opposition People's party.
The film's Spanish producers say it has received the same public grants as Spanish films. But the city's contribution has taken the form of direct investment from the city hall, which it says it hopes to recoup from the film's profits. (GUARDIAN)
Hey film gods ... would you at least give me room to breathe and grieve over one before you have to take another? geez.
---------> NY Times
Monday, July 30, 2007
The rest of the obit ----> HERE
***In addition, The Guardian's film section has already cranked out some great obits, timelines, articles, photos, etc. Check it all out ------------------> HERE***
In fact, thanks to Woody Allen's humility in always giving credit where credit is due, he constantly acknowledged his lifting from Bergman films. I loved Woody Allen, so of course, I wanted to check out Ingmar Bergman. I can't remember the first film of his that I watched ... probably either Through A Glass Darkly or The Seventh Seal ..., but I didn't instantly connect with either; one of Roger Ebert's books helped me through it. But today, in that tome of tough-to-answer questions, the one that asks, "Who are your favorite directors?", would get an "Ingmar Bergman" answer from me.
Hour of the Wolf ... Wild Strawberries ... Cries and Whispers ... Fanny and Alexander ... Autumn Sonata ... Shame ... The Virgin Spring ... they're all untouchable.
And Persona is the touchstone. Like Ebert said of Dusan Makavejev's Sweet Movie, "it defies criticism". It's in that sealed glass case with Birth of a Nation, Battleship Potemkin, Citizen Kane, Breathless, L'Avventura, 2001 : A Space Odyssey. Love them or hate them, it would be futile to argue against the flagpoles each of these films planted on the film history timeline.
Persona never stops giving back. At 85 minutes, it's as dense as a 4 hour epic. Each frame projects meaning. If anything, Persona taught me to be an active viewer. It's the type of movie that bring's on fatigue. It's OK if you fall asleep. It's a side-effect of the trance you've been locked into. But be sure to watch Persona alone; don't let anybody's comments interfere with the post-game show inside your head. I've seen it 4 times, and my interpretation of it still bounces around.
Luckily, Criterion just released 5 of Bergman's early films on DVD. I've only seen To Joy at this point. It's not great, but it's a fun peek at the portrait of the artist as a young man, and it's another chapter for Bergman fans to delve into. If you're a film fan, Ingmar Bergman has changed your life. You just may not know it yet, like I didn't when I first watched Annie Hall.
John Amaechi revealed his sexual orientation in a recent autobiography, "Man in the Middle," published after he left the Utah Jazz of the National Basketball Assn. He sensed the change in attitude when he visited a Southern college campus during a promotional tour.
"A bunch of shirtless frat guys playing volleyball recognized me and started yelling," he said. "They were saying that they love what I'm doing."
Joey Fisher encountered a similar response at the University of Georgia, where his teammates recall thinking, Wow, gay people play hockey? when the goalie came out. No one mentioned anything to him at first.
But then, Fisher said, "about three days into training camp, one of my teammates tried to set me up with a friend of his. A guy."
Sunday, July 29, 2007
Wednesday, July 25, 2007
Two middle-school students in Oregon are facing possible time in a juvenile jail and could have to register as sex offenders for smacking girls on the rear end at school.
Cory Mashburn and Ryan Cornelison, both 13, were arrested in February after they were caught in the halls of Patton Middle School, in McMinnville, Ore., slapping girls on the rear end. Mashburn told ABC News in a phone interview that this was a common way of saying hello practiced by lots of kids at the school, akin to a secret handshake.
The boys spent five days in a juvenile detention facility and were charged with several counts of felony sex abuse for what they and their parents said was merely inappropriate but not criminal behavior.
The local district attorney has since backed off -- the felony charges have been dropped and the district attorney said probation would be an appropriate punishment. The Mashburns' lawyer said prosecutors offered Cory a plea bargain that would not require him to register as a sex offender, which the family plans to reject.
But the boys, if convicted at an Aug. 20 trial, still face the possibility of some jail time or registering for life as sex offenders. (ABC)
If butt slapping is a "sex offense", then I'm Gary Glitter! (ok...maybe I picked a bad example with GG ... ) ... how about ... then I'm Pete Townsend (CRAP!! why do I keep picking pedophiles [AL-LEG-ED-LY !!!] ). Anyway, you get my point ...
Look. I don't think it's right to be slapping random girls on the ass, and if the girl kicks you in the gnads for doing it then you asked for it ... but sex offender status? Come on. Especially for teens hitting puberty. I mean, dude, your hormones make you do stupid sh*t. Just ask the apple - with a 2" diameter hole cut out of it - that I experimented with in 10th grade.
Tuesday, July 24, 2007
Many species of kangaroo are no longer endangered in Australia. In fact, they are bouncing all over the frigging place, and in order to control the population they started making shoes - among other things - out of their hides.
But Cali animal rights groups still don't like it:
"The bottom line is they've decided the California law is constitutional. As of now, it is illegal to sell products made of kangaroos in California," said Orly Degani, a lawyer for Viva! USA, an animal rights group that first filed a lawsuit in 2003 challenging the sale of kangaroo-skin shoes in the state.
A lawyer for the Humane Society of the United States, which filed a "friend of the court" brief on behalf of plaintiffs Viva! USA, called the court's decision "critically important" for species other than just kangaroos -- such as grizzly bears, bald eagles and wolves, which are dependent on state protection. (Reuters)
Grizzly bear shoes ... now that would be pretty fresh.
When asked about the endangered species of english speaking people in southern California, the activists had "no comment".
While Miss Middleton, 25, has made a name for herself as the elegant companion of Prince William, Emma Sayle, 29, has made a name for herself too - organising risque parties for wealthy, attractive and broadminded couples.
"Killing Kittens" sure is a raunchy name for an orgy club. It sounds like slang for "pounding pu**y". I didn't know the Brits were so hardcore. I wonder if Posh and Becks were "broadminded" before they came to America?
Monday, July 23, 2007
p.s. Is there anyone out there with bionic eyes that can make out what credit it is that is given to Satyijat Ray and Merchant Ivory?!? Interesting.... (CLICK IMAGE FOR BIGGER VIEW).
Laszlo Kovacs, one of Hollywood's most influential and respected directors of photography, died Saturday night in his sleep. He was 74.
Kovacs lensed the landmark cinematic achievement Easy Rider and compiled about 60 credits including Five Easy Pieces, Shampoo, Paper Moon, New York, New York, What's Up, Doc?, Ghostbusters, My Best Friend's Wedding, and Miss Congeniality.
The Hungary-born cinematographer also carried during his career a remarkable story of courage that occurred 50 years ago during his country's revolution. Kovacs was born and raised on a farm in Hungary when that country was isolated from the Western world, first by the Nazi occupation and later during the Cold War. Kovacs was in his final year of school in Budapest when a revolt against the communist regime started on the city streets. (Hollywood Reporter)
Among the notable films not mentioned above, Kovacs also shot:
The Last Movie (1971)
The King of Marvin Gardens (1972)
Say Anything (1989)
Interview with Laszlo Kovacs ------> HERE
Sunday, July 22, 2007
11:19 - "Never Again" - The single that everyone shrugged off. Much better than they'll let you believe ... Kelly's voice sounds like Corin Tucker's if Corin Tucker took voice lessons. In fact this album - as a whole - is way better than the last Sleater-Kinney album ... I wonder who the guy is that broke up with her. Was this pre-superstardom? Was this back in Burleson, TX.
11:22 - "One Minute" - Among the best songs on the album. Not sure if it's radio-friendly enough for a single release, but it's a great second song for the album. The chorus is better than the one for "Never Again". Really catchy after multiple lessons, maybe it could be a single.
11:25 - "Hole" - The opening riffage sounds like We Are Scientists. Has lyrics as bad as Trent Reznor - "there's a hole/inside of me/it's so cold/" - but she's Kelly Clarkson, not some phony man in black fishnets that lifts weights in his basement. Dude, weightlifting is sooo industrial.
11:28 - "Sober" - I think this is the scheduled second single for My December. It's the ballad for the album. It's big like an Amy Lee/Evanescense ballad. She obviously likes Lee: the album cover, the way she sings at times, the title of this song (Evanescense's "You Never Call Me When Your Sober"). I think they're both devoted Christians ... Don't really care for this song. The strings don't work. The outro kinda sounds like Sigur Ros.
11:33 - "Don't Waste Your Time" - Oh yes! This should have been the first single. It would have satisfied the "we want another 'Since You Been Gone'" crybabies. Excellent, excellent song. Has the double tracked guitars like "SYBG". It kinda has a double chorus too, or a chorus that double-clutches ... does that make sense? ... gimme a break, this is LIVE after all ... it will be a mistake if they don't release this song as a single. They should catch the tail end of summer radio...
11:37 - "Judas" - I guess this is another song about the dirty-dog boy from "Never Again". Synths. Nu-Wave synths a la Orgy. But again, Kelly gets away with it b/c she's not posturing in wet suits and white face make-up. (btw... have you noticed that Rihanna samples the Orgy version of "Blue Monday" on her new single, "Shut Up and Drive"? Rihanna always takes samples from lousy songs and makes them better.) btw ... where the hell is Orgy? Nice Alternative Press (or A.P.) gave one of their albums 5 Stars. Nice magazine ...
11:40 - "Haunted" - 80's studio-metal guitar strum. This is like half ballad/half rocker. Not really feeling this song yet. Maybe it's the first true clunker on the album. She's really pushing hard to channel Amy Lee again on this song. I swear, her voice is the perfect marriage of Corin Tucker and Amy Lee. Tucker's open-throated wail with Lee's polish. I NAILED IT! Totally ... I called it here first!
11:44 - "Be Still" - Full-on ballad # 2. Has an acousto-R & B vibe to it, but in a "white" way. Like maybe if Babyface produced a Jewel song ... but it's better than a Jewel song. btw, where is Jewel? Remember when she tried to write poetry and Kurt Loder called her out for bad grammar in an interview? She got mad. Her crooked fang jutted out at him.
11:47 - "Maybe" - Acousto-ballad again, but in the rocker vein. Kind of in the "strung-out" rocker vein. I like this song, but the album feels front loaded. Maybe it's just b/c I've heard the first half more than the second half. yeah ... this song is actually pretty good. The second half goes into "rawk" like - ahem - "My Immortal" does.
11:51 - "How I Feel" - This song is the most danceable on the album. You could probably hear this at Abercrombie & Fitch. That's not a dig. It kinda has a pop-country feel to it. Like, maybe Lee Ann Rimes would sing this. I bet this will be a single ... some of the digitized guitar sounds like The Cars during their "Magic" era.
11:55 - "Yeah" - Whoa, this is like delta blues. Hmm ... this is probably my least favorite song. Yuck. I don't like the way she sings it. It's gross like Joss Stone or John Mayer. Definitely coulda been cut off the album.
11:58 - "Can I Have Kiss" - Back to the good songs... Kelly sure likes going from acoustic strum to electric crunch on this album. It benefits the chorus though ... gives it sass. Oh yeah, she has sass. But it's not annoying. It's humble sass. She's from Texas after all. The tambourine should be turned up louder ... the tambourine is sooo underrated.
12:01 - "Irvine" - Is this about Irvine, CA? It shoulda been called Irving ... as in Irving, TX? It sounds like it's about that boy again, though. Maybe he's from Irvine. Maybe it's a send off to the boy and California. Hmm... not really the strongest song to end the album with. They recorded her voice with a reverby echo ... yuck! ... her voice doesn't need that. She kinda sounds like that grandma from Portishead on this track, actually. I bet in concert she plays this song on a stool with a guy playing the acoustic guitar on a stool ...
12:06 - PRESS STOP
Friday, July 20, 2007
Will TimesSelect Go Jane? Is the infamous NYT TimesSelect paywall about to disappear? kf hears rumblings that the paper is about to abandon the whole misconceived project in which it has blocked unpaid Web access to its op-ed columnists. ... P.S.: The Times claims fewer than 225,000 customers pay the $49.95 TimesSelect fee, up less than 100,000 from what the paper was claiming in November, 2005. More get the service through their regular subscriptions. Meanwhile, the Times could use the ad revenue that would come from increasing the readership of the columnists (by making them free). And the columnists would like to have the readers. ... All this was quite evident two years ago when Pinch Sulzberger embarked on this folly, of course. (Mickey Kaus)
Who says the free market doesn't work?!?! This is consumer influence at it's finest!
I hope the jail sentences of the "Editorial 8" ends soon.
Free Thomas Friedman!
It's a prime example why so many of today's agenda driven filmmakers repeatedly miss the mark. Michael Winterbottom, Richard Linklater, Sam Mendes ... these men treat their subjects like fleeting retreats; convenient love affairs with the cause du jour. Robert Altman succeeded in this role because he took the political and played casual observer. He was opinionated, but never to the point where he rejected the ideas of others. Even when Altman showed contempt, compassion was close behind.
Thursday, July 19, 2007
-----> Daily Mail
The second girl claimed that Austin made her drive into countryside after she had cancelled some of his lessons.
She claimed he told her: "You have not got enough buttons to undo for missed lessons." The girl said she was then left distressed and upset as he lunged at her button, saying: "You owe me some excitement".
The instructor denied reaching for her button and making the remark about being owed "some excitement".
He claimed he had been misheard and had simply told the girl that he had "wanted enlightenment" about why she had cancelled lessons. (Daily Mail)
Hahahaha .... nice try old man!!! Some advice ... while in court, you should refrain from thinking with your little head because it sends bad excuses to the big one.
Austin, an instructor for the last 20 years, now faces the prospect of losing his registration with the Driving Standards Agency, preventing him from working legally as an instructor.
A spokeswoman for the DSA said: "Driving instructors have to be on our register to give lessons and have to be deemed fit and proper.
"In cases where instructors are convicted of sexual assaults, it is common for their names to be taken off the register."
Uhh ... you think???
Wednesday, July 18, 2007
I'm being a little cheeky with this, of course, but it makes me wonder if this could open a can of German worms for what is too sexy? What if the driver is a foot fetishist? What if he's into soccer players and their sexy soccer shorts?
A 20-year-old woman was told to get off a bus in southern Germany by the driver because she was too sexy. The woman, named only as Deborah, told a German national newspaper:
"Suddenly he stopped the bus. He opened the door and shouted at me 'Your cleavage is distracting me every time I look into my mirror and I can't concentrate on the traffic. If you don't sit somewhere else, I'm going to have to throw you off the bus'." Deborah said she moved to another seat but was humiliated by the bus driver.
The bus company defended their driver, saying he did the right thing. A spokesman said: "A bus driver cannot be distracted because it's a danger to the safety of all the passengers."
Is it wrong of me to immediately wonder if the driver of the bus was a Muslim? No, it's not ... I wonder if he was?
Anyways ... his next project is to put nudie people on a glacier in Switzerland to show that global warming is soooo at it's 11th hour b/c now we are hanging out on glaciers like it's Rio De Janeiro.
The thing is, he's having a bit of a problem getting models because ...... IT'S F**KING COLD ON A GLACIER IN SWITZERLAND!!!
About 18,000 nudes posed for the US-born photographer in Mexico City's Zocalo Square in May.
Tunick told a news conference that he would be happy to find 50 people for the Swiss project, and Alleman said the photographer's usual shots of large crowds might be ruled out due to safety concerns.
The photo session at an undisclosed location in the Swiss Alps has been scheduled for August 18 and 19, a time of year when it tends to be a bit warmer in the otherwise freezing high altitudes.
Volunteers applying on Greenpeace Switzerland's website were promised that they "won't be naked for very long." (AP)
Hey, I'm not NASA guy, or Leonardo DiCaprio or anything, but doesn't it defeat the purpose to have a "look-we-can-be-nude-here-b/c-of-global-warming" photo when it's too cold, and dangerous even at "the warmerst time of the year"?!?!?
Tuesday, July 17, 2007
After a run of films (from 1987-1995), including Near Dark, Point Break, Blue Steel, and Strange Days, the stylish Bigelow quietly made K19 for theaters in 2002, preceded by the straight-to-video Weight of Water in 2000.
The Hurt Locker is the name of the new project - slated for 2008 - and it's about the Iraq War, or more specifically, about an IED disposal team within the army.
"We wanted to show the kinds of things that soldiers go through that you can't see on CNN, and I don't mean that in a censorship-conspiracy way. I just mean the news doesn't actually put photographers in with units that are this elite." (AP)
Well, some place called PlanetHiltron.com just did the dirty work for you:
She looks like the secretary for a used car dealership...
Let's see... bank teller? no... apartment landlady...
Hmm....manager at a guitar shop...always has french fries at his messy desk...
For more celebs, click -------> HERE
p.s. Keira Knightly actually looks better in her pic.
Monday, July 16, 2007
And just who is going to play the chubby little man with the little red book? Margaret Cho? Ohhhhhh!!! BOOOOO!!! Hissssss!!! Ok, ok ... but really, there aren't that many plump Asian actors around. Not Tony Leung, not Chow Yun-Phat, not Stephen Chow ... they wouldn't work. Although watch ... I bet someone lobbies for Yun-Phat, but he would have to transform to Yun-FAT (ba da bump!). Jet Li? Jackie Chan? ha! Now that would be fun ... Jackie Chan in a fat suit running around doing stunts as he seizes farm land.
...but seriously...I mean, Margaret Cho is closer in body (and mind) to any of those men! Hey, don't stop believin!
Sunday, July 15, 2007
Director George Ratliff says, "... it's really disconcerting to be around a kid who's smarter than you are." I agree, and it does make for an interesting premise, but Ratliff's film comes off as nothing more than a cynical riff on the family unit. Which then makes the critics pencil in "satirical", "piercing", "insightful".
Not really. Not at all, in fact. Joshua is college-angst brainstorming making it's way to screen because righteous indie-execs feel they've made a "statement" by putting it out. To them, to satirize is to hate, and to denigrate is divine. The people behind Joshua fancy themselves as a counter to Rob Zombie, but they're just as sick in the heart, and empty in the head. A dumbass with dreadlocks and leather, OR with faux-hawks and pleather, is still a dumbass.
Friday, July 13, 2007
Yes, Elisha Cuthbert is a bad actress. I confess, I was blinded by her looks. And I'll probably still go to all her films ("probably"?!?! pfft...), but next time we argue about "Cuthbert", all you have to say is "scoreboard!" and the debate is done.
I had low expectations for Captivity when I first heard about it, but once I read that Larry Cohen had written the story, and co-wrote the screenplay, I was thrilled. He wrote two of the best, high-level b-movies of the 00's : Phone Booth and Cellular. Both were immediate pop films, fashioning cheap thrills out of the telecommunications world; specifically cell phones vs. land lines. But the only cultural immediacy that Captivity has is in its sadist-horror ... that brutal, brainless, waste of celluloid.
It's rare that a 90 minute gore film plods along, but this .... one ........ really ............. does. A serial killer becomes obsessed with supermodel Jennifer (Cuthbert), and decides to teach to her a lesson about her sins of vanity (a la Saw & Se7en). He slips Jennifer a mickey one night, and sneaks her home. When Jennifer doesn't behave, SK tortures her (makes her shoot her dog, makes her drink a body part smoothie, tries to bury her alive etc..), but then Jennifer discovers her knight in shining armor in the next cell. Love will find a way! And it does ... there's actually a sex scene in between the slaughters.
But poor Elisha. She can't even pull off a "Please don't kill me ... I'm not your mother!" without making you wonder how many takes it took. She caught a break with her pink panties in Old School, and has been riding that tired pony all the way to stardom. But like sex with someone you don't love, after 5 minutes of a Elisha Cuthbert film, you just wanna turn over and go to sleep.
Does she play cricket???
What does she read???
Does she like the limelight???
Is she KGB???
Can she count to three???
Does she wonder about ... me???