Thursday, January 24, 2008

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly of: Cloverfield


The Good:

1. Population Control. Manhattan is already overcrowded as it is. It was kind of nice to see a monster rampage around freeing up some space so us suburbanites can come in and have some elbow room.

2. Those little tiny monsters. I want one as a pet. I have many uses for him. Plus, I will love him and I will pet him and I will cuddle him and I will call him George.

3. The actors. They all did a decent job in fulfilling the sketch of their characters. I wasn't expecting much development in a 73 minute film and I got exactly what I wanted. Relatively blank people with just a touch or two of personality.

The Bad:

1. Real Estate. You think the prices to live in Manhattan were bad before. Try finding a place after half if it has been leveled.

2. Character Motivation. Yes, without the entire saving the friend angle (since the film did not imply to me they were a couple) there would have been no Cloverfield. Still, if that was me, I'd say to myself: "I'm in my early 20's, there'll be other friends." And I would have been in Brooklyn long before anyone else.

The Ugly:

1. The monster. Good job on it. Appropriately ugly looking.

2. The Camerawork. This didn't affect me at all; I saw The Blair Witch Project and wasn't affected by that, so I knew going in I wasn't going to be bothered by shaky-cam. However, I do know quite a few people that will have trouble watching the film. It is what it is.

Overall: Enjoyable, fun monster flick. I'd recommend it more for a matinee as 74 minutes is really short to shell out $10 on.

Something Lighter


After yesterday's heavy post, I needed something a little warm and fuzzy before resuming.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Why do we Care?

This post is in reference to the recent deaths of Brad Renfro and Heath Ledger. I might sound slightly callous, but that is not my intent. I am quite sad at the loss of both of these actors, but as I was thinking about it, a thought crept into my mind.

Let's deal with Heath Ledger, since he is the more recent of the two deceased. When I first saw the news, my jaw dropped slightly, a felt blood rush tingling sensation, and a small amount of tears welled up in my eyes. A day later, this title thought popped into my mind.

Why do I care? I never met Heath Ledger personally, I never saw him with my own eyes on the street or at some movie function. To the best of my knowledge, I never came within 2 miles of him. I've only seen him in 6 movies since 1999. Pieces of a few others, but only 6 that I've sat through. Yet, when I saw the news of his death, it was like a small gut punch. I look though the New York Times and my own local paper every day. They both have obituary sections. The local paper lists 10-20 names every day of people from the surrounding community. The Times does to, plus they have larger obit for this scientist, that social researcher, this retired executive. They've all died, but I don't feel anything; I don't get teary, I don't get sad. Obviously, their death is traumatic for their family members and friends, but not knowing the person myself, I don't really have much of a reaction?

So what is it about Heath Ledger's death that causes a reaction? His age? Yes, he was 6 years younger than myself, but I've seen obits for young people before and haven't had a reaction. And as I said before, I didn't have a personal relationship with him. Is it his celebrity? I'll admit that people do have strange relationships with celebrities. I've had the fortune to meet a few of them, and once you chat with them for a while, you realize that they're simply a normal human being that's been given a talent to do something or other slightly better than most people, but still, they're just a regular person. While I enjoyed watching Heath Ledger on the screen, I would say most of his movies were passably enjoyable, but nothing too memorable. Is it Brokeback Mountain? As a gay man, the movie was certainly a touch of a watershed in terms of movie history, and I certainly thought the movie was fantastic; but I see over 100 films a year in the theaters and know quite well that Brokeback was just a movie and not a real life documentary. Maybe it's the fact that the person will never act/play/whatever again? Possibly, but there is almost nobody I can think of who had a famous career in any field of which I had to see everything they did. In terms of movies, I pick and choose what I want to see. An actor I like might appear in nothing I want to see for the rest of his/her life. Is it the thought that maybe there is a great performance in the future that will never happen now?

So I end up confused. Whenever I see an obit for a celebrity (recently: Ledger, Renfro, Suzanne Pleshette), there is a definite twinge of sadness that comes over me, stronger for some, lesser for others. But what is behind that twinge? I'll pose the question to those of you who read this post. What do you think it is? I would imagine most people are in the same boat, never having had any contact with the deceased besides the results of their career. So why is it that people have a visceral reaction to a celebrity's death, when that celebrity is virtually unknown to them?

Tuesday, January 22, 2008



God...this is incredibly depressing. My jaw dropped when I saw this news tonight. I'll actually shed a tear over this one, I loved watching Heath Ledger act in anything he did. Too sad...way too sad.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

I Love L.A.


Well, not really. I'm a New Yorker at heart. Chicago comes a close second. Orlando third, mostly for Disney World. Anyway, I'm off to California for an extended weeked to visit my Grandfather. He's 95 and still kicking, but the only way to see him is to head over there. So I'll be gone from Friday morning till Monday night and back posting on Tuesday.

Sorry for the lack of B.O. update this week. There was a problem at the house this week involving some work that was being done and it turned the weekdays into a mess. I'll explain when I get back.

See everyone then!


Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Sad Sad


This depresses me. Brad Renfro found dead in his home at olny age 25. Cause not determined. I loved watching him in nearly any movie he was in, from The Cure to The Client and especially Bully. I hate it when this happens to an actor I enjoy. I know his life hasn't been easy lately, but I always checked IMDB every so often to see if he had anything new coming up. I hope he's at peace.

Mother of....I need a Job...or a Social Life

Ugh....I just realized. Look at the lower right of my blog. All those movie reviews? Feel free to agree or disagree with them (I love chatting film). Either way, I just realized that from A Mighty Heart down to Walk Hard.....I saw all those in 9 days. That's 14 films in 9 days. Granted, a little bit of this is Oscar preparation, but still!

Anyone a Wiccan*? Got any spells to help me find a job or a boyfriend? I'll take either at this point.

*Yes, it's a bit sarcastic, I'm well aware that people of the Wiccan religion do not go around tossing off spells, or that voodoo that you do so well.....

Monday, January 14, 2008

I really want to....but I just can't

I live for the movie awards season. I love every second of it. The anticipation leading up to nominations and announcements of winners. Normally, I'd take this opportunity to dissect the winners and losers of last night's Golden Globes "ceremony". But, I just can't. That Holocaust of a show that NBC put on sapped me of all my interest in the Globes this year. The awards were announced so dispassionately and so quickly, that any ability to let a winner, let alone a surprise winner, sink in was crushed.

I have never sat through a hour of worse television in my life. I'm 34, and believe me, I've sat through some pretty crap television. I couldn't believe that audacity that Billy Bush and Nancy O'Dell had to actually discuss whether an award was deserved right after they announced it. Just what a winner wants to hear, that the hosts of the show believed it should have gone to someone else, or that your role or show was in the wrong category in the first place.

I can only hope and pray that the Oscar telecast will be better, even if it's affected by the strike. Otherwise, it's going to take me a long time to psych myself up for awards again.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

The Vault of Forgotten Movies: Champagne for Caesar

champagne for caesar

And the vault creaks open.....

Ah! Champagne for Caesar. This is one of those gems that has gone unfairly noticed for too long. Directed by Richard Whorf in 1950 and Oscar nominated for its screenplay, it's a satire on the early days of television, specifically Game Shows and their sponsors. Yes, in the first hey-day of game shows (before the scandals), most shows were produced by a sponsor who provided the cash prizes for the winners. Ronald Colman (in one of his last roles) plays Beauregard Bottomley, an unemployed scholar who lives with his sister. He attempts to get a job at the Milady Soap company, but is turned down by the boss Burnbridge Waters (Vincent Price). Discovering that the company produces a game show, Bottomley has the idea to go on the show and win enough money to put the company out of business. Whether or not he will succeed is the rest of the film.

Simply put, I was amazed when I first sat down to watch the film. I never had associated Vincent Price with comedy before, and I'm still sad his talent for it wasn't used more often. He is absolutely hilarious as the company head, going off into a daze at a moment's notice and throwing a hissy fit as Bottomley keeps racking up money. Colman is fantastic as the world weary scholar, tossing of bon mots as if it was second nature. Celeste Holm is a scream as a vamp who works for Waters and is used to try to distract Bottomley from his goal. Even Mel Blanc is in the film, providing the voice for, of all things, Bottomley's alcoholic parrot Caesar. The film didn't do too well upon it's initial release, Television was still relatively new, so a satire of it probably went over a lot of people's heads. It 2008 now, and this film should languish any longer. It's been released on DVD, so go out and rent it today!

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Why on Earth....

Why on Earth have I got the song "Happiness Hotel" running through my mind 24/7 these days?

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly of: Juno

Caught up with Juno the other day.....

The Good:

1. Ellen Page. This was a fantastic performance. She played both sides of the character quite well, both the snarky teenager and the teen who realizes she doesn't know everything. I'm thinking she might get an Oscar nod, doubtful she'll win, but a nod is always nice.

2. The Supporting Cast. Really, the entire cast of the movie does a great job. Everyone from J.K. Simmons to Margo Martindale does a superb job. The characters felt believable and lived in.

The Bad;

1. Juno. Acting aside, I found the character herself to be annoying. I think this is due in part to may career as a teacher. I've taught plenty of Juno's in my time. Those teenagers who believe they have all the answers to life, have their own little phraseology to speak in, and generally think they are heads and shoulders above all adults. Frankly, they irritate me. It's not hard to see through most of their shallowness. To spent 92 minutes in the company of one was not the most pleasant experience I can imagine.

2. Jason Bateman's Character. Granted, he had a full character arc, but it didn't feel real to me. What he went through seemed to happen to fast to me to make it feel as if this was a decision he had been brewing about and not just a screenwriting point. His interactions with Juno also left me cold. I guess the film was trying to be obtuse on purpose about what his true intentions were in regards to Juno, but it gave me the creeps.

The Ugly:

1. The look. I may be mistaken, but the film looked like it had been shot on every gray, overcast day the production could find. The palette of the film just didn't appeal to me at all.

So there you have it, great acting, ok story, eh characters and ugly photography.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Back to the B.O.

And I'm back......still looking for a job......but back to posting. and what better way then to look at the Box Office from the past weekend...

Rank/ Title / Weekend Gross / Total Gross

1 / National Treasure: Book of Secrets / 20.2 / 171.0

2 / I Am Legend / 16.4 / 228.7

3 / Juno / 16.2 / 52.0

4 / Alvin and the Chipmunks / 16.0 / 176.7

5 / One Missed Call / 13.5 / 13.5

6 / Charlie Wilson's War / 8.2 / 52.6

7 / P.S. I Love You / 8.0 / 39.4

8 / Water Horse: Tales from the Deep / 6.3 / 30.9

9 / Sweeney Todd / 5.4 / 38.5

10 / Atonement / 5.1 / 19.2

Based on this list...I think I need to invest in a bomb shelter, cause it looks like the Apocalypse is coming. National Treasure 2 is #1 for three weeks in a row and has made $171 mil so far?'s this type of boffo numbers for a mediocre film that keeps getting crap made. Let's not forget it was the original film that gave us that horrible reality series Treasure...something or other....a few summers ago. I am Legend is up to $226 mil? Eh.....the first hour was good....but that last half hour so bad, it nearly ruined the film. Still, no denying the drawing power of Will Smith. Though his next one is looking pretty bad, based on the trailer. Juno is up to $52mil....I wasn't too fond of the film....I think it's more of a personal issue than with the film itself. Still, I find Jason Reitman to be a good director, so hopefully this will ensure at least one more film from him. Alvin and the Chipmunks up to $177 mil? Who saw this coming? I've heard it isn't as bad as it sounds, but any film that resorts to a poop joke in the trailer isn't getting me to see it. One Missed Call opens at $13.5 mil? Did people forget that the first movie to open in January is always a steaming pile? People hear how they're going to die from a cell phone message? Wouldn't a text be easier to get? Charlie Wilson's War is not exactly burning up the BO...a bit surprising for a big name movie. Maybe people just hear it's a war film and stay away from it. P.S. I love you.....who cares. Water Horse....title's too long. Sweeney Todd and Atonement. Hopefully, the BO will pick up on these films a bit more, or else we'll have another year where the best picture nominees barely rang up any money. Oh well, maybe some nominations will give them a bump up.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

I'm Still Here

Hello Non-Existent Readership!

No, I haven't gone anywhere. I'm in the process of updating my small movie review sidebar, and working on finding employment for the new year, so blogging is taking a small backseat while I try to find a way to earn more money. Definitely by next week, I'll have the weekly B.O. roundup up and be back to a more regular posting schedule.