Why had I never heard of Soldier's Girl with Lee Pace, when it came out in 2003? I only discovered it after watching the series Pushing Daisies and then looking up everything else Pace has been in.

The movie (I see it actually was a tv mini-series, which might explain why I was not aware of it), based on a true story, was made in 2003 and it's about a young soldier(Troy Garity)who meets and falls in love with a transgendered performer (Lee Pace) in a nightclub--and the repercussions. All the acting was good but Lee Pace's performance is extraordinary. I see that he was nominated for several awards (but shamefully not the Emmy--the director and prosthetic artists got the only nominations)and won the Gotham "Breakthrough" award with his co-star. The character (and acting) of the soldier's roommate (Shawn Hatosy) is chilling. Rent it.

I'm deep into the second season of Six Feet Under--it's pretty manipulative, isn't it? Every time things are going well for the members of the Fisher family--the rug's pulled out under them--I come to expect this but am still affected by it. I've come to really dislike Lisa, (played by Lili Taylor)--there's something about her that gives me the severe creeps. I feel that Claire, the young daughter of the Fisher family is thrown into bad boy relationships not because she's screwed up but because the creator of the series merely wants to keep a tension in the plot. In other words, I don't feel her bad choices are organic to her character but manipulated. (I realize that of course all "drama" is manipulated as long as there is a script--that's the point. But keeping that overt manipulation from the viewer--at least while she's watching it--is crucial to great art). I'm still enjoying the series but the seams are beginning to show more than I'd like.
This evening I attended the fabulous launch party for Delia Sherman's new ya novel The Freedom Maze. The party was thrown at the Center for Fiction (formerly, the Mercantile Library) in the midtown area. Pouring rain did not stop the many attendees from having a great time, with period drinks, plus wonderful food. I helped judge the cake contest and although someone did try to bribe me, he was too late. We had already made our picks. Top prize went to Alaya Dawn Johnson's fabulous orange spice with tart cherry cake which had multiple layers of flavor--almost like a Christmas fruit cake but much much better.

Delia read from her novel, a gentleman played piano, and some attendees even sang. But....the evil Genevieve Valentine persuaded me to head downtown to see Drive, the movie based on James Sallis's novel-in the east village. We left (in the rain) with Liz Gorinsky, who was heading home and made the movie with time to spare.

I'd been meaning to see it so was happy to have the unexpected opportunity. A stunt car drive/mechanic gets caught up with some very bad gangsters by trying to do a favor for a neighbor he likes. Cutting to the chase--the movie's terrific! Both G and I adored it. The original score is fabulous (G says it's gotten a lot of buzz for the Oscar). It's by Cliff Martinez and has a driving beat from the opening scene. The acting by Ryan Gosling, Carey Mulligan, Albert Brooks*

, Bryan Cranston, Ron Perlman, and the rest of the cast was perfect. It's graphically violent so do beware if you have problems with that. Highly recommended.

Over the weekend I watched Priest on DVD, which sucked, although I do enjoy watching Paul Bettany and Maggie Q in anything. And the vampires were really creepy/disgusting and monstrous. That was refreshing. I also went to the movies over the weekend to see Margin Call, an excellent underrated movie that came out a few months ago about Wall Street -you wanna know what happened with Lehman? You can get a bit of a look at it by watching the movie. Acting by Paul Bettany (synchronicity strikes again), Demi Moore (oh sweetie, you shouldn't have had the work done on your face), Jeremy Irons, Kevin Spacey (his best acting in awhile), Peter Sullivan was all spot on. Good show. It is SOOOO nice to have seen two great movies in the theater in a row. Bravo!!

* I just want to add that I always hated Albert Brooks in his "comic" roles, finding him whiny and obnoxious. But some time in the past 10-15 years he's become a fine dramatic actor in movies like My Firs Mister and Drive.
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( Oct. 1st, 2011 01:39 am)
And all were good. This evening I watched Mysterious Skin (2004) by director Gregg Araki, based on the novel by Scott Heim. It takes place in 1974 and is about two boys from a small town in Kansas who were both traumatized when they were eight year's old. One lost 5 hours of his life and comes to believe he was abducted by aliens and becomes obsessed with finding out the truth. The other was abused by his baseball coach and ends up a hustler. The cast is great--from the child actors to the actors playing the teenagers that the boys grow up be: Brady Corbet and Joseph Gordon-Levitt. Michelle Trachtenberg (Dawn in Buffy) plays Gordon-Levitt's best friend. I found the movie fascinating--in its treatment of the abuser, who is utterly charming and almost seems like a child himself. It's an amazing seduction of the innocent.

An Education which garnered Carey Mulligan a well-deserved Oscar nomination as a girl on the cusp of womanhood who is being pushed by her father into attending Oxford but is seduced--figuratively and literally by another charmer (Peter Sarsgaard) who is worldly and attractive and shows her possibilities outside the narrow life that seems to await her in 1961 England. Jenny is smart and is not a pushover. Very satisfying.

Crimson Rivers II: Angels of the Apocalypse is the bloody sequel to the French policier with Jean Reno that I watched a couple of weeks ago. Not as good as the first but still damned good.
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( Sep. 17th, 2011 01:14 am)
This evening I watch The Bank Job, a Brit movie made a few years ago with Jason Statham, based on a real heist in 1971 that was masterminded to grab some incriminating photos of one of the Royals, (although most of the thieves didn't know this). Not great but entertaining (and violent). Directed by Ronald Donaldson.

Then I saw Interview directed by and starring Steven Buscemi and Sienna Miller as a disgraced war correspondent assigned to interview a B actress. Interesting but not great. Let's call it a celebrity oriented sex (not all the way), lies, and videotapes. Good acting.

Finally and best was The Crimson Rivers directed by Mathieu Kassovitz, starring the wonderful Jean Reno and Vincent Cassel in a policier that takes place in the French Alps when mutilated victims start turning up at an elite college. Good stuff. Thank you whoever recced it. I've got Crimson Rivers 2: Angels of the Apocalypse next in my queue but while Jean Reno is back, unfortunately Vince Cassel is not.
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( Jul. 9th, 2011 12:42 am)
Although it was raining when I left, I found a taxi pretty quickly. This, for anyone living in NYC knows what a piece of luck this is. I headed down to Warren street for the Mysterious Bookstore Thrillerfest party and even though it was crowded, I'm glad I went. Alice Turner and I were to meet there but I go there first, was greeted by storeowner-host Otto Penzler and grabbed some wine, looking to see if I recognized anyone. I didn't really expect to as it's not my crowd--mystery/crime and thriller writers and fans. Alice showed up soon after I got there so I didn't feel like an outsider for too long.

We grabbed seats on the couch, as I wasn't eager to stand around in my boot with my cane plus my carryall slung over my shoulder for a couple of hours. Most of the writers who were signing books there wore name tags and I recognized a few, even though I don't know them personally. But then I ran into Robert Crais and we had a very nice catchup chat. And Paul Wilson and Kelly Laymon also came--I hugged them, we exchanged a few words, and then I never saw them again. Larry Block was also there and came over to say hi (he lives a few blocks from me and is a good friend of Alice's). Met a few new writers and some fans who I hope will show up at KGB some time. (they said they like sf/f/h as well as mystery). Read more... )
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( Jun. 12th, 2011 01:31 am)
Friday night I watched Snow White: A Tale of Terror, which I'd been waiting to be available on netflix for a few years. It was worth the wait. Sam O'Neil as the King, Sigourney Weaver, beautiful and scary as the wicked stepmother, Monica Keena as Snow White. Just looked up Keena's filmography as I don't think I've ever seen her before. Interesting that she's really a pretty nondescript blonde in all the photos--she's much more striking as a brunette. Oh well. (and she's going to be playing Squeaky Fromme in the forthcoming Manson Girls. Anyway, it's a very effective rendition of Snow White, with the seven dwarfs transformed into seven miners (one is a dwarf).

Next up Wild Target recommended by someone (anyone out there remember who?)with Bill Nighy as a lonely top assassin (from a family of assassins) whose current assignment is Emily Blunt, a seductive schemer who is so chaotic in her daily life that her very being is an obstacle to his killing her and then he becomes attracted to it. Rupert Grint (from Harry Potter) is charming in it. In fact, everyone's charming and it's a lovely, silly enjoyable concoction. I loved it.

Tonight I watched the 3 hour 20 minute Spike Lee movie Malcolm X. Good acting, especially by Albert Hall, Al Freeman, Jr., and Delroy Lindo. Denzel Washington as Malcolm and Angela Bassett as his wife Betty were good too but not as good as the supporting actors. It's based on The Autobiography of Malcolm X written by Alex Haley and Malcolm X and a fascinating account of the Black Nationalist's life. Absorbing.
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( Jun. 5th, 2011 11:35 am)
Movies and a street fair.
I watched three movies: Quintet a movie by Robert Altman that I've wanted to see for a long time. In an sf future of ice and snow, Essex (Paul Newman) and his young, very naive wife (Brigitte Fossey) travel through the abandoned landscape to a ruined city where people survive (sometimes) and play a murderous game called Quintet. So many questions--where do they get food? What do the residents DO with their time, other than play Quintet? But there are some well-wrought and memorable images--black dogs roam in packs throughout the area eating the frozen dead bodies (and there a many of both). An ice age "Seventh" Victim (or Tenth, depending on whether you're referring to Sheckley's story or the movie). Cast is also made up of Fernando Ray, Vittoria Gassman,and Bibi Andersson. Entertaining enough to keep me watching but not all that good.

Read more... )
And as Libbra Bray points out, librarians are our super-heroes so support them.
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( Jun. 3rd, 2011 10:53 am)
Apologies for not being around more but Terri and I have been finishing up After (and I can't stay long as I've one more major thing to do). We'll post TOC very soon.

In the meantime, I've just been alerted that Tennessee poet Elizabeth McClellan gave a marvelous shout out to Troll's Eye View in an interview conducted with her by Nashvillescene.com.

Scroll down, and you'll find it.

Meantime, watched Pitch Black last weekend--enjoyable sf/horror. And went to see Meek's Cutoff in the movies. Great cast, good acting, really boring movie. All too realistic historical drama about three families in a wagon train enroute to Oregon who are lost--and the leader they don't trust (Meek). My two viewing companions and I loathed it (sorry Lucius).
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( May. 28th, 2011 12:01 am)
Well, just barely. Landline fixed after panic that I wouldn't have phone or internet over the long weekend because phone guy came early, checked line outside, reported it was a mess and he couldn't believe I was getting dsl service at all. Sooooo he fixed outside wires called in to office where they had to fix lines in the 18th street station (wherever that is) & he'd get back to me so he could ask for the auto message saying line was being repaired (on for a week) could be removed. What he forgot to mention was that my internet service would be disrupted while they were fixing the line in the...whatever station. Aighhh. It took four hours but hey, I spent the time inputting all the titles, etc of books I found in publishing catalogs that I want for review. Plus finished going through the catalogs I picked up at BEA that I hadn't had time to skim.

Read more... )
A triple feature last night. I tweeted to say they were all grim right after I finished watching them but having digested each overnight, although Red Riding is truly grim, but of the other two -although one is certainly downbeat, the other has an exuberance, an ultimate love of life and imagination that totally defeats any bits of grimness within the telling of the tale.

First up A Scanner Darkly, by Richard Linklater based on Phil Dick's novel (which I've never read). It's near future LA and an undercover cop (Keanu Reeves) is trying to get to the bottom of a drug ring--although somehow his job is related to New Path Recovery Center--an thinly disguised scientology-like cult. He lives in a house with asshole Robert Downey, Jr (perfect in the role) and clueless Woody Harrelson. The marvelously inventive skinsuit disguises the person wearing it by mutating into different visual and audio personalities-and one wonders if this splitting of personality is responsible for the problems Bob Arctor (the cop) has, rather than his ingesting Substance D.

First of all, I don't get this whole half animation used--it's neither live action nor honest to god animation.

Second, I don't know if the novel covers it but the movie never explains what Substance D does as a drug.

Third, Why does New Path work with him, given the ending?
For me, an enjoyable mess.

Second part of the Red Riding Trilogy about serial killers in Yorkshire. This one is about the Yorkshire Ripper and the corruption in the government and police force set up in section one continues, chomping everyone in its way. Grim and gritty.

The Fall, is an oddball film with Lee Pace and directed by Tarsem Singh taking place in 1915 LA in a hospital where a little girl (Alexandria) recovers from a broken arm from picking oranges, and a young stuntman named Roy recuperates from a bad fall. She has the run of the hospital and its grounds and comes across Roy. Depressed and suicidal over a failed love affair, ta her request, he begins a fantabulous story of derring do with 5 heroes -colorful and chaotic.

The opening sequence is excellent but it took awhile for me to get into it because Lee Pace's character has these HUGE eyebrows that really distracted me (honest). The visual look is very fine, which makes sense as Tarsem made The Cell, the movie with Jennifer Lopez that looked gorgeous but was totally empty. I admit to being confused by the supposed nationality of the child--I kept thinking she was east Indian not sure why (possibly because of the director's Bollywood influences)--yet her mother and sister are eastern European. Turns out she is Roumanian.

The bad guys in the fantasy sequences are powerfully effective, dressed in black like an anti-Zorro but growling like dogs.

Considering I'd never heard of it until someone online recced it to me, I suspect it didn't get a wide release. It takes its time but is well worth seeing--there's a lot to love about this film.
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( May. 7th, 2011 10:41 pm)
Tonight the first of the Red Riding trilogy. Nice and gritty thriller with Andrew Garfield (just prior to The Social Network as a young reporter who becomes embroiled in a series of child abductions/murders in Yorkshire (based on the Yorkshire ripper) in 1974 amid police and political corruption. Looking forward to the second.
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( May. 7th, 2011 03:50 pm)
So last night I watched Dario Argento's first film, The Bird with the Crystal Plumage. It's the third I've seen by him. I very much liked Suspiria-watched years after it was made, thought Four Flies on Grey Velvet silly and already dated when I saw it in 1972 and am afraid "Bird" is just as silly and dated. "Bird" and "Flies" are very much of their time: filled with "hip" jerky guys and "swinging" females who are either helpless or murderers. Throw in extra helpings of faux psychology and jangly sixties film music and voila! I don't get why Argento is considered a master of horror. Yes, there are some nice set pieces and the cinematography and use of colors are interesting but c'mon. I may same a few more --and re-watch Suspiria but I doubt he's going to become a favorite on the basis of what I've seen so far.

Hot Fuzz was great. No idea where it was going and I loved it.

On my very long flights to and from LAX and Australia I watched about 10 movies. I can't remember them all but they including Country Strong with a nice performance by Gwyneth Paltrow and her eye candy co-star Garrett Hedlund, Rabbit Hole, based on the play, with good performances by Aaron Eckhart and Nicole Kidman as parents coping with grief when their young son dies. The Tourist with Johnny Depp and Angeline Jolie--which although it bombed in theaters, I quite liked, The Apartment directed by Billy Wilder with Jack Lemmon and a fabulous Shirley Maclaine. I may remember more later.
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( Mar. 19th, 2011 12:07 am)
Last weekend I watched L'Avventura, a relatively early Michelangelo Antonioni that helped define the French New Wave of the 60s. I've been wanted to see it for a long time but never got around to it.

Monica Vitti (who is gorgeous) plays the friend of a disaffected well-off young woman who disappears while with a bunch of friends (all seem to be wealthy) on an island in the Mediterranean. Vitti and the woman's boyfriend spend much of the movie searching for the woman, following clues because neither really believe she's dead. They two become lovers and life goes on. Black & white. Disaffection of the young rich? Ennui, existential boredom? The viewer never really gets under the surface of any of the characters, many of whom flirt, seduce, and are sometimes cruel to each other.

Bell, Book and Candle with James Stewart and Kim Novak made two years before L'Avventura and the same year Hitchcock cast them in Vertigo--made a strange contrast to the Antonioni. It's based on a stage play by John Van Druten and takes place in a Greenwich Village as imagined by Hollywood, with Novak as a "bohemian" who incidentally is a witch and sells ethnic masks for a living. Her goffy, mischievous aunt is played by Elsa Lanchester and her bongo playing brother is Jack Lemmon. The Novak character decides she wants Jimmy Stewart, her next door neighbor even though he's about to be married so with the aid of her familiar Pyewacket, she casts a spell on him. Fun, silly, and aggravating when at the end (spoiler, but was there any other conclusion) she wins the guy by falling in love, learning to cry, losing her magic, and becoming all girly. Pooh!

Tonight I watched Leon: The Professional for the third or maybe fourth time. Directed by Luc Bresson (which I never remember) but Jean Reno and Natalie Portman and Gary Oldman as a totally doped up psycho are all great. About a hit man in NYC who takes in a 12 year old after her family's wiped out. Good show. It was Portman's first full length movie and she's good vamping as Madonna and Marilyn Monroe to amuse Reno (who doesn't know who they are).

And because everyone recommended it, I watched On Her Majesty's Secret Service with George Lazenby, who is pretty stiff (in a bad way ;-)), Diana Rigg, and Telly Savalas. Wonderful ski and toboggan chases. I kept thinking how much better it would have been with ...oh ANY of the other Bonds. Oh well. Glad to have seen it-it's the only one I'd never seen.
Get Low did not happen for me last night. We went to the movie at the clubhouse,there were problems getting it started, with the film flipping ahead and back and all over the damned place but not the beginning. I was about to walk out when it started working correctly. Started getting really interesting then about 25 minutes in stopped dead. Then skipped a scene. I walked out and waiting for my mom in the lobby, reading whatever magazines were lying around. I hate having movies spoiled by crap like that. I assume it was either the DVD or the player. Don't know. Don't care. I grew with with my mom always late (hi mom!) and so we'd end up getting to movies in the middle. In those days you could sit through as many shows as you wanted so we would kind of figure out where we were in the movie and then sit through the first half. This experience reminded me how I always hated that and felt cheated. So I've just rented in on netflix instead and will just ff award to where the movie stopped.

Today, we went to see Unknown a brand new thriller with Liam Neeson, Diane Kruger, Frank Langella, Bruno Ganz, and January Jones. Biology researcher arrives in Berlin to give a talk, leaves his briefcase in the cab to the hotel and when he realizes this, takes another cab back to the airport to retrieve it. I won't give away any spoilers but it's interesting and I think, after discussing it with my mom, that it all kind of works (as much as this sort of thing can). A couple of very good car chases. Liam Neeson has been doing a bunch of movie thrillers of different types in the past few years and he's always earnest. It's a little difficult for me to watch anything with him in it since the tragic death of his wife, Natasha Richardson in 2009.

Tonight after eating dinner at the fabulous Lucille's barbecue joint, we watched House (new episode)-and I actually liked it--possibly because this one was more about his personal life than about a "case" (although there was a case--even two of them). Then we watched Harry Brown with Michael Caine. My mom had already seen it (that's what comes of her sending me into the Publix to pick out a movie on my own). Ugly,violent housing estate in England, and elderly protagonist takes on the bastards. Nicely done and both Caine and Emily Mortimer did some good work in it.

Made my flight reservations to Renovation. Reno here I come!
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( Mar. 4th, 2011 11:15 pm)
Last night we watched Quantum of Solace, the second James Bond movie with Daniel Craig. My second time, my mom's first and she hadn't seen Casino Royale so it wasn't till the end and she asked me what Vesper was that I realized she'd probably didn't really comprehend the whole guilty/anger/solace etc thing. Oh well. This one wasn't half as good as Casino Royale--too many and too long chases, but it was still enjoyable, even the second time. But that might be because I love the eye candy mix of Daniel Craig and the women plus some of the cinematography. As per my usual, I couldn't remember what the bad guys were after so that aspect was like new to me :-).

Tonight we watched Never Let Me Go with Keira Knightly, Carrie Mulligan, and Daniel Garfield (who I recognized from The Social Network. I haven't read the novel by Kazuo Ishiguro so don't know how it stacks up but it was better than I expected. Moving and depressing movie about
Spoiler for those who aren't aware------------

clones who are raised as organ donors. The movie opens with a few lines of information showing that: 1) it takes place in an alternate reality and 2) that there's something fishy everything from the first scene on. That scene if of 28 year old Cathy watching an operation on a young man. Her words give away more about what ensues but for those who know nothing in advance they might just breed confusion.

Next scene is around fifteen years earlier, taking place in a seemingly idyllic private school where three children meet and become close. There are hints very early on as to what their fate is. I've read some viewer comments on IMdb about why didn't they try to escape (something that quickly came into and out of my mind while watching). There IS no escape. This system is endemic in their society (we don't know what's going on outside of England). They are closely monitored and have no where to run.

I did have my own questions. If one volunteers to be a "caregiver" (I don't recall if that's the correct term) what happens if your "original" needs a donation while you're a caregiver? I forget at what age donors are farmed but what happens if the original needs a donation before they're "ripe" --for use of a better word. Also, what if the original dies--is the donor killed or released? I doubt the latter, as it's obvious that the Hailsham was considered a "failed" experiment --or inconvenience--and that donors are now indeed "bred" on, if not exactly factory farms, certainly not given the care they were when the Hailsham school was attempting to prove that the children had souls. I can unfortunately see that the expedience of saving lives by using "soulless" clones is something that once begun, would be very difficult to stop.

Anyway, I do recommend it.
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( Mar. 3rd, 2011 12:30 am)
And what movies? A series of truly depressing films about nasty people who mostly deserve what they get.
Stone with a fantastic cast of Robert DeNiro, Edward Norton, Milla Jovavich, and Frances Conroy is very well acted but....the story is very slow, very muddled, and ultimately not all that satisfying. After a quick scene about a young married couple who stay together when they shouldn't, we see that couple (Conroy and DeNiro) decades later in a claustrophobic horribly miserable relationship. Jack Mabry assesses convicts for parole and is about to retire. Edward Norton is a convict who's been in prison 8 years and just can't wait to finish his time. In fact, he's having a nervous breakdown. Milla J is Lucetta, Stone's gorgeous wife who says she's willing to do anything to get him out of prison asap. About halfway through the movie something really weird happened. I became much more sympathetic toward Stone that Mabry-despite the fact that Stone seems to be a con artist of the first order.

Motives are muddled, themes are muddled (strains of religiosity and mysticism through the film), and relationships are hinted at rather than fully drawn.

Barney's Version stars the fabulous Paul Giametti as the utter prick Barney, who from the minute we meet him in 1974, betrays every woman he's ever met and is pretty repulsive throughout. Dustin Hoffman is also great playing his dad. The book is by Mordecai Richler, who seems to have been expert at creating despicable characters (eg. The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravetz). What's incomprehensible to my mother and myself is why three attractive, intelligent women (the first we don't know enough about to judge her intelligence) he married would possibly have married him? He's charmless, unattractive, and downright mean. ick ick ick.

Solitary Man with Michael Douglas is also about a womanizing liar but Douglas's Ben is much smoother than Barney and this viewer could at least see why women were attracted to Ben. The insufficiently convincing reason for Ben to have suddenly gone into major mid-life crisis mode (stealing, in addition to compulsively cheating on his wife Susan Sarandon with very young women)is that 6 1/2 years earlier he's told by his physician that he needs an MRI for something. Ben refuses to follow up and becomes a total creep. I'd just assumed he'd always been a disgusting creep, but nope--it started overnight. (I don't buy it). ick ick ick.

Ok. If we pick up another movie at Publix, it's going to be a comedy, romantic or not. That's a promise.
I'm so pleased that The Lost Thing won the Oscar for best short animated film. Bravo!
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( Feb. 27th, 2011 11:27 am)
I went to Play Dead, a modern spook show created by Teller and Todd Robbins on Thursday. Based on the midnight spook shows that played throughout the US from the 1930s to the 1970s.
From the program: The shows all followed the same business plan and performance pattern. A magician would book a movie theater after the last feature on a Saturday night. He'd stick skulls all over his magic props, dress his assistants as sexy vampires, and give creepy themes to all his "patter." In the finale, somebody dressed as a mummy or werewolf would dash into the audience as all the light went out."

Todd Robbins is a charming, convincing magician-host. He tells stories about real people, he re-enacts horrific events, and as a mentalist he "brings to life" dead friends and relatives to some audience members. I won't say any more because I don't want to spoil it but I loved it and thank Neil Gaiman for reccing it on his blog.
If you're interested, don't read about it beforehand. I knew nothing about it and that's the way to go.

I watched The Uninvited Friday night with Shawna and I really hated it. I hadn't realized it was based on the Korean movie A Tale of Two Sisters, which I've read about. Maybe I'll check out the original. A young teenager is institutionalized for 10 months after trying to commit suicide upon the death by fire of her sickly mother. She returns home to discover her mother's nurse is now her dad's lover. The girl and her older sister come to suspect that the nurse was responsible for the mother's death and gather evidence.

I found the story preposterous and the always wide-eyed main character annoying. So sue me. ;-)

Last night I watched The Social Network, which ultimately made me want to quit FB because I found the character of Mark Zuckerberg such a loathsome human being. I know I'm supposed to feel sorry for him by the end, but I didn't. For anyone living under a rock, it's about the founding of facebook. Good movie, not a particularly great one. The problem is that the way Zuckerberg is portrayed, he's so lacking of empathy that you (or I anyway) couldn't give a damned about him, only about the people all around him that he betrayed.

Waltz With Bashir is a soul-searching animated documentary (mixed with dreams and visions) about Israeli writer/director Ari Folman's attempts to reconstruct--20 years later-- what he can't remember from his military reserve service in the 1982 Lebanon war.

He begins having nightmares related to that period of his life, and, after speaking with a psychologist friend, tracks down friends and acquaintances with whom he served plus the Israeli journalist who broke the news of the massacre in two Palestinian refugee camps, Sabra and Shatila. Excellent and highly recommended.
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( Feb. 20th, 2011 01:53 am)
Yup. I bought a new monitor for my computer Friday. I couldn't stand looking at the scratched one any more and decided to bite the bullet and just buy a new one--my neighbor's last email message said she was still talking to the claims person at the installation company.

I decided that I might as well buy a 23 inch one and Matt Kressel came with me to Best Buy to help pick one out. Bought a Dell, he lugged it home, set it up, turned it on and nothing. So...we hauled it back crosstown to Best Buy, told them it was defective and went to find a replacement. I swore I'd make them check this one out first to make sure it turned on before having him take it home again. No more of that model but the salesman this time was way more knowledgeable than the last one and persuade us that I should buy the LG instead. Which I did. And Matt set it up and behold, there was a huge screen that is so large that Matt had to reconfigure most of the type for me. It think it's going to take awhile to get used to.

Tonight I watched The MacKintosh Man,, a pretty terribly plotted movie by John Huston written by Walter Hill, based on a novel by Desmond Bagley. It's a cold war drama (which I hadn't realized till I began watching) with Paul Newman and Dominique Sanda (who I didn't recognize till I read the credits again at the end--I'm used to her with a chignon, I guess). I hope the novel made more sense than the movie because from the get-go the thing yelled "idiot plot" idiot plot" to me. A waste of time except for watching blue-eyed Paul.

Then I watched Sherlock: Series 1--the BBC updated Sherlock Holmes everyone's been talking about. Yes yes yes. I want more. I watched all three episodes and they ended wayyy to soon. I very much look forward to the second season.

It's updated to contemporary times and works remarkably well. Good show.
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( Feb. 12th, 2011 05:32 pm)
No Reservations with Catherine Zeta-Jones, Aaron Eckhart,and Abigail Breslin is (mostly) comedy about a brilliant but overly controlled chef in a french restaurant who is challenged by an unexpected addition to her life and by the pushiness and exuberance of the new sous-chef. Despite the lack of chemistry between Zeta-Jones and Eckhart, it's very enjoyable. And moving.

City Island stars Andy Garcia as a dissatisfied prison card who longs to be an actor, Julianna Margulies is his wife who thinks he's cheating on her. They and their two kids are totally dysfunctional as a family and when Garcia brings home a young convict to help him fix up the back shed, they dysfunction grows into operatic complications. It all takes place on City Island, the strange little beach town in the middle of the Bronx. Definitely worth seeing. Garcia and Margulies are both good.

And today I saw the Academy award nominated short animated movies (and two "commended highly" films). The best of the shorts were The Gruffalo by Jakob Schuh and Max Lang and The Lost Thing by Shaun Tan and Andrew Ruhemann. I predict The Gruffalo will win although I would love the Tan to win as I love his animated art. The longest movie is 27 minutes, the shortest 6 and most are at least fun, and some are very clever. There was only one really bad one. URS from Germany. I had already seen Bill Plympton's "commended Highly" movie The Cow Who wanted to be a Hamburger at a private screening he held several months ago at Hill Country restaurant. (and I might have mentioned it back then). Clever, funny, and scary. I think the music is different from it was in the earlier screening. I didn't care for the new score.


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