Tuesday, September 30, 2008

"Fair and Balanced" election coverage

Unanimous vote for Obama = split decision. Amazing.


Sunday, September 28, 2008

OMG, she's back: Tina Palin (plus Amy Couric)

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Friday, September 26, 2008

This is the funniest sh*t I've seen in a long time.


Sunday, September 14, 2008

For Tina Fey, Sarah Palin is the role of a lifetime.

"I can see Russia from my house!"

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Saturday, September 13, 2008

Matt Damon and I both hate Sarah Palin.


Monday, September 08, 2008

The List: Breaking the Waves
(dir. Lars von Trier, 1996)

"And now for something completely different..."

(yes I DID actually watch this on the same day as the last two... I broke it up into a few separate sittings)

Hmm. I'd actually never seen this before, despite being a die-hard fan of Dancer in the Dark. And may I say, the similarities are uncanny. Not just in filmmaking style, but in the actresses' perfs as well. It seems many of Selma's mannerisms I assumed to be "Björkisms" are actually "Von-Trier-isms" that he seeks out/encourages in his women. You know... the wide-eyed innocence, the not-all-there-ness, the awkward speech patterns. Emily Watson's got that shit down (it's kinda scary).

Anyway... other impressions...

Stellan Skarsgård was quite the dish when he was younger. It's weird to see Mamma Mia first and then go back in time to THIS (rawr). Also, I loved how Bess "talked to God". Exceedingly creepy and "out there", but it totally rang true (I won't spoil the specifics for those who haven't seen it). I do feel the film went a bit off the rails in the last third - that hooker getup! - but with a Von Trier film, that might be a compliment, I'm not really sure.

All in all, though, this seems more like a warmup for Dancer than anything else (at least in retrospect). All the distinctive techniques and elements here seemed more fully realized and effective in that later film. Same weirdly angelic heroine, same practical but loving best friend/sister figure, same martyr complex... if you're a Dancer fan, you'll want to check this out. And even if you're not, you should still see it. Watson and Skarsgard are both fantastic, and Von Trier is out in full force. Essential viewing.


The List: Singin' in the Rain
(dir. Gene Kelly & Stanley Donen, 1952)

What is there to say?

This film is a classic. Arguably the greatest musical comedy ever made (there are plenty of great musical dramas, but comedies this buoyant and joyful are hard to come by), it's also a moving love story and a scathing satire of Hollywood. All that plus the actual "Singin' in the Rain" musical sequence (guaranteed to make you smile).

But I do have a few quibbles. Not with the film per se, but... WHY was Jean Hagen the only one in the cast who was up for an oscar??? Yes, she was great at playing a crappy singer/actress/bitch. But where's the respect who those who have the chops (and pipes) to play GREAT singers, actors and comedians? The three major players were all great, and IMO more award-worthy than Hagen.

And another thing. WHY did Donald O'Connor win the golden globe for Best Actor in a Comedy/Musical? That was GENE KELLY'S award. No disrespect toward O'Connor, who was terrific... but he's not really the lead. Kelly is. And he wasn't even nominated for the frakkin' golden globe?? Go figure. I won't even get started on how he directed the film, too...

Anyway, for the record, the nominations should've gone like this:

BEST PICTURE OF 1952: Singin' in the Rain

The under-awardage of this film when it was released was pretty criminal. Luckily, film history would provide some vindication.


The List: Top Hat (dir. Mark Sandrich, 1935)

Yay for Top Hat! One of the most random and fun film titles ever.

I finally got going again with my "list" viewings (I'm getting way behind); both this and Singin' in the Rain were playing free at school (on actual film, or so it seemed) this past weekend. What a fun double feature! I made a point of seeing this one first, since I knew Singin' would top it easily (no pun intended).

Anyway... mistaken identity, romance, singing, dancing (tap dancing in a hotel room to be specific), and lots of Ginger Rogers to be ogled. By golly, she sure is pretty. I had no idea. I also had no idea Fred Astaire had such a weirdly triangular face... I guess I imagined him as more classically handsome. He is a great dancer, though.

A bit of trivia: there was apparently an oscar for "best dance direction" back in the day, since it's one of the four this film was up for. Best pic is another, as is best song for "Cheek to Cheek", an Irving Berlin original. I actually knew the "Cheek to Cheek" sequence already (from the immortal Purple Rose of Cairo) but didn't know it came from this particular film. That was a fun bonus.

All in all, a very cute depression-era charmer, with a timeless musical sequence in "Cheek to Cheek". It has an elegant simplicity and sense of purity (despite numerous continuity errors). Worth checking out, even if it's not on your list of 200 required classic films.