Monday, February 25, 2008

Some Notes on the Oscars

Pretty run-of-the-mill ceremony this year, even though it is the award's big 8-0. Jon Stewart was occasionally funny and kept out of the way, managing not to mince around and embarrass everyone and himself, as seems to be the Oscar tradition going back to the Billy Crystal days. When jokes fell flat, it usually wasn't Stewart telling them. There was also no interpretive dance, though having to listen through three songs from "Enchanted" was a bit of a trial (no Celine Dion though, and thank you Jesus for small mercies).

It helped that the movies nominated were at least good-to-great this year, and there was nothing on the odious level of "Crash" or "Gladiator" floating around, causing me to go into spittle-flinging rants.

Here are a couple of stray observations:

-Michael Moore did not win for best doc, so we can all just go back to pretending he doesn't exist.

-The fucking penguins did not win an Oscar.

-The Foreign Language award went once again to what was reportedly the worst of the candidates, carrying on the long running Oscar tradition of making sure that the only foreign films most Americans hear about are the shitty ones.

-Now that Diablo Cody has won an Oscar, maybe she'll go on to write something with multidimensional characters who don't speak in inanely quirky dialog.

-Weird how everyone who won the major acting and directing categories, even the best film, seemed to deserve it.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

The March of Progress and Other News

This Article Brought to You In Hi-Def

The spat over which high definition video system would dominate the market has been decided. The winner: The one with the silly name that doesn't really describe what it is. With Blu-Ray the new gold standard in video image technology, consumers can now go out and replace their film collections, confident that they won't have to just replace them again for at least another year or two.

Taxman, Mr. Thief
Nicolas "Miscast" Cage has been accused of tax fraud, allegedly using his production company to write off $3.3 million in personal expenses. The total taxes Cage is disputing are $814,000 while his production company is refusing to pay an additional $988,000. Sounds like a lot, eh? Those dastardly tax officials, always trying to screw the struggling multi-millionaire, someone who gets more money for doing maybe three or four months of actual work in a year than anyone reading this site will likely see in their entire life. Damn shame, really.

Barely Legal
Lindsay Lohan has set the fists of millions of internet browsing men a blazing with her recent nude photo session. In the finest work of her career, the strung out, freckled piece of jailbait stripped down for a shoot identical to one done by Marilyn Monroe. I'm sure we can all look forward to Ms. Lohan copying Monroe's final pose: overdosing on barbiturates and collapsing naked on the floor.

Top at the Box Office This Week
1. "Jumper," or "We Have This Special Effect and By God We're Going to Use It." Hayden Christensen plays some handsome asshole who gains amazing abilities without making any effort and instead of using them to better the world decides to fulfill all of his juvenile power fantasies. We're supposed to cheer for him.

2. "The Spiderwick Chronicles." And the post "Lord of the Rings"/"Harry Potter" fantasy franchise clusterfuck continues. 50/50 chance this is a giant marketing ploy rather than a film, but I have no interest in seeing it in any case, so I'll let it slide.

3. "Step Up 2 the Streets." Did somebody forget at some point that dance movies don't have to take place in some Hollywood dreamland version of "the ghetto" and that they can have actual plots happening in the background? Or am I just feeling nostalgia for a thing that never really existed?

4. "Fool's Gold." Holy fucking crap, does this look rancid. Is this why we let the writer's strike end? So we could get more of this?

5. "Definitely, Maybe." Could you be more vague?

6. "Welcome Home, Roscoe Jenkins." Another film depicting black people in one of the only two or three ways they seem palatable to a mass audience: The close knit family unit (the others being drug dealers and break dancers). Martin Lawrence continues to try and cover his bad habits with bland family comedies.

7. "Juno." The joys of teenage pregnancy, minus the consequences.

8. "The Bucket List." Topping the chart on the emotion-o-meter.

9. "Hannah Montana/Miley Cyrus: Best of Holy Fucking God I Weep For Our Culture."

10. "27 Dresses." You know, movies don't have to be mediocre. They can actually be exciting and interesting and thought-provoking and original and fun. However, by settling for movies like this rather than something new and thrilling, we work to lower the standards of our culture and dumb ourselves down until we can no longer recognize quality cinema. This film is a symptom of our national disease.

Have a pleasant day.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Lawyers, Guns and Money

Just Thinking

I wonder what Thora Birch is up to these days. I always thought she was pretty.

Strike Down

The writer's strike is officially over. They didn't win much and nobody really noticed they were gone (nobody with a life outside of television, that is), but boy was it a goofy ride. We got rid of the Golden Globes for a year, but still have to endure the Oscars. A bunch of crappy shows were forgotten about and a few good ones were put on hiatus. Screenwriters can now go back to being ignored for another decade.


New Line Cinema is being sued by the estate of J.R.R. Tolkien and publisher HarperCollins, as it seems there was a minor little accounting error in that New Line forgot to pay up something in the area of $150 million dollars. Oops. In similar news, Mel Gibson is being sued by the screenwriter of "The Passion of the Christ" because Mel had told him there wasn't a lot of money available for the script, despite the fact that the film had a $30 million budget and made more than half a billion. So basically, Gibson stiffed the Word of God on the bill. Who would have thought batshit crazy people could be so manipulative?

Celebrity Causealicious

Steven Spielberg has stepped down as the artistic adviser to the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. His reason? China is not doing enough to help end the genocide in Darfur. Amazing how some people will have such a one track mind. THAT IS THE REASON YOU CHOOSE NOT TO WORK WITH CHINA!? FOR A HUMAN RIGHTS ABUSE THEY AREN'T EVEN PERPETRATING? Mia Farrow put the icing on the cake by sending a letter to the president of China asking him to sever ties with Sudan (which is where China gets two thirds of its oil supply. Even if China was able or willing to make that sacrifice to end the genocide, I don't think Sudan would have trouble finding another buyer). So instead of stepping down and complaining about the vast multitude of human rights violations that the Chinese government does ON ITS OWN IN ITS OWN COUNTRY, these nitwits have somehow managed to tie everything to their trendy pet cause. I guess it doesn't count as a crime against humanity unless Brad Pitt stands in front of it.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Top at the Box Office This Week

1. "Hanna Montana/Miley Cyrus: Best of Both Worlds Concert Tour." Pardon me, but what the holy living fuck? The Disney Channel and its tween money making machines invade the cinemas. Debby Gibson only wishes she could have attained this level of corporate synergy.

2. "The Eye." Another Asian horror remake, this time of something that's actually good. The movie itself and everyone involved can go rot for all I care, so long as this gets somebody to put the original back in print on DVD.

3. "27 Dresses." This is the exact kind of romantic comedy that makes most men want to castrate themselves with a dull, rusty knife. Phenomenally attractive woman can't find a man who appreciates her? Watches the man she loves get married to her sister and has to help, but has a darkly handsome man in the background who seems to understand her? Will it all work out in the end, or will everyone die in a subway station during a terrorist nerve gas attack? I would prefer to let it remain a mystery.

4. "Meet the Spartans." Another in an increasingly dour selection of pop culture parody films that seem to work mostly as a scam. Throw enough obvious pop culture references into a plot that you make up as you go along, keep the production values low and add a few C-list celebs and you are bound to get enough idiots to spend their disposable income on it to make a profit.

5. "Rambo." Did you see that scene where he obliterates that one guy with that gigantic machine gun at point blank range? That was awesome. Rambo continues in his life-long goal of exterminating the entire population of Southeast Asia while grunting unintelligibly.

6. "Juno." So what do you think next year's "Little Miss Sunshine," indie comedy no-hope Oscar nominee will be? I think it will have something to do with a precocious teenage girl who is interested in crossword puzzle competitions, whose step-father is Icelandic and whose mother collects porcelain ballerina figurines. Clap Your Hands and Say Yeah! will work on the soundtrack. It will be directed by a unicorn.

7. "The Bucket List." Cancer is a big sell. Cancer and road movies about old people.

8. "Untraceable." I think it's hilarious how Hollywood seems to think that computers can do anything. Shot in Portland, OR, so I'll give it some props for good taste. Though it should have starred either Sandra Bullock or Ashley Judd.

9. "Cloverfield." I don't generally go for projects that cause fanboys to cream in their pants months before the release. Experience has taught me that such buzz is generally a sign of eventual disappointment. However, watching NYC get laid to waste always gives me a special kind of thrill.

10. "There Will Be Blood." Yes. Yes there will.