Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Set your TiVo, DVR, VCR or Watch This!!!

Do you want to get a leg up on your fellow Oscar-pool competitors? Do you want to watch a movie that can effectively use the words "sexy" and "quadriplegic" in the same sentence? I know you do.

Tonight on A&E, Murderball will be aired at 8pm and again and midnight (at least here in Denver). I was really lucky to have been able to attend a special screening of the film last spring. It is about the quadriplegic rugby team that represented the US (plus a little about those pesky Canadians) in the Paralympics. The movie follows principally about 4 players of the team, plus one megolomaniac coach, the basics of the sport, and about the challenges that being disabled brings to a man. It also shows the positives of being disabled as well, which is perhaps the most shining and mindblowing message the movie brings. It's fascinating, and the sport is really exciting. The doc also succeeds in widening its scope, showing the beginning of one man's journey after an accident causing a four-limb disability, as well as visiting the Walter Reid hospital in Bethesda, MD to remind us how many among us, with the war brewing on and on, are battling, surviving and living with disabilities.

Murderball gets my vote for best doc on Sunday night, but the only other doc I saw this year was March of the Penguins. That said, I have a feeling that my 2 for 5 is far better than most of the academy voters, and we'll see one of those adorable little penguins accepting an oscar before the film makers who introduced us to the champions in this film...

Saturday, February 25, 2006

(Fake) Trailer Park

I've been wasting my Saturday morning watching a few fun re-mixed trailers. It's amazing what a little background music and Peter Gabriel's Solsbury Hill can do...

Shining, the next family comedy

Sleepless in Seattle, a thriller

West Side Story, a zombie flick.

What do you think?

Friday, February 24, 2006

List Friday!

This week's listing exercise ....

Which movie quotes do you find yourself using in actual conversation most often?

For example, when telling a new friend your life story, do you begin with "I was born a poor black child," from The Jerk? When you win a board game with your family, do you raise your arms and yell "I'm the king of the WORLD!" like Jack Dawson in Titanic?

List the quotes to the best of your ability ... and have fun! If you need help, you might want to check out IMDB.com (here). Most movies include a quote section and might get your brain tickin'!

Have Fun, Get Set ... POST!

Monday, February 20, 2006

Short Story to Film

Well, I decided to read "Brokeback Mountain." It's in a collection of short stories called "Close Range (Wyoming Stories). Evidently Annie lives in Wyoming (who knew?). It's a 30-page story.

It's really nicely done. But the most amazing part for me is that all the key scenes in the film are in the story. The first intimacy, Ennis' fight with his ex in the kitchen, the shirt on the peg at the end... and I've missed more than I've listed. The other amazing thing is that there is quite a bit of dialog, and the movie used it verbatim. I do not think there is a bit of dialog in the story that you wouldn't recognize from the film.

There are two paragraphs that I think give the story a bit more heart than the movie. The first paragraph describes my favorite scene where Jack is remembering Ennis hugging him and it describes the tenderness and sexless love in that embrace, and then follows the tenderness with the awareness that Ennis would never hug Jack face-to-face and "face" the relationship and what they are.

The second one describes the shirts Ennis finds in the closet and has some nice imagery about them being one inside the other, together as one skin (or something like that).

Both are perfect examples of how prose can tug you in a completely different way than a film. And I love them both. But I think the film is actually more poignant all around.

(I thought about typing these bits up and then got lazy, but I'll get Peggy the book this week, so if you're interested, you can check it out!)

Friday, February 17, 2006

List Friday

My last post grew out of a movie that had been hyped to the point that I was told that it would be the most amazing movie I'd see, evah. Considering my reaction to actually seeing the film, this week's List Friday topic is:

What Movies, After Much Hype, Have Disappointed You The Most Once You Saw Them?

On your marks, get set, COMMENT!!!

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Molly: Crash

So, I watched this about two weeks ago, but I've been stewing on how to write about it. I decided to write my review tonight, but first I had a few things to do. First, I had to call my HOA to complain about the greasy spics who are supposed to shovel my sidewalk, but clearly had too much cervesa last night and could only muster up energy to do half of it, and then I ordered chinese food and the stupid chinks couldn't bring my food fast enough, and then I got distracted watching the faggoty Russian figure skaters on the Olympics tonight.

Yeah. That was as hard for me to write as it was for you to read it. Crash is built on the conceit that people actually talk like that.

I certainly don't. And I don't think like that either. As Peggy noted below, the comment most heard about this movie was, "it really made me think..." What Crash made me think, however, was, "is this really how Americans think, and if so, why?" This movie tries so hard to be provocative, but I think it truly and deeply failed in offering any reason why there is the divide between the people who share the cities we live in. How and why did LA come to this culture that Paul Haggis has characterized?

I'm not saying in any way that racism doesn't exist. But I do think that what is truly at issue with race in this country is truly much more insidious than the racial slurs we can hoist on to one another. It is institutional, it is bureaucratic. It was personified with Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath. Really devisive racism in this country is not the words we forcibly use, but in the things we don't say, and in the people we let fall through the cracks.

I finished Crash thinking of all of the ways it let the real root causes and issues of race and racism fall through the cracks. I found it profoundly disappointing. Considering that, I don't see the point of having this movie made.

So, yeah. That was a really harsh review. I must say that I found the performances to be really exemplary, and there were story lines that I thought were starting to go somewhere, but they never really realized what I had hoped they would. Again, I am guilty of thinking too hard.

This movie was just so "in your face" with its controversality, that I'm feeling a little weary in having to see the remaining three "controversial" Oscar pics this year. Anyway, more on that later...

Article for the week!!

Yeah... I'm working at home!


Monday, February 13, 2006

Trailer Park

Today's selection is one close to my heart, or at least, my past: The Art Student. I was an art history major in college and lived in the art building, and knew these people so well (especially the pipemaking ceramicist, ha ha):

Art School Confidential

It also looks to have an amazing cast: Jim Broadbent, John Malkovich, Angelica Houston, and Ethan Suplee!

Friday, February 10, 2006

It's List Friday Again!!!

I was trying to think of a timely topic for List Friday this week. I reviewed the upcoming week’s events, and came up with two topics:

  • Winter sports, in honor of the 2006 Winter Olympics (yawn – and really, how many great winter sports films are there – if you don’t count Warren Miller films, The Snowball Express, or Cool Runnings … yeeeeaaahhh mon). Yo - I'm KIDDING. Well, about Warren Miller and Cool Runnings ... Ha!
  • or something to do with Valentine's Day.

I think you can tell which topic won out …

List 10 Love / Sex Scenes That Make Your Toes Curl!

These scenes don't have to be graphically sexy - although they could be. Maybe it makes you sigh - or cry, or want to hug someone. Maybe there's a scene that makes you fall in love with love - or maybe there's a scene that makes you, as Austin Powers would say, "Horny - baby!" Whatever it is, however it strikes you, list it here by commenting below.

On you mark, get set … LIST!

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Trailer Park

Here's a little movie I'm particularly psyched out of my mind about.

Luchadors + Tenacious D = Nacho Libre

Jaci, are you out there? Can you believe they are FINALLY making a movie about mexican wrestlers? It's possible that this movie will be very very stupid, but it's also possible that Jack Black did good, too...

What do YOU think?

Friday, February 03, 2006

List Friday!

Whoa ladies - this blog is getting to brainiacal for me! I'd like to turn up the lights in the room a bit and introduce a new feature to our Cinema Firmament blog ... LIST FRIDAY!

On List Friday, we'll post a topic suitable for creating a list. We'll ask our contributors and readers to feel free to contribute their version of the lists (via a comment on this post - below) within that week's time frame. This is a primo slack-at-work activity that Molly and I have participated in on Fridays by email (with our other sister, Kathy) for many moons. We thought we'd spread the joy to our fellow members of the CF.

Here are the rules:
  • Anyone can contribute a comment - if you have a list to share, please click on "comments" below!
  • When we say favorite - we mean YOUR favorite, so there are no right or wrong answers. So, if the List Friday asks you for your 10 favorite Disney characters in film, and you just L-O-V-E David Spade's characterization of Kuzco in "The Emperor's New Groove," list it!
  • Some list topics may require different rules, which will be included in the post for that List Friday. For example, if we post a List that asks you to list as many movies with a day of the week in the title, well then - DUH, you have to follow that rule. If it's a quiz list like the aforementioned example, we ought not to cheat by searching on the internet for appropriate films for the list, K?
  • Think up additional topics for List Friday. We'll take turns coming up with the list ideas.
  • Have FUN!

And now, for today's List Friday topic:

List Your Top 10 Favorite Movie Moments of All Time!

Ready? Get Set .... COMMENT!!!

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Francine: Capote

I know you haven’t seen it yet… so no “spoilers” but I have to say that I was as haunted by “Capote” as I was by “Brokeback Mountain.”

Did you know that Truman Capote never finished another novel? It was his defining, and final, complete work. The film captures the period of his life that made him iconic and ruined him at the same time.

Hoffman is fabulous in his portrayal and I was both drawn to him and completely horrified by his willingness to exploit the lives of his subjects. In some ways this movie is the “play within a play.” We see in the art of this film, the making of his true crime genre. It captures the innocence of the Midwest rural community and contrasts it with the decadence and sparkling affectation of the New York lifestyle that Capote lived.

Okay… that’s a snapshot. I loved it. I was haunted by it. I was saddened. I think there are a few defining scenes in the movie, both with Harper Lee who was a childhood friend of Truman’s.

As you see it, see what you think about Harper Lee, knowing that the real Harper Lee was a consultant on the film. I think that is SO cool. I want to say more. But I’m stopping.

Maureen… this was more than you wanted to read, huh?

Fiction vs. Real Life in the Movies

It struck me at lunch the other day (with Peggy actually) that three of the five noms for best picture are “real life” movies.

And I find myself wondering whether it’s easier to recount real life? Whether it’s harder to portray a real person? We treat them as the same genre: the dramatic film. But one is really biography, isn’t it?

I find myself fascinated (weird though it is) in the comparisons. And, I’ll be especially interested as I see more of the movies… And, I’m sure I’ll have more thoughts!

Molly: Brokeback Mountain

Here's the post where I give my little review of Brokeback Mountain. We usually get pretty rushed with the whole seeing all five movies in one month thing, but I'd like to try this. Please, my four other oscar compatriots, please try and join me in this.

DISCLAIMER: I am home sick from work today, and am on sudafed. I would be sleeping, except that sudafed gives me the jitters. The jitters, I'm hoping will keep me up to write this post, however, sudafed also gives me the stupids, so we'll just have to see.

All four of us, Maureen, Francine, Peggy and I went to see Brokeback Mountain last Sunday. We all know this movie as the "gay cowboy movie." It was so much more than that. It's so beautifully shot and acted, the screenplay is economic in the best possible way. It so wondrously lays out the passions and tragedy of star-crossed love. What makes this so much more than a love story, however, it that the men's relationship far passed the short-term, all-consuming passion that Romeo and Juliet never lived to see beyond, into the realm of companionship, which left unrequited, creates so much of a greater and more gaping wound in a life: Loneliness, loss, and the horrible recognition that fear kept one from fulfilling ones life. God, it is so sad.

And so yes, it features cowboys and homosexuality. But that is not what it is about. I think Brokeback Mountain is about lying.

As a theme in film, we've seen "the lie" in movies a lot lately. See Catch Me If You Can, See Sideways. These two films take us on the roller-coaster that self-possessed compulsive lying can take you on, from Frank Abignale's jet setting highs and the thrill of the hunt, to Miles disdain at Jack's lying, when he himself is as big, if not bigger, of a phony (I will never get over the fact that he stole money from his mother!). These two films follow ultimately the same arc: Thrill ride set in motion by lies, the fact that lying can make you feel like a better person, and then: the downfall. Oh, and of course the denoument, wherein the guy gets the redeeming job, or the girl, or the 50-year-old bottle of wine in a paper cup at the In and Out Burger.

Brokeback Mountain never needs so predictable of a story arc. It's aim was not to thrill us, or even to redeem Jack and Ennis from their sullied state as "liars." Even their "good times," their fishing trips, are flavored with an underlying sadness. Jack asks Ennis, "Why can't it be like this all of the time?" Ennis's answer, that they have wives and children and jobs and neighbors who would mutilate them if they knew, shows us that their lives' lie is compelled not necessarily from within, but from without, from their culture. Their lie is keeping them from a fulfilled life. The tragedy in Brokeback Mountain is not some climatic downfall, but the fact that they have to lie at all.

Heard it through the grapevine...

I read today at ew (link on the sidebar) that Imelda Staunton has been cast as Delores Umbridge in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. I must say, I can already see her wry smile and big pink bow in my head, and yes, Imelda Staunton is so perfect.

How much fun must it be to be a british actor lining up for these roles? The series has gotten all of the best! I am voting for Kate Winslet as Tonks next!!! Who should play Charlie and Bill?