Wednesday, January 30, 2008

FAVORITE FILMS OF 2007

Top Ten Favorite Films of 2007 (in alphabetical order):

After the Wedding – Danish “melodrama.” Great performances (I love Mads Mikkelson…rent The Green Butchers and you will too!)

Charlie Wilson’s War – Very interesting political story whose repercussions we still feel today. Despite the serious story, a funny and enjoyable film….Phillip Seymour Hoffman is awesome (are you surprised?).

Diving Bell and the Butterfly – absolutely fascinating and almost unbelievable true story. Sad, but not despressing…funny at times and empowering.

The Host – is NOT a horror movie. It does have a monster, but it’s more of a comedy/political satire/family drama hybrid…great blending of genre and a thoroughly enjoyable film.

Into the Wild – beautifully shot and incredibly sad. Hal Holbrook kicks ass. And the hippie guy who’s married to Catherine Keener and has never done a movie before. Sweet.

Juno – Okay, the first 20 minutes I was thinking, “DEAR GOD this woman can’t write realistic dialogue to save her life,” but then it became one of the funniest, character driven movies I’ve seen in a long time. I think Jason Reitman and the awesome cast really sold it.

No Country For Old Men – Probably my favorite…bleak landscapes, amazing characters, tension. Captured everything I liked about the book without the annoying prose (and if that makes me sound unsophisticated, YOU try reading a Cormac McCarthy book for FUN).

Stardust – Did you love Princess Bride? Did you see Stardust? Well, you certainly should have.

There Will Be Blood – The first hour and a half is an amazing journey through early oil prospecting in the West…the last hour belongs on the cutting room floor alongside the last hour of every PT Anderson movie. Daniel Day-Lewis, once again, chews the scenery to pieces without ever seeming fake or forced. He’s incredible.

Waitress – Sweet, charming, funny, romantic. My only complaint was the stupid “pie song.” Really…they could write lyrics that make sense? The rest of the movie makes sense. Sigh.


Runners-up:

3:10 to Yuma
– ooo, a Russell Crowe movie I liked! It’s been a while. This is a fun ride.

4 Months, 3 Weeks, and 2 Days – part of the Romanian project Memories of a Golden Age, set in Communist Romania, the films in the series are sort of hyper-realistic, emotionally gripping comedies. This one deals with a girl obtaining an illegal abortion. I also loved the healthcare commentary The Death Of Mr. Lazarescu from 2006.

Adam’s Apples – Another interesting Danish film with Mads Mikkelson (the bad guy in Casino Royale). Dark comedy. Fun.

Away From Her – Julie Christie is marvelous, but her husband, played by Gordon Pinsent need more recognition. A devastating film.

Beowulf 3D – Don’t bother with the DVD…the movie isn’t that good. The landscapes and fight scenes in 3D IMAX…unbelievably awesome. Too bad you missed it. Sucks for you.

Breach – Good political thriller/true story…Chris Cooper is great, as always.

Hairspray – say what you want, I THOROUGHLY enjoyed this and sang the damn score for weeks.

Hot Fuzz – not Shaun of the Dead, but YAY!

The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters – You do not have to like or know anything about video games to love this movie. It’s really really cool.

Mr. Brooks – I can’t stand Dane Cook (with a fiery passion after those World Series ads), but I enjoyed it. Sue me.

The Namesake – lovely film, well directed, interesting issues….

Once - Like a music video with a plot...and great music.

Ratatouille – Pixar. French food. No talking cars.

Sunshine – like 2001 with more plot…though the last half hour was like whaaaaaa?!


Movies I suspect might have been contenders had I seen them:
The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford
Before the Devil Knows You're Dead
Gone Baby Gone
Lars and the Real Girl

Worst Movies of 2007
There has been a request for a worst list. Since I am not a paid reviewer, I don't have to sit through the crap that they do, so I don't see the REALLY awful ones. But here are a few I DID see:

Spiderman 3 - jesus
Pirates of the Carribean 3 - pirate ships are fun to watch, but what the hell was going on in this movie?!
Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer - watched it on a plane. knew it would suck. it did.
I'm Not There - Bob Dylan fans may like it...I thought it was pretentious garbage.


What's On The Menu Today?!

Last night, I was shopping at Vons, and this little old Asian lady behind me in line bought 2 gallon jugs of milk, 14 cans of whole kernel corn, and two packages of Hilshire Farms sausage links. Creamy Corn Casserole anyone?!

Quoting The Best...

I don't know if it's kosher to quote someone else's blog in your blog, but until I get a cease and desist, I thought I'd share some brilliant WGA strike commentary from John August (johnaugust.com):

"Throughout the strike, the media has had fun portraying a Good Cop/Bad Cop thing between the DGA and WGA. It’s not accurate at all, but here it goes: the DGA is reasonable and calm and polite (Good Cop), while the WGA is trashing the room and making threats (Bad Cop). The suspect (in this case, the AMPTP) would naturally prefer to deal with Good Cop, who professes to be on his side against the bully waiting out in the hall. “Just give me something I can use,” says Good Cop.

Extending this analogy, SAG is that wild-eyed guy you have locked up down the hall. Both Good Cop and Bad Cop are happy to point out that unless they can make some progress, the alternative is sharing a cell with That Guy. And he’s effing crazy. He’ll light his arm on fire.

For the record, I don’t think SAG is crazy or pyromaniac. I think they’re smart to point out that they have many of the same concerns about new media, along with other actor-specific issues. I suspect they’ll be out in force on Monday, not because they want to strike, but because they want to let everyone know they would and could."

McCain/Giuliani: Kicking Ass in '08

Mitt Romney is frightening. Steve Forbesian in his wealth...he blinks, but still lacks a certain humanity. Last night he said something about making sure girls are married before they get pregnant...I restrain myself from mentioning anything about sister-wives.

So this brings us to McCain and his special friend Rudy...no, not Sean Astin, but CLOSE. Two cute, curmudgeonly old men. Both would be very interesting to have dinner with...smart, opinionated...interesting men. And both warmongers. Add in Secretary of State Dr. Doom and we're all set for the next 8 years. WAR MACHINE! Woohoo!

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Cult Hits Close To Home

There is a cult quite prevalent here in LA. I'll call them the Scientificats, lest I provoke the ire of their organization by using their real name. The Scientificats like to recruit members by offering "free stress tests" to random pedestrians on the street. Typically, it seems to me, these recruiters are overweight, middle aged men, this prompting my assumption that crazy cult members = fat, old guys. However, the other day I was walking down Hollywood Blvd, when an attractive young blonde woman invited me in to see a "special exhibit." Now, of course, I didn't go in, I simply said, "uh, no" and walked away, but I was profoundly disturbed to learn that all cultists are NOT fat, middle aged men...or whacky celebs. So be careful, friends, you never know who could be afflicted with the horrible disease known as cultism.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Flossing with Tea

Remember that Batman comic where Robin describes escaping from some bad guys using a tennis racquet, fish hook, and ball of twine? Well I, too, am brilliant as such. I had a bit of apple caught in my teeth (I also eat healthy like most super heroes) and no floss. Holy Manzanas Batman! What's a wonder boy to do?! Welp, the teacher I am covering looooooves tea. So I stole a tea bag a flossed with the string. Mmmmm, teaee freshness.

The Trouble With Helicopters

I used to think helicopters were cool. But now I hate them. Today a helicopter hovered over my bedroom from 5:45am to 6:30am and then promptly sped off when my alarm sounded. Why, you may wonder, is a helicopter hovering over my bedroom...is the CIA spying on me...AGAIN?! Nope. You see, there was an accident on the 405, undoubtedly a bad one that snarled traffic, but nonetheless, do we REALLY need traffic helicopters out at 5:45am to capture indecipherable footage of brake lights on the freeway? I turned on the news and there they were. Still dark out...couldn't tell WHERE they were if Jane Monreal hadn't told me, but thank god Channel 7 was on he scene to wake me (and undoubtedly most of my apartment complex) up 45 minutes early so we could catch these amazing images. When they start offering a Pulitzer for assholes, I nominate Channel 7's helicopter. And on a more serious note, I will be adding "installing reasonable traffic helicopter hours of operation" to my list of public works projects. It joins "not allowing construction in a residential area to begin before 8:30am" and "restricting trash pickup hours." Have you noticed the trend? Los Angeles not allowing me to sleep. Maybe that's why so many people seem to be socially retarded out here...they need more sleep. Think about it. And vote for me for LA Public Works Commissioner.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

The Birth of a Blog

I always think of things to say and then wish I had a blog...well...

Expect brilliant musings soon.