Oh! That darn documentary!

>> Friday, December 11, 2009

That would be 8: The Mormon Proposition, which is scheduled to premiere at Sundance in January. Looks like "The Church" is already doing research on this documentary, seeing as they popped onto my blog this past Monday. I wonder how many more gay rights measures they will start supporting to lessen the public relations disaster that is surely coming...


Sky Captain and The World of Tomorrow

I remember when I saw the trailer for this five years ago. I thought it looked so great. I couldn't wait to see it. Then the reviews came out for it, which if I remember correctly, weren't all that great. Totally dampened my enthusiasm for seeing it in the theater. (I could look the actual score up on Rotten Tomatoes, but I don't care at the moment.) But I wondered at the time, how could a movie with such great visuals be so mediocre?

Well, that's kind of a dumb question, but it kept popping into my head while I was watching it. The scenery is fantastic. The characters, not so much with the exception of Angelina Jolie. She does enliven it for the few scenes she's in it. But the two leads, Gwyneth Paltrow and Jude Law, need to drink a bit more coffee or something when they come to set. Paltrow's character was almost interesting. If she would have wound the character up a bit more, instead of choosing mild restraint so often, then Polly would have been a joy to watch. And Jude Law's Sky Captain Joe? Well, he has the brains. Charisma to help the audience fuse with him on this grand adventure? Um, no. Sorely lacking in that department. The chemistry between Paltrow & Law's characters seemed to be all Paltrow, operating on 85% of her character's necessary gusto.

Perhaps this is just a difference between watching it on the big screen and small screen? I don't know. But I do know that it took far too long for them to get to Shangri-La. The story didn't really kick in for me until about then. If they could have trimmed some of the earlier scenes by just a second or two each, then perhaps the first half wouldn't have dragged so badly for me.

Interesting story once it reaches the end though. Just takes too damn long to get there. I love the design and 1930s look, but I can get that in comic and coffee table books.


Sarah Palin, The Coward

>> Thursday, December 10, 2009

Since the only thing she knows how to do now is make posts on Facebook, it should be no surprise that when asked if she would (could) debate Al Gore on climate change, after the Washington Post published an op-ed (with her name on it no less) regarding the subject, she declines.

From today's Laura Ingraham show:

INGRAHAM: Would you agree to a debate with Al Gore on this issue?

PALIN: Oh my goodness. You know, it depends on what the venue would be, what the forum. Because Laura, as you know, if it would be some kind of conventional, traditional debate with his friends setting it up or being the commentators I'll get clobbered because, you know, they don't want to listen to the facts. They don't want to listen to some reasonable voices in this. And that was proven with the publication of this op-ed, where they kind of got all we-weed up about it and wanted to call me and others deniers of changing weather patterns and climate conditions. Trying to make the issue into something that it is not.

INGRAHAM: But what if it's an Oxford-style, proper debate format. I mean, he's going to chicken out. I mean, if you challenge him to a debate, do you actually think he would accept it?

PALIN: I don't know, I don't know. Oh, he wouldn't want to lower himself, I think, to, you know, my level to debate little old Sarah Palin from Wasilla.
Coward. Jason Linkins of the Huffington Post captures it perfectly:
So, there you have it, if you find a venue for this debate where the odds are totally stacked in Sarah Palin's favor -- like maybe a dogsled race that you quit halfway through? -- she's game! Otherwise, she'll get clobbered. This was "proven," you know! Totally "proven!" When she was afforded the opportunity to write an op-ed in the Washington Post -- free from any editors who might normally say things like, "No, this is wrong," or "Sorry, we actually would prefer to not insult or readers intelligence because we'd like them to keep buying our newspaper" -- and when said op-ed wasn't universally showered with praise and accolades, it absolutely "proved" that the media and Al Gore's friends and "commentators" were just out to get her. Millionaire lady gadabout just can't catch a break!

This is sort of Palin's de facto setting for media appearances. May I remind you, she hasn't even bothered to go on any of the Sunday morning political talk shows. Not even Fox News Sunday!
She won't even answer questions from reporters on her book tour, even in the most Republican areas like Utah.

Video Courtesy of KSL.com


Oh, by the way, the Chinese believe that those who are wearing green hats are getting chumped. Guess those divorce rumors must be true!


Fun is always free


Sharp Contrast

Digby on Sunday:

Yesterday I wondered whether the president would come up to Capitol Hill today and finally lay down his own bottom line on health care reform, which Democratic Senators were insisting he needed to do to break the logjam.

Harry Reid just emerged from the meeting and said this about the Pubic Option:
Q: Senator Lieberman said that the president didn't mention the public option.Is that true and do you think that that's significant?

Reid: The President didn't say a lot of things. Senator Lieberman said that to me after the meeting also. But that doesn't mean it's not an issue just because the president talk about it.
If anyone's still wondering where the president stands on this, he stands where he always stood. On the side. Either he doesn't give a damn or he doesn't want it, you choose.

Senator Lieberman, on the other hand, clearly wants nothing other than to stick it to the liberals. That is why he's against the PO. And he wants everyone to know that. He's a vindictive, nasty piece of work and he doesn't care about his reputation, his legacy, his relationships or the future of the country. It's all about him. And the president and the majority leader seem to think, as always, that it's better to appease Holy Joe and let him win.
Compare that to what Daniel Schorr wrote about Bill Clinton warming up in the health care fight in February 1993:
Then, a massive attack is expected to be mounted against both the insurance and pharmaceutical industries. The president is already warming up for that with remarks like "The pharmaceutical industry spends $1 billion more each year on lobbying and advertising than it spends on developing new and better drugs."
Huge, huge difference.


Twilight: New Moon

>> Wednesday, December 9, 2009

By some fluke, a friend and I went to see this tonight. I actually wanted to see The Fantastic Mr. Fox, but it was 8:30 when we arrived at the theater and Mr. Fox didn't start until 9:40. But New Moon was starting at 9:00. New Moon it was. I said that since that since practically no one would be in the theater, we could feel free to laugh at the cheese without worrying about being lynched by TwiHards.

I gave my friend the brief run down of what happened in the previous film. (I really hate that movie.) She was unfamiliar with it. I also told her some of the thrilling bits that happen in the final book, i.e. Jacob falling in love with a newborn. And she was like, if you were an immortal vampire, why would you spend almost a 100 years going to high school. Why exactly!

Why is Bella in love with Edward? I really couldn't grasp why during the movie. They're just in love. It doesn't matter that Edward basically has no personality. He's the pretty boy constantly concerned about Bella. It's the only thing he does with his life. How fucking stalkerish. Jacob has a personality. And a hot body. My friend even commented on his hotness during the movie. I said he's not legal, even by gay math standards.

The best parts for me were the cheese like the sparkle sound effects. A vampire just can't sparkle in silence. When you see glitter in real life, you must know that it isn't truly sparkling until you HEAR it sparkle.

Granted, this movie was WAY BETTER than the last one. There is an actual climax and a plot. However, as I said to my friend before the movie started, it's all about the blue balls. Edward can't/won't have sex. Neither will Jacob. Amazing how a teenage boy has the celibate restraint of a monk. I wouldn't expect a teenage boy to be able to do that until he's 50 and needing Viagra. I love that my friend then said, after Jacob rejected her, that Bella is going to be getting a vibrator. Poor girl, she's partly rejected by both boys in her life.

But my favorite moment had to be when Michael Sheen's character, a Volturi, saw a vision of the future, via "Alice," where sparkly Edward was running through the forest in slow motion wearing a white, flowing blouse with a beige vest and then Bella runs, via slow-mo, into view wearing a pastel dress and then she sparkled too! Major laughs throughout the theater. This is Stephenie Meyer's vision: running sparkly through the forest. I don't care if that's how it didn't happen in the book. It IS the ludicrous essence of the books.

When the movie ended, I just wanted to yell, "FUCK!!!!" I needed some kind of release.


The Girlfriend Experience

>> Sunday, December 6, 2009

I find it interesting that this movie is rated R, given that there is no sex in it. Some brief nudity, yes, but not closeup. I suppose it's rated R for "adult situations" or something like that.

Anyhow. I got interested in seeing this last spring when it came out. Of course, it didn't play near here. I don't think it even played in SLC. Naturally, I put it in my queue after listening to a Salon.com interview by Andrew O'Hehir with Steven Soderberg. At least, I think it was Soderberg. It might have been Sasha Grey, the porn star who plays the lead role in this.

The interview discussed "The Girlfriend Experience" in general terms, which is not the movie but people paying escorts for dates that simulate having a girlfriend because they don't have the time or wherewithal for dating or actual relationships. I remember hearing about that and thinking, "Wow. Lots of people really hate dating!" It's harder out there than most people admit. Of course, there are people, usually guys, who do this and still have girlfriends, wives or families as the film depicts.

My interest kind of waffled during the first half. Some of the scenes were interspersed such as this Vegas trip that Christine's (played by Sasha Grey) boyfriend (played by Chris Santos) was taking and his regular work as a personal trainer. I couldn't tell at what point in time they had taken place. Was this Vegas trip before the boyfriend was selling his clothing line to a store or after? Or was it during? Eventually I could tell what went where by the last third of the movie.

I can understand why scenes were split up. There isn't much of a plot. It has a documentary-type feel to it. It's Christine going about her day job, minus the sex parts, and seeing how it affected both her and her boyfriend's personal lives. Showing what happened in a purely linear format would remove the layers from it, and there are some very subtle layers.

As Roger Ebert noted:

We listen to them talking. We watch them talking. Most of them want to talk about what she does for a living. There is the polite fiction that she is talking about other men, hypothetical men, and not the one she is with. They like to give her advice about how to invest her money, and who to vote for (the story takes place during the 2008 campaign). Each one has some reason for thinking he is somehow special. Set during the run-up to the stock market crash, it shows both sides more interested in investing than sex.


You wonder how a person could look another in the eye and conceal everything about themselves. But the financial traders who are her clients do it every day. Their business is not money, but making their clients feel better about themselves.


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