Thursday, January 27, 2005

Being Julia Birthday

markosf took me to lunch and "Being Julia" as part of my Birthday Week! Woo hoo!

Annette Bening turns in an OVER-The-TOP performance in "Being Julia"! The script itself was a bit dull for me. (It's based on a W. Somerset Maugham novel, of whom I am not such a big fan.) I actually took a bit of a snooze in the first 10 minutes or so. On one hand, watching Bening take her character to such theatrical extremes is sort of fun to watch! She makes Faye Dunaway seem minimalist! However, the character is so huge to begin with (the point being that she does not have a reality outside of the stage), Bening doesn't really have any choice but to BLAST away at it! She won the Golden Globe in the Comedy category, which makes perfect sense, as I can see this becoming something of a cult classic down the road. With a few cocktails and a room full of queens, the final 20 minutes could be a HOOT!! Jeremy Irons, Juliet Stevenson, Michael Gambon and the rest of the cast can do nothing but stand back and watch Bening CHEW away enormous amounts of scenery - which is the point of the piece, but still... Just a little bit of give and take would make her more human and watchable.

As an endnote: Mark decided to imitate her all the way out of the theater...

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Tuesday, January 25, 2005

2005 Oscar Nominations

The nominations by title and how I FEEL about it, since I KNOW you care! ;-)

THE AVIATOR (11) I guess I'll see this... fucking Miramax..

BEFORE SUNSET (1) a CULT fave.. .didn't see it

BEING JULIA (1) It's at the Opera Plaza so I COULD go, but...

BORN INTO BROTHELS (1) skipped the preview of this docu

THE CHORUS (2) I REALLY Liked this, but NOT as much as "A Very Long Engagement"

CLOSER (2) Portman = yawn; Owen = COOL!!! and yummmmm...

COLLATERAL (2) NO Tom C.!!?? bwahahahahahaaaa!!



HARRY POTTER AND THE PRISONER OF AZKABAN (2) LOVED IT!!! Screenplay (Adapted) and Director IGNORED?!!!

HOTEL RWANDA (3) haven't seen it.. .at the Galaxy... with "Ray" so...

HOUSE OF FLYING DAGGERS (1) Cinematography? Coool.... gorgeous!

I, ROBOT (1) Visual effects, eh? NOT Sky Captain?!! grrrrr....

THE INCREDIBLES (4) LOVED IT!! SHOULD win! SHOULD be in Best Pic, too!

KINSEY (1) Linney was the "B" word!!


MARIA FULL OF GRACE (1) She's apparently incredible. haven't seen it

MILLION DOLLAR BABY (7) REALLY LIKED this!! Eastwood (director) and Freeman MUST win!

THE MOTORCYCLE DIARIES (2) You couldn't DRAG me to this thing! HATED the trailers!


THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA (3) "For Your Consideration Song" of course... Cinematography? I don't think so... Art Direction, yes!

THE POLAR EXPRESS (3) Couldn't DRAG ME to it!!

RAY (6) Ok. I'll go. It's at the Galaxy. I sorta don't think it should be up for picture, though...

THE SEA INSIDE (2) LOVE Javier Bardem, so I might go see this, but... sounds dull

SHARK TALE (1) OH PUHLEEEZE!!! Who paid for THIS nomination?!

SHREK 2 (2) Song? Animated flick? pity, it'll lose, but it will to "The Incredibles"!!!

SIDEWAYS (5) Well. A bit over-rated in my book, but Thomas Haden Church was pretty awesome!

SPIDER-MAN 2 (3) Oh. Ok. Whatever. NOT Sky Captain, though!!! grrrrr....

THE STORY OF THE WEEPING CAMEL (1) LOVED this!! It is on sale TODAY!! Woo hoo!

SUPER SIZE ME (1) Really LIKED this!! Bummer it is up against "Weeping Camel"!!

TROY (1) Costumes?! How about "Best Personal Trainers"!!??

VERA DRAKE (3) Just THROW the Oscar at Staunton!! DO IT!!! Mike Leigh? DON'T throw the Oscar at him, this time... HE is in Mark Forster's spot!! grrrrr....

A VERY LONG ENGAGEMENT (2) I LOVED this!! France did NOT submit for Foreign Language?! Art and Cinematography? for sure, but... Deserves MORE!

THE VILLAGE (1) oh, who cares? John Newton Howard.... Yawn...

Don't know or care about these:




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Monday, January 17, 2005

House of Flying Neverland

Monday, was a double feature out in Emeryville, AMC Bay 16:

"The House of Flying Daggers" (dir. Yimou Zhang) I am totally loving Zhang now! "Ju Dou" and "Raise the Red Lantern" are just too friggin' SLOW for me, though beautiful. But these last two, "Hero" and "The House of Flying Daggers," have really PICKED UP the pace, without sacrificing his aggressive use of color and episodes. "...Flying Daggers" is much easier to keep up with compared to "Hero." Fewer characters, and though there are a few twists along the way, having only four actors kept it from being confusing. It. Is. Simply. Gorgeous. Again. I don't know how much he spends on his sets or his locations, but he must use EVERY penny! Now, with all of that said, the last 10 minutes are sort of sloppy. There is a terrible edit in the middle of the snowstorm duel that makes no sense what so ever. And there is a climax-anti-climax that is sort of annoying and had people snickering at it. Pity. It was almost an operatic tragedy, before it felt like he was second guessing his ending.

Followed that up with "Finding Neverland" (dir. Marc Forster) Up until now, "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind" was my favorite film of the year. I. Loved. "Finding Neverland." I didn't really expect anything specific, yet it was filled with surprises! The direction and editing are (yes, I'll use the "B" word) brilliant! The script (based upon a play I've never heard of) was quite lovely. I had heard about the 'fantasy sequences' but had no clue how well it would be done, especially how well the cast was able to juggle the scenes within scenes. Johnny Depp is quite good, though I thought his dialect was slipping here and there. Julie Christie is FABULOUS and Dustin Hoffman gets to have punchlines! The climax/ending wrecked me. Tears? Oh yes. Nearly sobbing. The film redefines what "Peter Pan" is all about to me. Truly incredible, in my book! This is my third out of four Marc Forster films. (LOVED "Everything Put Together" - did NOT love "Monster's Ball") He has two more in the can and I can't wait to see what he does next!

Now, I am home to an unhappy parrot. He is jealous/unsettled by Benji sitting across the room from him, and he is upset that I left him alone with him yesterday (at Gretchen's giving her a 'home media makeover') and today. He continues to attack the refrigerator also. He hates what I love. Jealous, angry little bird...

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Saturday, January 15, 2005

Scissor Sister Sofa Spud

It's too cold to go out, so I've been EATING up the new Scissor Sisters DVD and The Fifth Element (Ultimate Ediction) DVD.

I saw Scissor Sisters at the Fillmore in October. I think I'm going to have to sit outside the Warfield and SCALP my way in when they're here in two weeks! I LOVE Del Marquis! I dunno why, either... He is not my type, but.. he is so COOL! Oddly enough, with all of the stuff on the dvd, Baby Daddy is revealed to be a pretty... well... femme. When he talks, anyway. While Del is sort of the butch one! Oh, the drummer is straight and interviews about how cool it is that he gets all the girls. Oh. How enlightening. If I can't have Del, I want Ana. There. Is that enough teen age rattling on??

I'm also slowly, carefully and thoroughly devouring "The Fifth Element" in it's new Ultimate Edition release! It has an enormouns amount of information and clips. Why have they kept this from us for so long??!! There is even a section devoted to The Diva Plavalaguna - who I LOVE! (As it turns out, the actress was Besson's 20 year old fiancee at the time.)

Of course, neither of these were received for Christmas, so THAT stack of dvds is still sitting over there. In the Corner. Waiting. (Except for "The Tales of the Unexpected" which was received from damneddonkey and I have started to get through that massive collection of episodes!)

Also, caught up on TiVo: "Creature Comforts" "ABBA The Movie" and "Haiku Tunnel". Ordered "Creature Comforts" from AmazonUK, deleted ABBA and enjoyed, yet never need to see, "Haiku Tunnel" again.

I. Am. A. Sofa. Spud.

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Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Closer to The Merchant of Venice, than The Amazing Race!

"Closer" (dir. Mike Nichols) I saw the play 5-6 years ago in London and thought it was just BRUTAL then! It is still pretty brutal on screen. Especially as Mike Nichols (director) and/or Patrick Marber (playwright/ screenplay) decided to cut the some of the most sincere dialogue from the last two scenes and use just silent montage. Anyway, it is easier to sit through as the cast is G O R G E O U S! I had seen Clive Owen in London (playing the Jude Law role), but don't remember being so taken by him. The women (Julia Roberts and Natalie Portman) are a tad 'nicer' than I think was originally intended. Portman especially comes off as more of a victim than a participant. In the script, all four are participants in their hideous bedgames. On film, Owen takes the strongest choices and becomes the manipulator of the three other characters. I think it sort of throws it off balance and leans it into "Dangerous Liaison" territory. Whereas with four equally strong characters, it is more of a battle than a puppet show. Lacking that battle, I experienced a certain malaise in watching each combination of relationships be destroyed and remade, just for the sake of taking them apart again. I was hoping for sparks and cat fights! Oh well. markosf then snuck across the hall for "The Aviator" as I popped downtown to the Variety Arts Screening Room for a preview of:

"The Merchant of Venice" (dir. Michael Radford) Now, if there were a play that NEEDED some script editing, THIS is one! I've never really liked this play. But one doesn't pass up the opportunity to watch Al Pacino chew up a gondola and spit it back into a Venetian Canal! His Shylock is so totally "Michael Corleone: The LATER Years!" that it made me laugh! Out of the three sets of lovers, I could have EASILY deleted two of them! You sort of MUST keep Portia/Bassanio. One, because of her BIG moment at the plays climax. And, two, because Joseph Fiennes is hot. The other two sets of lovers are just in the way and make it a longer drama (2.5 hours) than necessary. Oh, and WHY does Jeremy Irons seem to insist on taking off his shirt?! ewwwww...

I could have skipped this. Especially since it is The AMAZING Race night!!! But, lo. I could have missed THAT tonight too!! ANOTHER non-elimination leg?! MORE bunching??! And what a WASTE of a Fast Forward! I really don't know what the producers are thinking in this edition. They put together a real group of psychos and bitches and seem intent on making us watch them for as long as possible. I LOVE Kris and JON, but... come on! Let's get this thing MOVING!!! They must get to India NOW! It is taking forever! Gawd I want to see Hayden, Kendra and Victoria M E L T D O W N in the Ghangis! I really do!

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Friday, January 07, 2005

Take Me Out to the Ballgame
What do I do now? Babble on like I do in therapy? Enter fffffabulous personal exploits? My only BIG news today is the arrival of my new little Dell printer! Oh, and Maxxxxx is behaving today.

It is cold.

Oh! I did see the Nudie Baseball Play last night (with markosf and friends)! LOTS of penises! (peni?) I think the first one came out fluffed, for the effect. A couple hunky ones. The play? The play has its moments. There is a BIG monologue in the first act which is this beautiful paean to baseball. If I LOVED baseball, it would have meant more to me. The cast (there was NO Jeremy Sisto!!!) was ok to fair. Ironically, I think the biggest queen in the cast was playing the straight guy/narrator. The queen in the play was obviously played by a straight guy, as he overdid it. That character also gets the aforementioned BIG monologue. The nudity was not at all gratuitous, which was nice. The killing at the climax was gratuitous, which sort of spoiled the rest of the play for me. One HUGE 'Tony Moment,' as the murdering pitcher has a M E L T D O W N, was just played like it was THE HUGE Tony Moment! People applauded him as he was dragged off stage, but I didn't. GREAT Set!! Ok lighting. Cool tech stuff including the showers that were downstage! I'd recommend it, but don't expect to LOVE it. If it weren't for the technical problem of the showers (which I imagine the little gay theatres across the country will decide to mime), this thing will pop up at the New Conservatory or Theatre Rhino as soon as rights become available. But I'd hate to see a whole CAST of queens try and do this.

There. How's that?

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The Screener Equipment

FYI: These are the specs of what I'm watching at home (i.e. screeners and DVDs):

InFocus Screenplay 4805 DLP Projector (1080i, Component Video Input)

Da-Lite Pull Down Projection Screen Model C (37.5"x67"/Video Spectra Fabric)

LiteOn LVW-5005 DVD Recorder (modified to be all region, with a PAL/NTSC converter)

Onkyo TX-NR801 Amplifier

B.I.C. Venturi Speakers; DV52 Series Front/Surround; V80 Subwoofer

Monster Cables

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