March 29, 2005

Third Time's The Charm, Or Is It The Fourth?

As we mentioned briefly on Friday, Cinecultist bought with childish glee the DVD of the Incredibles last week. After an incredibly (pun intended) long work week the week before, a few computer generated supers was about all CC could handle on a Saturday night. We intended to leave the house, honest, but instead we just sat on our ass watching all of the DVD's extras on the second disc plus the full film on the other one.

Highlights included the much advertised "Jack Jack Attack" short film constructed from deleted scenes detailing the time the surprisingly powerful baby Jack Jack spends with the unaware babysitter Kari, a visual essay with the voice of Violet, writer Sarah Vowell and extensive making-of documentaries.

While these documentaries are geeked out and detail oriented to the nth degree, the do give the casual viewer a real sense of the undertaking involved in making this film. With footage from the very first day Brad Bird set foot on the Pixar lot, through to concerns about the script, composing realistic hair and water on computer, down to details about set design and lighting, it's clear this was a massive project. Making movies are always collaborative efforts but from the docus this movie seems like the experience was closer to that of building a city than making a piece of entertainment. Which we suppose makes it all the more incredible that it's so darn good.

But you don't have to take our word for it. Just ask CC's brother Mark, age 8 who got the DVD too as an Easter present and promptly made our family all sit down to watch it together. So here's the score if you're keeping track at home -- Cinecultist has now watched the Incredibles once in the theaters, a second time on our new DVD two weeks ago, a third time on the airplane to California on Friday night and then again on Sunday because the excitement in Markie's eyes was just too freakin' cute to ignore. Also, he finds our impression of Edna Mode, designer for the supers, pretty amusing and always chuckles when we say "machine washable, dahling, that's a new feature" or "it's a hobo suit, dahling." Gotta love that. And in case you were wondering, the movie just gets more charming and appealing with each viewing.

Posted by karen at 9:02 AM |

March 28, 2005

Frank Miller! Robert Rodriguez! Sin City! This Friday!



Need we say more? Okay, one more thing -- Clive "mmm, stubble" Owens. Yeah baby. For proper drooling and jumping up and down in your seat like an excited puppy purposes, trailer action for you.

[By the way, that second picture which may seem a little random is a post-birthday present for our sister Laurie, a huge Alexis Bledel fan.]

Posted by karen at 9:01 AM |

March 25, 2005

The Greatest Story Ever Told


The Cinecultist had a crazy-ass week at work. This isn't an excuse, just an explanation for why sheer fatigue kept our browser from pointing to the blank entry in the last few days. So for now, this is one of those lame place holder postings promising more movie opinions and commentary next week. Here's a little teaser of what's to come...Was the Cinecultist amazed and astounded by the new Woody Allen picture? Will the Incredibles dvd ever stop being our favoritest new digital media purchase? Are we more excited than we can even say for the release of Sin City? Tune in next week to find out!

By the way, regarding the above pictures, we realize Moses and the blissed out Bunny with colorful eggs really have nothing to do with each other or Easter but in our pop-addled mind they're some how associative. Go fig. Happy Spring-ish weekend!

Posted by karen at 3:10 PM |

March 18, 2005

"Shorts" Attention Span

Even though the Oscars are so yesterday's news, Seattle Maggie decided it might be fun to prolong the magic and catch a screening of some of the Academy Award-Nominated Animated and Live Action Shorts at the Northwest Film Forum. We cannot help but feel a little bad for these films, which most of the general public will never see; not to mention that they did not even get the usual 5-second snippet that is usually offered on Oscar night, as these awards were presented via the dreaded Aisle Cam. On a bright note, however, the Live Action Short nominees did get to be within drooling distance of the intellectually sexy Jeremy Irons. While we don't want to be baggin' on CC's boy Jakie, the deliciously seasoned Mr. Irons lights our fire in a way that a young whippersnapper never could. He reminds us of the hypothetical English professor with whom we never had a torrid affair, and in whose non-existent ivy-cloaked office, amidst imagined tumbled tomes of Keats and Kerouac, we became both a writer AND a woman...ah, but we digress.
Wasp.jpg In a completely unrelated story: Seattle Maggie recently went to see the new baby sea otter at the Seattle Aquarium. As we watched the snoozing wee otter clinging to its mother's belly, we felt the tiny bud of maternal instincts hidden deep in our cold, child-fearing heart begin to unfurl its fragile petals. Oscar-winning Live Action Short Wasp managed to wipe out all that like a late April blizzard. A screaming testament to the merits of birth control, the film made us squirm in our seats as the working-class single mum neglects putting pants on her kids, feeds them sugar out of a bag, and then stashes them in a pub parking lot so she can relive her glory days as a fresh young thing. While we can sympathize with the feeling of wanting to escape her sordid existence for just one night, we have to ask: did she have to have four freaking kids? We can imagine having one or two, say, by accident, but four? Overwhelmed by sticky toddler limbs and ear-gouging baby wails, we give writer/director Andrea Arnold credit for bringing the story so vividly to life, but you couldn't pay us enough money to sit through it again. We did, however, heartily enjoy the surreal 7:35 in the Morning from Spain, which managed to be both disturbing and oddly touching at the same time. It was so original and weird, we consider it a true shame that only a handful of people will ever get to see it.
ryan.jpg The Animated Shorts included Gopher Broke, in which an industrious gopher uses his digging prowess to steal snacks from passing trucks. While the plot was more than a little silly, we did have a good chuckle as the tubby rodent ecstatically jetéd through a miraculous rain of gleaming produce. The Oscar-winning Ryan was both visually and conceptually interesting; as a loose biography of Canadian animator-turned-panhandler Ryan Larkin, director Chris Landreth combines real interviews with what he calls "psycho-realism", in which a character's self image is reflected in their actual image. A face might be nibbled away to a twisted remnant by alcoholism, or violently colored bands of light might tighten around the body in strangling loops to represent doubt. Larkin himself made for an intriguing subject, enough for us to want to give him a Google afterwards.
And while we are on the subject of animated shorts, you New Yorkers are lucky enough to be able to catch a screening of The Animation Show 2005, playing now at Cinema Village, no longer playing at the Varsity. This yearly traveling circus of animated shorts, presented by Mike Judge and Don Hertzfeldt, has an excellent selection as usual, sampling nearly every form of animation possible. Some of our favorites included When The Day Breaks, a sweetly nostalgic look at life and death with anthropomorphized barnyard animals; Guard Dog, an afternoon walk from the perspective of an over-protective pet by animation giant Bill Plympton (also nominated for an Oscar); and Pan With Us, a fascinating multi-media interpretation of Robert Frost by Seattle's own David Russo. www[1] by glenn watson.jpg Top honors, however, must go to Ward 13, an Australian stop-motion thrill ride in a nightmare hospital. Seattle Maggie has a special fondness for stop-motion magic, and we loved the campy, faux-horror humor. Wheelchair chases, exploding green monster heads, and a friendly dog with two rear ends - we can't understand why the Academy overlooked this little gem. Well, there's always next year.

Posted by seattle maggie at 2:02 AM |

March 15, 2005



Over on Chutry Experiment the other day, Chuck and his readers were having a discussion about movies which are cinematic comfort food. Cinecultist found this quite coincidential as we devoted the last Sunday to a little apartment cleaning, a Chipolte burrito and some cozying in with a rental one of our hibernating movies, La Reine Margot (1994).

However, our big clue that perhaps this flick isn't the most obvious choice for a weekend afternoon curled up on the couch occured when CC's Dad called mid-movie.

CC's Dad: What are you doing?
CC: Oh, just watching Queen Margot again. I rented it from Kim's. It has Isabel Adjani and Daniel Auteuil in it.
CCD: Oh, they're good. Sorry to interrupt.
CC: That's ok. We're to the part where they kill all the Protestants.
CCD: Uh...

Yes, that's right -- two and a half hours of pretty people in period costumes set against the backdrop of religious war and massacre in Renaissance France! The definition of fun fun, right? Actually, all self-mockery aside this movie is really fantastic. Based on the Alexandre Dumas historical novel about Catherine d' Medici's four children and their struggle to maintain the throne, this film won director Patrice Chéreau and his cast a number of awards at the Cannes Film Festival and the French Oscars that year. It's one of those movies that can't help but spring to our mind when you discuss the golden age of Miramax, the American distributor that released the picture here.

Adjani's really spectacular as Margot, not least because the actress is 38 during filming playing a 20 something historical character. She does haughty, and she does passionate. She can do it all. But let's not forget Vincent Perez as her lover and protector, La Mole, who's birth and religion precludes a real relationship with the Catholic princess. Zowie, that Perez is h-o-t-t. Distracting, he is. The sweeping vistas, the brutal sword fights, the vast court scenes, the violent death of a very young Asia Argento caught in a palace intrigue, Queen Margot is epic filmmaking at its peak.

This movie is so great, it makes us hopeful for Ridley Scott's Kingdom of Heaven merely because it's of the same genre. Now that's a movie hope that really springs eternal.

Posted by karen at 11:30 PM |

March 14, 2005

'Oh,' The 'Payne!'

CC was going for a New York Post-ish headline to signal the dissolve of our favoritest director/actress coupling, Alexander Payne and Sandra Oh. Sigh. Everyone's breaking up these days and it just makes us sad.

Like our tipster, Kristi of ArtFlickChick, we were hoping for some Oh starring Payne directed picture, ala the collaboration between Assayas and Cheung or something. But as Kristi pointed out to us, the end did seem inevitable. "I knew it! At all those awards shows, they looked so distant, and I kept waiting for Alexander to thank her, just once, in his numerous winning speeches." So there's a free tip for other celeb couples, if your spouse stops thanking you, think about the therapy.

[PS: The first hit when you Google "Assayas Cheung" is our essay for Reverse Shot last year, so feel free to read it again.]

Ah well, even Godard and Karina didn't last forever, eh?

Posted by karen at 5:13 PM |

Does There Have To Be An Upside?

There is something to be said about film directors who, when casting themselves in their own movies, give themselves the part of the schmuck. Sure, Woody Allen does it sorta but his schmucks always land the hot model/ingénue even though they're schmucky and where's the verisimilitude in that? No, CC's talking about making yourself look like a complete wanker, with horrible facial hair, clothing and and perhaps some sort of disfiguring tick.

That's why Cinecultist salutes Mike Binder writer/director The Upside of Anger who gives his character in the movie not only the unfortunate name of "Shep" and the predilection for dating girls half his age but he's also sporting the most atrocious handle-bar mustache. Now here's an auteur dedicated to his art form. CC enjoyed this little flick, which isn't going to revolutionize cinema as we know it, but has some lovely performances and a flair for the dramatic American family.

Solid step number 1 on Binder's part: casting Joan Allen as the Detroit suburban housewife Terry Wolfmeyer, whose abandonment by her husband unleashes an embittered, drunken period in her life. Are there too many good things to be said about Joan Allen's abilities as an actress? We think not. She's just solid. She knows what she's doing up there. Surprisingly enough, so does Kevin Costner who plays her washed up, former baseball star neighbor who installs himself on the couch for happy hour and then just never leaves. Their middle-aged chemistry is quite fresh and the scene where he stops her car in the middle of a suburban street to discuss the pros and cons of going back her place just crackles with energy.

Those who know CC also know we loves us some Keri "Felicity" Russell so her segue onto the big screen, along with other young starlets to watch Alicia Witt, Evan Rachel Wood and Erika Christensen is reason enough for us. While these four girls don't really look like sisters and the fact that they're all so flipping gorgeous is never addressed head-on in the film, we still enjoyed all of their contributions. There are some movie worlds that while they don't seem particularly believable. their Ethan Allen bougie interiors are pleasant enough for a two hour habitation. While Allen's rage upon being left does take on some interesting gradations, the level to which she manipulates her daughters and how little they do to fight back seemed like an unadulturated fantasy.

Posted by karen at 8:36 AM |

March 11, 2005

The Geek Force Is Strong In This Young Padawan


Last night following the OC, they unveiled the new Star Wars Episode III trailer. It was a weird moment because it appealed to both the geek (lightsabers, woot!) and the girl (cutie Adam Brody playing with figurines, woot!) in Cinecultist.

Our impressions of the various bits of CGI explosions and scary Emporer makeup strung together to whet our Star Wars consuming appetite? When Hayden Christiansen talks now, his pitch always sounds like whining and we can't shake the feeling that he should be wearing Stephen Glass's spectacles while doing so. Look, Natalie Portman has a new hairdo! This time it's curly with a fancy headband! Samuel L. is just too darn "street" for George Lucas's world, despite the Billy D. legacy. Ho hum, explosion, explosion. We didn't know that the Emporer not only sounds like he's eaten lemons but he also has very, very bad teeth. Ewan McGregor is sporting the same facial hair as Yosemite Sam. And we still <3 Yoda. It's just a part of who we are, we can't deny it. Sigh.

We couldn't find a link to the actual spot online but here's a trailer of the trailer if you're curious. There's also an older version of the trailer, with about half of the footage coming from the previous films. Of course the studio hopes you'll buy a ticket to see the animated movie Robots this weekend if you really want to see the new one. For our part, CC thinks we've heard enough terrible puns about bolts from the advertisements that have been everywhere lately. No more Robin Williams! CC cries uncle!

Not really so related but it is if you follow the emo Adam Brody thread: the new Death Cab for Cutie live EP, The John Byrd EP has been totally rocking our iPod this week. Please purchase it, if only to hear Ben Gibbard's charming banter about how Barry Manilow thinks their band has a sucky name or that Ben wishes he'd followed his dream of becoming the Seattle Mariner's shortstop.

Posted by karen at 9:01 AM |

March 9, 2005

A Few Stories From The Trenches

"You listen to Beethoven or the Beatles over and over again. You don't watch Burt Reynolds over and over." And with that, the video rental age was born. Its pioneer and the source of that quote, George Atkinson died on Thursday. [via the New York Times obits]

First time director and former Agent Mulder, David Duchovney tries to do a Zach Braff. Read about all of his whimsical ruminations about his movie House of D on his very own blog! [via the cinetrix]

Film blogger and editor Jeff Turboff of FilmKicks asked the Cinecultist via e-mail if we wanted to link back to him. Hey, only if we can reprint your story of a run-in with director Rick Linklater on the mean streets of Austin.

Which reminds me of a funny story about Richard Linklater. There was a time when I was attending the University of Texas. A long time. It was about ten years of dropping in and out of school, attending classes part time, and holding part time jobs providing just enough income so I could keep being a student, or at least to keep thinking of myself as a student. I was living the slacker lifestyle in the place that gave birth to the slacker lifestyle. And I was doing it before there was ever a movie Slacker to refer to.

I used to run into Richard Linklater on the streets of Austin. He had this thing called the Austin Film Society, which back then meant he'd rent a space, usually Quackenboxes, throw some folding chairs and a 16mm projector, and he'd show art-films. Stuff like Pasolini and Fellini. And we knew each other by face back then. We'd see each other on the streets in Austin, and he knew I was in the radio-tv-film program at UT, and I knew he was a film kinda guy, and so we'd talk about film stuff.

One day he says to me, "Hey, I don't know what you're up to this weekend, but maybe you'd wanna come down to Bluebonnet Plaza and hang out. I'm shooting my movie down here this weekend and maybe you could come down and be in it or work on it."

Which struck me as odd. Everyone in Austin has either a band or a film project. And most of it goes nowhere. And this sounded especially flaky to me.

"Be in it --OR-- work on it?? Which would you want me to do?"

"I dunno. Whatever you want. Just come on down and hang out."

"But would you want me to be in it or to work on it? I mean do you have a role you have me in mind for, or which department do you need help in?"

"I dunno. Just come on down Saturday or Sunday and we'll figure it out."

So now I'm thinking [ ... this guy really has no idea what he's doing ... he wants me to be in his movie but doesn't have a role for me to play ... and he thinks he needs help on the shoot but doesn't know where he needs the help?" ]

Sounded to me like just another go-nowhere Austin kinda project. But just to make sure:

"Okay, well, if I do wanna come down this weekend, what's your call time?"

"Call time?"

"Yeah, what time are you gonna start?"

"I dunno, what time do you usually get up?"

"If you tell me what your call time is, I'll try to be here when you need me."

"Well, we'll be here all weekend, so whenever you get up just come on down, and we'll figure out something for you to do."

So now I figured, [ ...the guy doesn't have a call time, doesn't even know what a call time is...apparently he has no script, and no idea how many crew members are showing up...this is a joke...I'm not spending my weekend doing this. ]

And I didn't.

Of course, lo and behold, several months later, it was Slacker Slacker everywhere, and Linklater was gone. Out of reach. He had sealed his future and was off to work on Dazed and Confused, and I had lost my chance.

As one of my college professors once said, "Wouldn't it be nice if ---LIFE--- had editing?"

By the way, we're quite intrigued by the trailer of Linklater's newest animated-from-live-action-footage film, A Scanner Darkly.

Posted by karen at 8:58 AM |

March 8, 2005

Umm, How You Say, "Break Out Role"?

Cinecultist's newest film fascination, via the day job, is in the search for the hot young thing on screen. How to find these ephemeral figures about to burst onto the scene in that moment just before everyone else does? Our self-tutorial includes going back to watch the break out works of some currently over-played inhabitants of the mainstream. At least that's how we're spinning the realization that we spent Saturday night watching a war film directed by Joel Schumacher with our buddy Ilana.

Too sick still to navigate the E/V trains over the water to the G then to god-knows-where Greenpoint for what was surely a lovely housewarming get together, CC and Ilana ate Japanese food in the West Village before on Ilana's suggestion, taking in some Colin Farrell goodness via his first American role as Bozz in Tigerland.

Farrell has on display his very considerable talents in this film, and when we say "talents," we want you to imagine our most lascivious tone accompanying that euphemism. Damn, girl. What a physic on that one. Yet his performance and the buzz which surrounded it upon the film's release is more than just the sum of his looks. Farrell has the charisma only true screen stars can exude on film. A swagger punctuated with a tenderness and even an reluctant intelligence in his Vietnam-era bad boy army soldier character. What a surprise when a part could be just one note, particularly in these "war story as told by a sensitive, outsider writer type" movies. The war film isn't a genre which usually piques our interest, so when a film holds our attentions beyond the yelling and shooting it's a mean feat indeed.

Interestingly, this movie was also co-star Matt Davis' first film role in addition to being Farrell's first major part in US movie (before that he was probably most known in the UK for a role on the soapy "Ballykissangel" tv program). Davis went on to be the boring but hunky boyfriends in Legally Blonde and Blue Crush but has yet to really "break out," in that magazine buzz parlance. Davis is certainly good in Tigerland as the sensitive buddy but he doesn't have Farrell's magnetism. Is it only the really extraordinary who can escape the strictures of their good looks? Farrell may be in some pretty bad movies but you couldn't ever describe his characters as good looking but boring. Maybe the moral of the story is that it's not enough to have the physic of a Ken doll. Or maybe it's just that some people got it, and some don't, kid.

Ok, we're going to stop now before CC turns into some demented Robert Evans.

An Aside: Apparently, Anthony Lane can actually write less than totally snark-filled reviews. His talents are so demonstrated in his comments on Head On in this week's New Yorker [link not the perma kind so click now, while ye can]. He invokes the new German film in the same sentence with Lukas Moodysson's Lilya 4-Ever, so now we have to go see it.

Posted by karen at 8:54 AM |

March 7, 2005

Random Monday Notes

Thank you Danny Boyle for the mental image of Ewan McGregor with those Bliss Spa lotion booties on hand and foot: "Actors like to put out the PR that they're living a wild life in night clubs, but really they're tucked up in bed early with their moisturizer on," Boyle said. [via Page Six regarding a potential sequel to Trainspotting, maybe a few years down the road. In other words -- No news to report, just random photo/quotage.]

If you live in the New York area and love movies, please think about volunteering for the Tribeca Film Festival. There's an event tonight at the Tribeca Cinemas from 6:30-8 pm, so you should head down there. Just think, potentially free movies and maybe even a Bobby DeNiro sighting in it for ya! More info via the official festival site.

After watching a luminous Joan Allen on the Today show this morning plugging her new movie Upside of Anger, CC wondered what the early buzz was on Rotten Tomatoes. Surprisingly, it has a 100% fresh rating as of this morning. Sure, that's only with 6 reviews logged in but still, it is an intriguing sign. Peter Travers in Rolling Stone liked it and he was the critic of record in the 14 year old CC's world, along with Pauline Kael and Mick LaSalle of course. Does Travers have any clout any more? Is he becoming a sad, formerly rock n' roll version of Gene Shalit? Cinecultist hopes not. If any of our readers have Travers gossip, please shoot us an e-mail.

In the apropos of nothing department: Cinecultist has lived in New York for nigh on 4 years now and only just decided to take advantage of the drop off your laundry and pay to have it washed, dried and folded this weekend. If our stoic Central Valley California grandparents knew their first born granddaughter succumbed to such decadent city ways, they might disown us. Shhh, don't tell.

Posted by karen at 9:03 AM |

March 6, 2005


The New York Times asks, "Is a Cinema Studies Degree the New M.B.A.?"

Discuss amongst yourselves.

[thanks William for the tip!]

Posted by karen at 1:22 PM | | Comments (3)

We're Just Here for the Previews

Seattle Maggie regrets our long absence from this hallowed URL, but we have been taking a little time off to get ourselves employed. That's right, even after our impassioned tirade about working in an office, we are back behind a desk; however, we find ourselves working in a place that makes books, so we feel that caving in to our weakness for health insurance might be forgiven. Also, toward the end of our "gentlewoman-of-leisure" period, we found that our dwindling bank account made it nigh impossible to actually go and see movies of which to write about. And so, with newfound cold cash melting sweetly in our hot little hand, we slipped gleefully back into the movie theater for a late matinee and found ourselves delighted by the novelty of previews. Seattle Maggie loves us some previews, and we ain't afraid to say so.

First up, Sin City. From what we can tell, it's about hot chicks who beat people up and get fondled by Bruce Willis. Shot in sepia tones with that weird fake hand tinting effect, it features several Model-T car chases and a truly eclectic cast including Clive Owen, Jessica Alba, Benicio Del Toro, Josh Hartnett, Mickey Rourke and even sweet little Alexis Bledel from Gilmore Girls (oh Alexis - we fully recognize that you are a Woman and are hearing you Roaring, but you didn't have to get all hardcore on us!) While we agree that Frank Miller is a certified comic book genius, this movie looks suspiciously like a train wreck. Rental?

Next, The Ring Two - Naomi Watts takes on the Scary Hair yet again, attempting to convince us that dripping water and television static are creepy. However, the director of the original Japanese Ringu, Hideo Nakata, is at the helm, so it may turn out to be a chill-worthy horror flick. We’re on the fence with this one.

Batman Begins. Yeah. Batman. He's, like, beginning. Seriously, though, if director Christopher Nolan can bring back the brooding dignity of the Caped Crusader, we will come. Also, a pumped up (and plumped up) Christian Bale in a Batsuit is never amiss in our book.

Eh. Some Star Wars thing.

Here's a surprise - The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, starring our favorite Fisher Price Man and The Office alumnus Martin Freeman as Arthur Dent. And zany yet adorable Sam Rockwell as Zaphod Beeblebrox? Are we totally crazy to be cautiously optimistic about this film? It looks pretty good. We do adore the books, but we aren't fanatical about them; perhaps this will allow us to enjoy the movie in relative peace. SPOILER ALERT! The answer is 42, and be sure to bring your towel.

Oh dear, House of Wax. Horny teenagers piss off a crazed redneck who traps them in a wax museum. A lot of screaming, running, and melty things. Well, one thing sure was scary - as soon as Paris Hilton's pinched little face flashed on the screen, our movie companion Alysha screamed aloud as Seattle Maggie attempted in vain to stifle a belly laugh. But what are WB crushables Chad Michael Murray and Jared Padalecki doing here? Please, please spare us the sight of Cute Dean exchanging bodily fluids with the dreaded Hilton heiress! Death by psychotic rural wax museum curator would almost be preferable.

And Constantine - Keanu Reeves is a hero with questionable morals battling to keep the balance of earth between the forces of Heaven and Hell. Oh wait, that was the feature. Well, it was a pleasant bit of eye candy to pass away a sleepy afternoon, although we could have done without some of the stilted pretentious dialogue and the cheesy CGI effects, like the unfortunate herd of cows dropping dead before the might of the Spear of Destiny. Doesn’t the son of Satan have anything better to do than wipe out a bunch of cows? A few notable players were Tilda Swinton as a zealous Angel Gabriel and Bush frontman Gavin Rossdale as a relic hunter in a bowling alley. And while we are in a confessional frame of mind, we admit that our main impulse to go see this movie was that we find Keanu mighty fetching in his black coat, stalking grimly about with his smoldering cigarette clenched in his teeth, smashing demons and angels alike, and giving Satan the proverbial (and literal) finger. Aw, he’s pretty. Just as long as he keeps the talking to a minimum.

Ah, summer movies! Seattle Maggie is looking forward to 'em.

Posted by seattle maggie at 4:32 AM |

March 4, 2005

Recycling And More Jakie G.

We hate to be regurgitating what we've been posting over at Gothamist, but the two events* we highlighted this week are surely worth checking out, all ye cinecultists.

Sandra Oh movie, Long Life, Happiness and Prosperity (2002) from Asian CineVisions at AMMI tonight and Cinema Village on Wednesday.

Chan-Wook Park movies over at BAM all weekend.

Also, not to turn into a total Jake Gyllenhaal fan site or anything but Donnie Darko is the midnight movie at the Sunshine this weekend. We're guessing it will not be the extended director's cut which is good, because we didn't like it as well as the original anyway. Go out and sing along with the Echo & the Bunnymen track, it'll do you some good.

By the way, if you've never been to the official DD site, it's weird. That's not an endorsement, just a comment.

*To give credit where it's due, both of these suggestions are directly related to the excellent taste of Ms. Seattle Maggie.

Posted by karen at 8:59 AM |

March 2, 2005

CC Feels Sick And It's Not Just From The New Releases

Cinecultist has the flu. Blech. We can barely lift finger to keyboard in the midst of our Theraflu and Advil haze. Too much tea. Too many aches and pains in our body. It's all pretty sucky. Though, surely not as sucky as the crop of new releases slated to hit our theaters in the next few weeks. It's enough to make you glad for an excuse to stay in the plaid flannel pjs all day.


Case in point, the follow up to the surprisingly successful genre pick Barbershop, which CC caught on DVD a while ago and didn't think was half bad, Beauty Shop. Wasn't anyone listening to Chris Rock's tirade about how Hollywood panders to the African American movie goer with plotless drivel? That these aren't movies, they're places? Doesn't the look on star Queen Latifah's face in the above production still just spell it out for you, plain as day? Watch the trailer for Beauty Shop and be afraid, be very afraid.

Though the white people ain't doing too much better really (see: The Jacket). Why Keira Knightley and Adrien Brody? Why?

We're going back to bed now. It's too much for us.

Posted by karen at 9:00 PM |

March 1, 2005

Christina Ricci Makes Our Skin Itch

In a recent post, Cinecultist expressed an interest in seeing the much delayed adaptation of Elizabeth Wurtzel's 1994 book Prozac Nation which is available on DVD outside of the States but never found theatrical release despite a Miramax distribution deal. Apparently, the cinema gods were smiling on our curiosity because a few weeks afterwards with skinny Christina Ricci still lurking in the recesses of CC's mind, our co-worker dropped on our desk a VHS screener copy of the picture which is due for a release on cable channel Starz! in March.

With much anticipation CC watched Prozac Nation last week and we're pleased to report this film has issues no amount of time on the script doctor's couch could cure. It'd make for a great story to think Wurtzel's ill-timed and totally insensitive remarks regarding 9/11 doomed the film's release, but that may be giving her too much credit. Frankly, Elizabeth Wurtzel as played by Ricci is so repugnant, self-centered and whinny CC wanted to leap through the screen to throttle her. We haven't had this violent a reaction against a character since, uh well, Amanda the repugnant, self-centered neurotic whiner Ricci played in Woody Allen's Anything Else.

Unlike Amanda, who's mostly a projection of the penultimate High Maintenance girlfriend by the Allen surrogate played by Jason Biggs, Elizabeth fancies herself mysterious and sexy in her HM-ness. She prances about most of the film giving various Harvard undergrads her dorm room eyes or launching into crying jags for the benefit of her best girlfriend Ruby (Michelle Williams). All of this typical co-ed behavior might be relatively compelling if it weren't for the grossly incongruous details thrown in.

Tell tale signs things aren't going well for you -- Anne Heche is judging your sanity and prescribing you medication (she plays Elizabeth's therapist). You dump Jonathan Rhys Meyers after you offer him your virginity because he doesn't understand that sophisticate girls treat sex like it was a nail appointment.You describe Biggs as "a tall, sexy intellectual type" on the phone to your Mom (Jessica Lange). Then, when he breaks your heart because he's 19 and YOU'RE A HEINOUS BITCH, you invent the telephone stalk. (Did they have stalking before the early '90s?)

The film wraps up all of this weirdness with what sounds like a direct quote from Wurtzel's book about how we all live in a prozac nation, one devoid of genuine emotion just drugged up blahness. So taking too much prozac is a bad thing? No the film says, because on prozac Elizabeth was able to write again and everything was happy, tra la la, The End. Wha? Granted, Cinecultist had started flipping through a fashion magazine at this point, but we really don't think there was a further plot point/argument which bridged together the Hollywood happy ending with what seems to be Wurtzel's indictment of therapeutic drugs (i.e.. she's rather feel, than function).

Posted by karen at 8:58 AM |