October 31, 2005

Happy Halloween -- We'll Be Hiding Behind The Chair

punky power!In honor of sometime CC contributor Lisa's awesome costume at her party last night on the Upper East Side, we bring you the Punky Brewster picture at right. God, we loved that little plucky, color-blind orphan and her golden retriever puppy, Brandon. Cinecultist did not dress up after all, however we did carve two mini pumpkins, eat a cupcake decorated to look like a spider and went home with the jar of candy that we correctly guessed the number of pieces inside.

When most people think of Halloween, they don't think '80s TV though, they think horror movies. By popular demand, aka from our friend Michael who lurves horror movies, for Halloween we meditated a bit on the horror movies that kept us from the genre for many years.

This may sound like cinema sacrelige but it's only recently that we've watched things like the Shining or Psycho. And this was in an academic setting, though we still watched the scary bits with our eyes covered. Basically, CC comes from a long line of movie scaredy cats. Our Dad tells about how as a kid he hid under the chair during Bambi and there's many movies our siblings weren't allowed to see because we didn't want them to have nightmares. This is the prevalent philosophy in our household: that too many scary movies will disrupt delicate sleep patterns and that would be really bad.

At various sleep over parties, other six grade girls tried to get us to watch memorably schlock like Poltergeist III or Children of the Corn and mostly we spent the movie hiding behind an overstuffed chair. Perhaps we'd heard too many times that we didn't like scary movies that we never had the chance to decide for ourselves? Kind of like our dislike of nuts in cookies, a persnickety habit inherited from family members taste. For some reason, gore we're okay watching (like in our growing taste for Takashi Miike movies) but suspense is still something that brings out the skittish 12 year old in us. Oozing wounds? Fine. Something jumping out from the bushes? No. Thank. You.

Posted by karen at 8:58 AM |

October 30, 2005

We Could've Gone As A Hipster


Too tired from a long work week and a few too many beers at Orchard Bar last night, Cinecultist stayed home Saturday sans Halloween costume with a VHS of Whit Stillman's brilliant, The Last Days of Disco. Des, Jimmy, Josh, Alice and Charlotte may not dress like the Misshapes kids, but it all felt eerily similar for some reason. Scary. Josh's (Matt Keesler) final impassioned plea for the beauty and longevity of disco also cracks us up.

Disco will never be over. It will always live in our minds and hearts. Something this big, something this important and this great will never die. Maybe for many years it will seem passe and ridiculous, caricatured and sneered or worst, even ignored. People will laugh about John Travolta, Olivia Newton John, white polyester suits and platform shoes and going like this! But we had nothing to do with that and still loved disco. Those who didn't understand will never understand. Disco was much more and much better than all that. Disco was too great and too much fun to be gone forever. It has to come back someday. I just hope it will be in our own lifetimes.

Sorry, I've got a job interview this afternoon and I was trying to get revved up. Most of what I said believe.

Die yuppie scum. Viva la disco nouveau wave, lower east side hipsters!

Posted by karen at 12:52 AM |

October 27, 2005

At The Very, Very End

home3.jpgCinecultist likes to rag on Colin Farrell and his weirdo womanizing ways but to be honest, he's a damn compelling actor. We've been thinking lately for the Day Job about Farrell's new movie, The New World, the John Smith-Pocahontas epic directed by the great but reclusive Terrence Malick. So when we saw the HBO On Demand had A Home At The End Of The World available, we clicked on it over the weekend. And darn it, if we didn't reluctantly really enjoy it.

Based on Michael Cunningham's novel, with a script also written by the Pulitzer Prize-winning writer, Home tells the story of two best friends who grew up together in '60s and '70s Cleveland and then New York. The two men form an unconventional family with their girl roommate and the three move to upstate New York where they open a cafe and have a baby. Those crazy kids who idolized Woodstock, what will they think up next? Farrell plays the space cadet innocent Bobby whose sad childhood leads to an adulthood one might call emotionally stunted but for the openness and love he shows everyone in his life. It's hard to understand his motivations, yet Farrell's portrayal is so compelling any leap in plausibility is forgotten. There's no guile in Bobby and Farrell makes this totally fascinating. Oh and Farrell makes out with adorable Dallas Roberts so surely it's worth a rental.

Of course Cinecultist also loved the fact that part of this movie is set in the East Village. It was a rough and tumble nabe during the '80s but movies like Home make it look so hip and interesting and populated by magenta haired chicks with only one eye done with make up, like Robin Wright Penn. If CC could use a time machine, we'd love to travel back to that time though perhaps without all the dirt and crime. We'd dress up like vintage Ann Magnuson and take to the street with some sort of performance art schtick. Surely we'd be a huge hit.

Posted by karen at 11:01 PM |

October 26, 2005

Another Reason To Visit Paris Soon

Not that one really needs an excuse right? But the opening of the new Cinémathèque Française in a Frank Gehry building is enough to make the Cinecultist pull out our beret and jaunty neck scarf and make a break for the next flight.

Through Jan. 9, is "Renoir/Renoir," presented with the Musée d'Orsay, which draws parallels between the work of the Impressionist painter Pierre-Auguste Renoir and that of his son, the great director Jean Renoir. Some of the parallels work: Renoir's "Bal du Moulin de la Galette, Montmartre" hangs beside a screen showing similar night-life scenes from his son's "Elena et les Hommes."

Anyone out there interested in taking us away for a weekend, before it gets too cold? [via The New York Times]

Posted by karen at 12:27 PM |

October 25, 2005

We Could've Told Variety That

File it under Durr, We could've predicted these audience numbers from last weekend with a broken calculator:

North Country's aud was 62% female and 68% over 30.

Doom auds were 69% male and 61% under 25. Indicating strong appeal to the core aud, 59% had previously played the vidgame. [via Variety]

And the delicate gender balance at the movies is upheld for yet another week. Whew.

Posted by karen at 11:30 PM |

October 24, 2005

David Versus What's His Name

After a movie binge day like the Cinecultist had on Sunday, it's tempting to look for patterns in the plots of the movies we watched. This may sound silly to you but with a double feature at the theaters of North Country and Good Night, and Good Luck, then Erin Brockovich on tv it's not hard to see the connection. As Julia Roberts playing Erin says in her movie, "it's like David versus what's his name." Underdog movies are popular fare with audiences and Academy Award voters alike and while it does throw into relief how much energy CC spends either working, eating, sleeping or sitting on our ass and not out there saving the world, they're still fun. It's the "wahoo, you get'em girl!" factor. Or "David Strathairn" factor as the case may be.

Regarding our journey into the North Country: that Charlize, she can really act. We never quite got around to seeing Monster but obviously we heard the buzz and now we can see of what she's capable. Similar to Brockovich with it's bad hairdos and single mom trying to make good theme, North Country will leave you quite freklemt as Minnesota miner Josey wages the first class-action suit against her bosses. Her kids are just so darn cute and the injustice leveled against her throughout her life, not just at this one job, can't help but break your heart. It might be tempting to feel a bit cynical about such an obvious ploy for your sympathies but Niki Caro's direction (the director of Whale Rider) is so assured there's no denying it.

Watching Good Night, and Good Luck, CC ended up in the very first row on the far left side and thus had that unfortunate neck crick viewing experience. The (back) pain we go threw for our love of le cinema! Good Night is a lovely looking movie, all tender blacks and greys. The Cloon looks mighty good in this palate as does the ever lovely David Strathairn and their performances, as well as the rest of the cast, is great. The only thing, and we hate to mention it, as the story of journalist Ed Murrow against Senator McCarthy is such an important one in our American history, but the movie is a touch boring. Shh, don't tell anyone we said so, but it's a bit like taking our vitamins. We know it's good for us, but the pacing, the spareness of the human subplots, the insistence on oh-so-arty b&w stock all feels a touch abstemious. Where's the wahoo moment? Where's the Erin Brockovich, kicking big energy's ass in the boardroom, making the suckers flinch moment? Good Night doesn't have this. It ends with a whimper rather than a hooray.

Not that this should detract from the rest of it's very solid filmmaking, but we like our underdog movies to have that triumphant end note. Then we can march out of the theater, with fire in our belly and a clear sense that the drivel we've been wasting our brain power on is so much fluff.

Posted by karen at 8:51 AM |

October 21, 2005

A Halloween Costume Is Born

Scene: Last night, via instant messenger. The Cinecultist has a brainstorm about this year's Halloween costume.

07252005_sympathy.jpgcc: hello? is this matty in asia?
matty: matty in asia!
cc: wow! how are you?!?
matty: good! doin' laundry.
cc: and on the internet at the same time?
matty: well, we're in robbie's dorm and it's running downstairs right now.
cc: ah. i was envisioning a wong kar wai-ish anonymous laundromat, mid-city. home for those with longing in their eyes and lots of dirty drawers. i think my hong kong fantasies are getting away from me.
matty: ha ha ha. i hope some of the pictures i'll put up this morning will fulfill your fanatasies.
cc: me too. it really is weird the way i look at the world through movie-tinted glasses. it's like my first level of reference. always.
matty: i saw sympathy for lady vengeance last night
cc: ooo. did you like?
matty: yeah. oldboy is a little better, but this was still excellent. did you see it at nyff?
cc: yes, i did. but i am a lazy git and haven't posted about it yet. i enjoyed it. i found the characterization a little uneven and a bit black & white for the usual park fare but i thought it was mostly stylish and slick.
matty: yeah, i can see that.
cc: i really loved all of the scenes in the prison. sweet.
matty: yeah, those were excellent. i was just going to mention them.
cc: i loved her red eye shadow. think i could do that for halloween? i'm trying to think of a costume still. like, all black, my new boots and red eye make up? maybe a black wig.
matty: he he. i'm not sure that the red eye shadow would be enough. you might need that crazy coat.
cc: but what if i just wore a long black coat? would it have to have a big collar do you think?
matty: well, i think you'll be lucky to have one person recognize you even if you have the perfect costume, so i think you're fine no matter what you wear. the movie doesn't come out in the u.s. until march [ed note: Feb. 17 to be exact], so it'll give people time to forget.
cc: that always happens to me. i always have hugely cerebral costumes that i have to explain all night. one year i was "art". don't ask. i'm such a dork.
matty: ha ha. in the two years i was corky st. clair and max fischer i had a total of 4 people recognize me. and they were good costumes.
cc: i could also get a gauze bandage wrapped around my hand like i'd cut off my own finger for the costume.
matty: i think it's a good costume, just be prepared for no one to recognize you.
cc: yeah. i know. sigh.

Posted by karen at 8:57 AM |

October 20, 2005

No Sale For This 'Shopgirl'


Cinecultist read Steve Martin's novella Shopgirl when it came out a few years ago but when we sat down for an advance screening of the film last week, CC couldn't quite recall our impression of it. Guess we didn't like it all that much. However, once the film got going it all came rushing back -- the limitations of the book are also the movie's. Condescension thinly masked by supposed quirkiness does not make CC feel romantic, it just makes us depressed.

Claire Danes plays Mirabelle, a glove salesgirl at the tony Beverly Hills Saks Fifth Avenue store. A transplant to Los Angeles from Vermont, Mirabelle still has that innocent glow about her, unsullied by the jaded, over-plasticized, overly made-up metropolis. She drives a pick up truck. She does little drawings which occasionally she sells in a gallery. Then she meets two men, Jeremy (Jason Schwartman) an amplifier salesman turned rock roadie and Ray (Martin), an older tech millionaire who buys gloves at her counter only to mail them to her apartment in a bid for her affections.

This is the kind of story that men write when they don't really understand women. Hello? Interior life? Can we have some for our characters here? Sheesh. There's only so far simplistic "quirk" can get you in terms of story arc and identification. Also, these two suitors are so utterly mediocre CC found it difficult to understand why we should hope anyone would pick them let alone this milquetoast who is supposed to be our heroine. Nothing gets the Cinecultist's feminist hackles up like a romance story that says all a woman is waiting for is for a guy to come along and choose her. Grrrr. Both Danes and Martin are pretty lifeless on screen, though we've liked, nay loved, them in past work. ("My So-Called Life" and L.A. Story double feature anyone?) Schwartzman has his moments of bemusing charm but his OCD franticness and extreme chest hair is just this side of off-putting.

We hate to be the bearers of bad news like this but please, avoid Shopgirl. It's more than just bad. It's on a whole new plane of painful.

Posted by karen at 8:57 AM |

October 19, 2005

Dinner And A Movie At The IFC

Today the New York Times $25 and Under column visits the new-ish restaurant next to the IFC's movie theater, the Waverly at IFC Center. Mostly writer Peter Meehan make the food sound good, a little eclectic but solid despite an apparent over-emphasis on prep with a pannini press (hehe, the Times can be so persnickety).

When CC went to see Me and You and Everyone We Know, we read the menu and peered in the place though we weren't tempted to stop for a bite. Frankly though, $15 is sort of a lot for us when it comes to a sandwich, especially when we could just go down the block and around the corner to Grey Dog for one of the best grilled cheeses ever with French fries and their awesome coffee (mmm, that sounds good right now). However, if a certain foodie friend and reader of this space who lives in the nabe suggests a nosh there one of these days, we won't say no. There's lots of good stuff playing at the Waverly coming up (despite their still sucky attitude toward the projectionist's union) and the combo of food with a movie is one intrinsic to the Cinecultist way.

Posted by karen at 8:40 AM |

October 18, 2005

Do We Smell Oscar For Philip Seymour Hoffman?


There's certain indie actors out there who invoke an instant "Lord, I LOVE them" response from nearly every discerning movie goer you encounter. Philip Seymour Hoffman is surely one of them. Heck, so are Catherine Keener and Chris Cooper. Luckily for their fans like Cinecultist, all three are in a simply wonderful movie in theaters now, Capote directed by Bennett Miller.

Hoffman plays the titlar New Yorker writer while he is researching and writing his classic non-fiction novel In Cold Blood. His friend Nell Harper Lee (Keener) travels with him to Kansas shortly after a family is murdered in their home mysteriously one night and the quieter Nell helps the sophisticate Truman get in to their small society. The twist (you know, if this were just a film and not actually "real" life) occurs when Truman's efforts to befriend one of the killers, Perry so as to get his story spirals out of Truman's control.

For a small budgeted film, Miller and co judiciously create their late '50 milieu like real pros. Why construct an elaborate Manhattan street scene with period cars and loads of extras when a meditative shot of the Brooklyn Bridge with just less light shining from the city works just as well? The filmmakers understand that a better use of time is to cut from those timeless but simple establishing shots to interior party scenes with Truman holding court as the ultimate wit. Here is the man utterly in his element and Hoffman just shines in these bits, though he is perfectly delightful through out. It's so lovely to see movies with flawed characters like Truman, not a perfect person but sometimes brilliant and sometimes weak or completely self-centered.

Real filmmaking like this should be rewarded with your $10.75. Don't miss it, CC expects (or at least sincerely hopes for) big things for Mr. Hoffman come Oscar time.

Posted by karen at 11:03 PM |

October 12, 2005

Can You Dig It? Cinecultist Can

Cinecultist received an advance copy of the new special edition DVD of the 1979 film, The Warriors in the mail and finally last night got around to watching it with a little Chinese take-out at the Capn's Brooklyn abode. After properly freaking him out by correctly identifying both the guy who plays Richard Wright from Sex and the City and then Oscar-winning actress Mercedes Ruehl from the film's cast, Matty still agreed to discuss the kitch-tastic film with Cinecultist. Here goes.

thewarriors.jpgCC: All right, so then. The Warriors.
Matty: Warriors.
M: rawr.
CC: so i found out from my coworker today that as we suspected, what is added in this special edition dvd version is the comic book interludes. other than that, it's the same movie.
M: gotcha.
CC: i don't know if this makes the new version more cohesive, but i can understand why the director thought no one would get those references (as he says in his commentary track) because other than what was added, i didn't see it in the original footage. what did you think? upon a little more reflection was it too cheesy for words or good wholesome, gang-related fun?
M: It didn't hit me the way I'd hoped. Certainly, it was entertaining and "Warriors, come out and plaaa-aaay!" will be stuck in my head for all eternity, but the characters weren't memorable enough.
CC: yes, it's a movie that relies mostly on cliche, rather than characterization. cliche and really weird costumes.
M: i think i might be a fury for halloween. Either that or the guys with the purple vests. So hot.
CC: any one of those weirdo costumes would make great outfits for halloween, except for maybe the orphans. there was something so downtrodden and hang dog about them, i don't think anyone would want to be pretending to be in that gang. i also thought one of the other kitchy fun bits of the film was the soundtrack. serious synthesizer for the closeted williamsburgher in us all.
M: definitely. The composer talked about that in the special features. Apparently synths were pretty new and he was really excited about it. You may remember his work from the Exorcist III. A true classic.
CC: really, who can forget that soundtrack? if they've seen it. which i think i might have -- in the 6th grade.
M: I jest, but I did like the music. It was the glue that kept this film together. That and the animated sequences that were added for the directors cut. E III, it was one of the defining moments in my life. That and learning to walk. They're neck-and-neck for importance. Were you down with the whole Greek battle/myth thing the director was going for?
CC: well, it's one of those things where i guess i see it, if i squint my eyes and turn my head slightly to the left but mostly, it seems like a stretch. a stretch to make this movie seem more like a "classic." why can't it just be kitchy fun that is totally of and for it's era? what's so wrong with being that?
M: I'm with you there. The fifteen minutes on the "phenomenon" of the Warriors was ridiculous. All of the actors are telling us how this film was the defining moment of their careers. Of course it was, because most of them went on to do bit parts in various crappy movies. Then again, maybe we would feel differently if we had actually seen this when it was released. People do seem to be mildly excited about this release.
CC: People in my office knew about it right away, when I mentioned it today. It's a thing, apparently.
M: So, we lack that personal connection. You can't call something a classic if it doesn't resonate with snarky twenty-somethings a couple decades later.
CC: i concur. we should be considered the litmus test on snarky and twenty-something.
M: Litmus is my maiden name. (Not really, but it's more interesting than middle.)

Posted by karen at 6:23 PM |

October 11, 2005

File Under Major Ooops

If only there were a way to "back up" clay.

Wallace & Gromit' Archive Ruined in Fire [via the AP]

Posted by karen at 8:29 AM |

October 10, 2005

Mini Mifune

kuro.jpgWhen Cinecultist visited Seattle a few weeks ago, we bought two little souvenirs that really tickled our fancy. The first, a CD from KEXP to benefit that amazing non-profit radio station which features live tracks performed in their studio by some of our fav indie rock bands. The other, a figurine from the Akira Kurosawa action figure line.

How cool is that we now have our very own mini Toshiro Mifune figure dressed in full samurai regalia? We're totally geeking out on it and have it by our bedside, ready to greet us each morning. The only thing potentially more film geek awesome would be to acquire the figure in the series that looks like the director himself. At Uwajimaya, the Asian mega grocery store where we found the mini Mifune they only had that one Mifune figurine for sale. But looking on the back of the box, though not being able to understand the Japanese type, we understand we could collect all seven and then play act the "making of a Kurosawa film." Matty is off to Japan for vacation in another week or so, so we've charged him with finding us a Kurosawa doll. Yen is no object.

If you must have your own Kurosawa figurine, Mifune or otherwise, they are also for sale on Giant Robot's website -- your one stop shop for all awesome Asian ephemera. Or purchase a copy of Live At KEXP, Vol. 1 via their website.

Posted by karen at 9:03 AM |

October 9, 2005

A Little Obsessed


Back from freezing Montréal and slowly recovering from our French bistro food coma (sauces! no more sauces!), Cinecultist spent the evening in front of the tellie. Specifically, HBO and our two current television obsessions -- Rome and Extras. Ordinarily we try to keep the obsessing on this blog to the cinematic but both of these shows are so lovely, it's difficult keeping it to ourselves.

Rome taps into our deep love for all things melodramatic, historical and costumed. This miniseries keeps getting better and better as the plot around the ascension of Julius Caesar to ruler of Rome thickens. While the political stuff is quite engaging, what CC really loves is all of the day to day Roman details. Discussion of the gods, attitudes towards marriage or sex, clothing, the sale of slaves as property and those crazy hairdos are all fascinating stuff. If you've ever been to the ruins in Pompeii or even read casually about the ancient world, you'll know that it really gets fascinating when you can see the culture come to life. That's what this miniseries has done. Breathtaking. Plus, it has in it James Purefoy whose Imdb profile includes some classic costumers (Vanity Fair, Mansfield Park and A Knight's Tale*). His is not the only stand-out performance in the ensemble but rrowr, he's h-o-t, so if that doesn't get you to tune, we don't know what will.

Speaking of our love for costume drama, this week Ricky Gervais's brilliant new sitcom, Extras found itself on the set of a made for television historical drama. In it, Gervais's extra actor character Andy Millman chats with his buddy Maggie (the sublime Ashley Jensen) about one of the handsome young actors dressed to the nines in period Napoleonic splendor:

Maggie: Why does no one dress like that these days?
Andy: Because they would get beaten up on the Tube.

As a devotee of The Office it was difficult to imagine that Gervais could translate his ability to complete inhabit that banal, yet utterly real and completely modern character into anything else. But he has. We've said it before but it bears repeating -- brilliant. Utterly. Our favorite so far has probably been the one with Kate Winslet, because the image of Kate Winslet playing the actress Kate Winslet giving graphic but silly advice on phone sex is comic gold. Also, we totally love the guy who plays Andy's agent, Stephen Merchant, who also happens to be Gervais's long time writing partner. He reminds us of Gareth and we want to see lots more scenes with him acting completely stupid. It makes the Cinecultist laugh and laugh.

*Mock our taste if you must, but the Heath Ledger vehicle did include Paul Bettany as a nude Geoffrey Chaucer and for that, our English major heart will always be grateful.

Posted by karen at 11:29 PM |

October 7, 2005

Bon Soir From Montreal

Cinecultist comes to you ce soir from the scenic city of Montreal, where we've flown for the weekend avec our maman. Please excuse our incorrect French usage, our three years of high school francais is coming back in spurts and fits in this francophile town (also, we can't figure out any of the accent keys on this borrowed hotel PC, pardon!).

It's been raining all day here, and with the pervasive damp what else would there be to do but go to le cinema, bien sur? The concierge at our hotel, the Auberge de Vieux-Port (shout out for Rue la Commune!) recommended we go to the Pepsi Forum, a theater they converted from a hockey stadium into a movie cineplex. After a brief cab ride with our nice but mostly French speaking cab driver ("Forum? Rue St. Catherine? Le Cinema?" we tried to explain), we arrived at the converted mall. Everything in Montreal is mall-ish, what with the weather and all but as a New Yorker we're vaguely skeptical of anything so indoorsy. But the complex was fine, all in all. The movie tickets cost $10 Canadian and since we haven't really nailed down the conversion rate in our head, we're going to just say that's slightly less than in Manhattan. Though popcorn is still exorbident, regardless of the country, you'll be happy to know.

Seeing as our movie partner was our Mom, we picked a safe little chick flick to watch, In Her Shoes, the new Cameron Diaz/Toni Collette movie directed by Curtis Hanson. We can't recall if we ever read the Jennifer Weiner book the film is based on, though we think at some point we've read something of hers. Or maybe all of these plot lines about nice Jewish girls who are a little plain but love shoes and have complicated relationships with their family members all seem to blend together. Irregardless of the source material, this is a moderately amusing little picture. The performances by Diaz and Collette as well as the iconic Shirley MacLaine as their estranged grandmother in Florida, are all quite good. Hanson keeps the pacing relatively brisk and the final poetry reading voice over scene between the two sisters had us tearing up actually.

We think perhaps this is the only movie we've ever seen Diaz in where she actually appears to be acting, as opposed to just being cute or wiggling her butt around. She's not half bad at that, even in a movie that's really about girls who covet shoes and the boys who fall for them. Oh and self-esteem, the movie's also about that. So, we'll just throw in a "you go girl" for good measure and call it a night. That five course French dinner which ended in profiteroles and included the better part of a bottle of off-license red wine is beginning to corrode our critical thinking skills.

Bon soir, mes amis!

Au revoir, le Cinecultist.

Posted by karen at 10:18 PM |

October 4, 2005

Shana Tova from Viggo Mortensen


In case you were keeping track, Cinecultist is a good observant Jew -- even when it means using a precious vacation day so that we can attend Rosh Hashanah services. Going to High Holiday services is like visiting the dentist (which is next week actually) or voting, it's good for you. However, once the services at NYU's Kimmel Center concluded it was still only 12:30 pm. Thus we assured our Joshie that it was perfectly kosher to observe the rest of the Jewish new year's day with lunch and a movie.

After twin cheeseburgers at Chat n' Chew, we scurried over to 19th Street for a screening of A History of Violence, David Cronenberg's much lauded new feature. During lunch, CC mentioned that if ever we had the opportunity to meet the Canadian director our first question would be something along the lines of, "Mr. Cronenberg, how come you're so fucked up and awesome?" Dead Ringers and those gynecological instruments, not to mention Videodrome with Debbie Harry and video cassettes that eat you? Come on! So needless to say, we had high expectations for the flick.

It's certainly an intriguing film, though we're still not sure we loved it to death. A modern day Western, it plays with the tropes of the gun totting genre as two bad men come to town and the simple family man takes them down while protecting his way of life. There's also a bit of play with the gangster genre as William Hurt plays the oddest, most vaguely WASPy mafia kingpin we've ever seen on film. There's a lot of suspense in the picture, that point when CC got up to use the restroom was more because we needed a little break from the tension than that we were so desperate to pee. Viggo's great in this as the family man Tom Stall, as is the always solid Maria Bello who plays his wife, one of those poor actresses who's been poised for breakout status far too long even as she delivers one quality performance after another.

Cronenberg paints his story here with broad strokes and primary colors. He appears to want to spell it out but achieves this without being simplistic or pat. As our friend Ilana pointed out to us the other day, this movie is in a way about the history of violence in movies and thinking about it now, we can see Cronenberg touched on all the classic permutations in his plot. The bully, the sheriff, the noble man, the ass-kicking wife are all present and accounted for. Our only problem with the film may be the inconclusive ending. With so many emotions stirred up in this small town family, how can they possibly go back to their idyllic past life? Like any good story, that final scene at the dinner table made it impossible for CC to imagine what could come next for the Stalls but still desperately wanting to know nonetheless.

Posted by karen at 11:42 PM |

October 3, 2005

Such A Blog Stalker

In continuing celebration of Jen's birthday last week, on Saturday your Cinecultist was talked into heading west to Misshapes and brings you the following story of our shameless blog stalking. If you're not familiar, Misshapes is a new wave '80s-ish club night at Luke & Leroy, a bar in the West Village and it has developed a bit of a reputation in the ol' blogosphere what with pictures on Last Night's Party, mentions on Ultragrrrl's site and Joey's hilarious Blue States Loose Don'ts and Don'ts wrap-up.

Anyhow, Saturday is the first time we'd ever been to Misshapes because frankly the photos of the outfits kids wear to this party can be terrifying, but the music was good, despite being the soundtrack to our junior high school dances with a little Kelly Clarkson thrown in and we'd had a few drinks, so CC's enjoying ourselves. Suddenly, Lawrence lunges across the floor grabbing some guy passing by and says something about him changing his life. Looking over, we realize he has Trent from Pink Is The New Blog in his grip.

We can't recall the full extent of our blathering, mentions of how obsessed our whole Day Job office is with his writing and how fun it was to meet him. Also, how wonderful it is when people begin to pay you for writing or talking about the things you love. At this point, in our drunken and blogger stalker haze CC decided we'd bonded with Trent. Digital cameras documented the moment and now, we look like a Misshapes regular to the readers of Trent's adorable blog. Please note, when you look at said the third picture from the bottom that apparently, the "Misshapes face" is an unconscious reflex. We've not have that expression on our face before or since.

Posted by karen at 2:55 PM |