February 28, 2007

Bring Extra Padding

Wherein Two Known Offenders Comment on Lengthy Movie Running Times...

sjff_02_img0663.jpgDavid Fincher:
"I do agree you can't just make movies three hours long for no apparent reason. For a romantic comedy to be three hours long, that's longer than most marriages. Sometimes, maybe filmmakers can fall in love with the story they're telling and maybe need to be more diligent in how they're telling it. There's stuff in the narrative [of Zodiac] that's not essential to the investigation, but if you start removing that stuff, it becomes even more of a dry police procedural.You need to have that characterization in there but not wear out its welcome. It's not my intention to be boring. The hope is you're able to walk a fine line."
Zodiac, 160 min.
Fight Club, 139 min.

Jerry Bruckheimer:
"[Pirates' distributor Disney] loved the film. They always would like things shorter to get more screenings in in a day, but they also recognized we made a very effective movie that held people's interest. When you walk out of that theater, you want to feel like you've had a complete meal."
Pirates: Dead Man's Chest, 150 min.
Bad Boys II, 147 min.


February 26, 2007

Cool Movie Chicks With Enviable Style

sarahpoleystyle.jpgIt's only the Monday after the Oscars but already the Cinecultist is looking ahead to what's coming next from the movies, especially work made by stylish women filmmakers. The New York Times Style section helps out in that regard with this lovely slide show of photos by Maciek Kobielski which includes pics of Mary Harron, Valerie Faris and Miranda July. Sarah Polley is also featured talking about her new movie Away From Her which she wrote and directed based on an Alice Murno short story. While it doesn't come out in wide release until May 4, CC is already totally psyched for it. So smart, so beautiful, and such an brilliant actress--Polley is the total package so we expect her movie making skills will be equally as excellent.

Speaking of admiring artists and the clothes they wear, Cinecultist went up to Pier 95 yesterday with our friends Josh and Jason to enjoy some of the spectacle of the Armory Show. This is an annual two day event that's primo people watching, in addition to being an exhibition of some the best current art from around the world. CC caught glimpses of some new Bill Viola video work, a giant portrait of Pete Doherty by Hedi Slimane broken down into multiple glossy panels and sipped a couple of comp mimosas. A tiring but fabulous Sunday, darlings...and now it's back to our regularly scheduled work week.

February 25, 2007

Academy Award Predictions for '07

With only an hour and a half to go until the 79th annual Academy Awards get under way, (be sure to check out our liveblogging with fellows Gothamists Jen Chung and Margaret Harper) the Cinecultist looked over the nominees and offers up our predictions in the major categories. How cloudy is the crystal ball this year? Only time and the envelopes will tell but CC has a good feeling about our ability to peer into the minds of the tried and true Oscar voters.

Supporting Actress:
Could it be anyone besides Jennifer Hudson?
No, it couldn't. And she lost it at the podium thanking her grandmother and God.

Supporting Actor:
Two months ago CC would've said Eddie Murphy was the shoo-in but now with the Norbet factor, we're going to go Mark Wahlberg.
And it goes to the old guy, Alan Arkin.

Foreign Language Film:
Pan's Labyrinth seems to have the traction.
Wow, totally suprised that the Academy liked The Lives of Others best, though CC thought it was great too.

Animated Feature:
We loved Monster House but we bet Oscar will prefer Cars.
Totally wrong on this one, they loved Happy Feet.

Writing (Adapted):
How we wish it could be Children of Men but we're going to go with The Departed.
The Departed it is.

Writing (Original):
Could it be anything besides The Queen?
Oy, it's Little Miss Sunshine written by Matthew Broderick's former assistant.

Documentary Feature:
Here's the moment where Al Gore announces his candidacy in '08 as he clutches the statue for An Inconvenient Truth in his hot little hand.
No surprise "my fellow Americans," it's Truth for the win.

Gawd, CC loves Helen Mirren, as will Oscar, even though she's won every other award she's been nominated for this season.
Right again and lovely Helen brings her purse up to the stage to accept her statue.

Forest Whitaker because he's too scary not to get it.
Hooray for Forest, he really deserves it.

Best Director:
Everyone agrees that this will be Marty's year for The Departed.
And it is. Who's cuter than Martin Scorsese? Nobody.

Best Picture:
It's all about Babel baby.
Wow, at this point [12:15 freakin' a.m.!] we're almost too tired to care that it went to The Departed instead.

Whew, swami Cinecultist is tired now. We're popping out now to stock up on some extra diet Coke and conciliatory/celebratory frozen yogurt for after the telecast. We'll be updating this post as the results come in.

Posted by karen at 6:26 PM | Oscar race | Comments (0)

February 23, 2007

The Host Takes A Bite Out of Viewers

The Host
Gang-du (Song Kang-ho) knows that something wicked this way comes in the new Korean movie The Host.

Cinecultist likes monster movies with bite, the kind where you get goosed by something jumping out from the screen right after you've laughed uproariously at some witty, ironic aside. The two parts "goosing" and "laughing" have to go together, one without the other just devolves into Children of the Corn or the like. If you also appreciate smart scariness on screen, might we suggest checking out The Host, a newish movie by Korean director Bong Joon-Ho which CC saw at NYFF last year and is finally getting a theatrical release. The IFC Center here in New York is also hosting a mini-fest of his movies starting next Monday and culminating in a screening of The Host with Bong conducting a post-film Q&A on Tuesday.

Two things we heartily enjoyed about this movie, though there's a lot in it to endear:

1) It's a Godzilla for the 21st century, a seemingly innocent action movie that's actually fraught with intriguing paranoia about mankind's callousness towards nature coming back to bite us in the ass. The Japanese in '54 were freaked out by the prospect of nuclear disaster, while the Koreans seem to be more afraid of the mutations from pollution by chemicals. Either way, in both movies they know they've been co-opted by American expansionist greed and they sorta know they're screwed (ie. expecting a huge beast to emerge from the water and eat their people). It ain't gonna be pretty, but it makes for a darn entertaining movie.

2) In the face of scary nature rebelling against stupid mankind, you'd expect the movie's heroes to actually be heroic but Bong says, Pshaw that kind of simplistic characterization is for chumps. In every instance where various members of this one family could save the day with their unique abilities, they don't. It's failure and well-meaning fuck up all around, which as a movie's strategy takes some serious balls. Without giving too much away, Cinecultist really admires any film that can be both decidedly genre picture yet flout that genre's structures to the audience's face. Bong achieves this with grace and good humor, while keeping the suspense level high.

Posted by karen at 2:23 PM | IFC Center, The Host | Comments (0)

February 21, 2007

Where Was That Shot Again?

Cinecultist knows movies, and Cinecultist knows New York hotels, a few anyhow. So why did we only score a 7 out of 10, or the equivalent of a C on Zagat's current Movie Quiz? Uh, maybe because we got up this morning at 6:30 am to go to a pre-work yoga class. Or maybe because many of the questions covered iconic Los Angeles locations--our knowledge of Lala-land spots are much spottier than Manhattan. The question that included Maid In Manhattan? Yeah, we got that one right. Try your hand at the 10 questions and let us know if you thought they were tricky, or that CC just wasn't concentrating hard enough.

February 20, 2007

Does Jim Carrey Totally Add Up?


Jim Carrey, an actor the Cinecultist has enjoyed even when others didn't ie. in Man On The Moon, has a new flick coming out this weekend and is thus on the junket circuit. We caught him this morning on The Today Show clowning around with Matt Lauer during a jeans fit segment and so with chuckling anticipation sat down to listen to his interview with Meredith Vieira about his thriller The Number 23. However, it seems the wacko numerology premise of the movie has over taken Jim's ordinarily entertaining junket banter.

Between the beatific grins at Meredith and the shaggy page boy haircut he's sporting, Carrey seemed a little off kilter from the start. Then he begins spouting about how he's long been influenced by connections in his life to the number 23, even before he received the script to this movie, and proceeded to list for Meredith all of the important relationships in his life connected by 23. Apparently, Jim says it's all about getting reminders of how magical the universe is. If you take the number of letters in his name + his costar Virginia Madsen, it equals 23. Same with Jim and director Joel Schumacher's names. Just in case middle America couldn't keep up with all of this freaky counting, Today then flashed up a graphic of Jim's name plus Meredith's also equaling 23.

Doesn't this all seem a little too kooky Method actor, even for Carrey? Although maybe this is the beginning of trend for Numerology to become the next big Hollywood religion after Scientology and Kabbalah.

February 19, 2007

Anticipation, Internet-Style

Some things to look forward to while Cinecultist still tries to cope with the frigid New York winter weather. Oh April, where are you dear spring-time friend?

* David Fincher's new movie Zodiac. Love that Gyllenhaal and love that grey/green palate. The New York Times reports.

* One week to go until the Oscars. Web coverage has really increased this year, as per this NYT trend article. CC's looking forward to continuing with our liveblogging tradition with fellow Gothamist and Oscar telecast junkie Jen Chung.

* CC has already read it, but you should be looking forward to getting your hot little hands on Lisa Graff's very excellent kids book, The Thing About Georgie. We interviewed Lis (aka our favorite Mandy Moore movie going partner) as part of her blog tour on Gothamist.

Posted by karen at 3:50 PM | NYT, Oscar race, Zodiac | Comments (0)

February 16, 2007

Links and News, Friday Edition

* Turns out DVR may not necessarily equal the imminent death of television commercials because Nielsen discovered "people who own digital video recorders, or DVRs, still watch, on average, two-thirds of the ads." Durr.

* Money making scheme of the week: Make some extra bucks by listing your home on a movie locations website. Though the Cinecultist probably won't be doing it anytime soon, our Eee Vee residence is barely big enough for us and our DVDs, let alone a movie crew.

* Stuffmagazine.com spends some time thinking about iconic songs from movie soundtracks and have included imbedded YouTube clips for some quality procrastination time. Unfortunately their list is missing Carly Simon's "Let The River Run" from Working Girl but that could be because Stuff is more of a dude publication.

* Cinecultist Viewing Tip: Iraq In Fragments, one of our favorite documentaries from last year and an Oscar-nominee, begins a run at Cinema Village this weekend.

* Ben Sisario stood in a lot of lines in the bitter cold for free TV show taping tickets. Check out his New York Times article for tips on that very New York experience. P.S. For the music-minded, we hear 50 highly coveted Arcade Fire tickets at each Judson Memorial Church show are available via a stand-by line. Hypothermia, shmypothermia.

Posted by karen at 11:42 AM | DVR, Iraq In Fragments, NYT | Comments (0)

February 14, 2007

Cate Blanchett Doesn't Give It Away

Cinecultist is a bit behind on our New Yorker reading and only just got to John Lahr's great piece in last week's issue about Cate Blanchett (unfortunately not available online now). That woman seriously rocks it on screen, and from this interview appears to be a stellar wife and mother to boot. The following description of her acting process while working on The Good German reinvigorated our interest in seeing Steven Soderbergh's poorly reviewed movie.

"...[S]he began shooting, without any rehearsal, the Monday after she'd completed Notes on a Scandal. The scene Blanchett filmed that day had Lena sitting on a bench with an American military attorney from whom she's hoping to get the papers she needs to leave Berlin. 'I thought, 'The biggest thing I'm gonna do is cross my legs,' she told me. 'I'm not gonna give anything away to this man. I knew everything that Lena was concealing. But it was, like, I'm not going to let Steven Soderbergh know. I'm going to be completely, utterly ambiguous.' She continued, 'Ambiguity is not absence. It's a wildly contradicting series of actions, emotions, and intentions. There was a line where Lena said, 'No one is all good or all bad.' And I thought that she was referring to herself. So I let a tiny little bit of her own self-hatred come through.' (Soderbergh got his shot on the first take.)"

P.S. Please follow Lahr's suggestion to watch Blanchett in Oscar and Lucinda if you've never seen it. You'll see why it was such a breakout role for her and Ralph Fiennes is great in it too.

No Song In The Heart of Music & Lyrics


Blech, Valentine's Day. If Cinecultist has to watch one more idiotic Zales commercial, we may crawl under the duvet and not come out until March. It's not romance that CC objects to so much as the consumerist co-opting of it by the card manufacturers and the candy sellers. We're big on affection and love on all days except for Feb. 14, just like we're big on great romantic comedies. Sadly the new Drew Barrymore/Hugh Grant movie, Music & Lyrics which is out today isn't one of our new favorites. A sort of cute premise* and usually winning stars though don't add up to anything that's worth your $10.75, no matter how die-hard you might be about the genre.

Grant plays a watered down version of his character from About A Boy, a washed up musician instead of lay-about pop song heir, who doesn't feel all that motivated to make more of his singing career than some appearances at Knott's Berry Farm. Barrymore enters his life as the temporary plant waterer for his apartment and her ability to spout insightful yet catchy rhyming lyrics on a dime improbably pairs her up with Grant to write a new song. Barrymore is doing an odd Diane Keaton On Crack impression here, she's all skittish neurosis in skinny jeans. But these tics don't make the character more likable, she just seems like the kind of person you'd scooch away from on the subway.

In addition to the wearisome characters, every last joke lies lamely on screen like 3 day old fish. The plot twists which are supposed to show the couple bonding (she has an ex-lover played by Campbell Scott that she wants to tell off, he needs to learn to enjoy performing in front of aging boomer ladies) are equally as weak. In the end, CC found ourselves completely tuning out on the dialogue to focus instead on Drew's costume choices. Her very Lucky magazine look was hardly enough to distract us though. We'd rather be forced to watch a Home Fries and Two Weeks Notice double feature than revisit this painfully bad movie. Do yourself a favor and stay away. It's barely worth an accidental viewing on TNT in two year's time.

*The premise reminded CC a lot of this musical we loved as a kid, They're Playing Our Song about the real life singer/songwriter couple Marvin Hamlisch and Carole Bayer Sager. If only we'd kept that faded original cast album, it was really great.

February 13, 2007

Art House Mad House


On Sunday afternoon, Cinecultist went to see a screening of Factory Girl and based on the crowds in the lobby you would've thought Edie Sedgwick herself had descended on the Angelika. The Angelika has such an odd set up with their over-priced cafe on the ground floor and then the concession stands, restrooms and theaters on the floor below. When it's not too crowded these two areas don't matter too much, and actually the cafe is nice to sit in if you're early to your movie like CC was on Wednesday. We'd gotten coffee up at Think with just this plan in mind and sat reading, observing the packed lobby scene for about an hour.

Angelika has a pretty good line up right now, some Oscar nominated movies like The Queen or Notes on a Scandal that people perhaps haven't seen yet, plus some newer, much buzzed about movies like Factory Girl and The Lives of Others. Consequently, the Angelika staff had the moviegoers lining up, either to the left of the entrance or to the right, in these velvet roped areas. However, they held the lines there until about 5 minutes before the movies started and with all the people, plus the proximity of the start times to each other, there got to be quite a bottleneck. Also, certain people get antsy/cranky when they're not in their movie seats a good 15 minutes or so before the movie starts. It's confusing to be still waiting upstairs as the start time nears, they want to be on time and situated. The woman in line in front of CC even turned around to ask if she was in the right place because of it. This is after the staff has been announcing over the PA system where everyone should be every 10 minutes or so. Perhaps she thought the movie might start without her? Poor lady, she should've pretended she was an Edie Sedgwick, confident that the party couldn't start until she had arrived.

It's a popular New York movie obsessive past time to complain about the Angelika, and CC does it too, mostly because that subway rumbling from the 6 train is seriously distracting during the movies. The Angelika has a tricky situation on their hands; they're showing movies worth seeing right now and they're trying to handle the crowds but it doesn't seem to be working all that well. People cut in the line, there's a general sense of crankiness and it seemed to CC like a lot less people were going to the concession stand downstairs as they rushed into their designated theater. This can't be good for Angelika business cutting down on those popcorn sales.

By the way, how was Factory Girl, you may be wondering? Pretty good actually, considering that Weinstein Co. intended to release it before the end of 2006 but held it for legal reasons. Sienna Miller is just as lovely as you'd imagine she would be, and does come across as a compelling artist's muse. Though we were surprised that Bob Dylan's people objected to the "folk singer" character played by Hayden Christensen which is an obvious homage to Dylan. If anyone is culpable for Edie's demise in the movie, it's not Dylan but Andy. He basically turns his back on her because she deigns to fall in love with the heterosexual hunk played by Hayden. The film depicts Andy as rejecting anyone who doesn't remain in his orbit, treating him as the most important person in the world. For someone seemingly so self-hating, he's awfully narcissistic.

After seeing this movie, CC still thinks the most interesting woman at the factory was Brigid Berlin. She wasn't a waify lovely inspiring fashion trends like Edie, but at least she kept making art even after sublimating herself to Andy's creative dominance. Rent Pie In The Sky: The Brigid Berlin Story and you'll see what we mean.

CC And A New MT: "It's Full Of Stars!"

2001monkeys.jpgCinecultist has decided to join blogging in the twenty-first century, and with the help of our awesomest awesome web designer friend Matty have updated to the newest version of Movable Type. It feels a little like the pictured scene from 2001 in CC HQ; the monolith has landed and we're circling while waving the femur bones.

What does that mean for you? Cinecultist has decided to install comments and start tagging, so please join us in some friendly movie/pop culture/NYC cinema dialogue. We love your feedback, so don't be shy.

Posted by karen at 8:35 AM | 2001, blogging | Comments (0)

February 12, 2007

Elsewhere On The Web, Monday edition

* Jake Paltrow interviews a bunch of Oscar-nominated actors about their early influential flicks for the New York Times Magazine. Please try to disregard the pretentious Andy Warhol screen test style of his video. He's still trying to come out from behind that familial shadow cast by sister Gwynie.

* The very pop culturally astute Charlie Suisman of Manhattan User's Guide is now contributing content to the cable network Trio's new site, getTrio. It looks like it's going to be sort of like Flavorpill, only with a daily blog format and with a TV slant.

* The New York Daily News ranks 100 romantic New York movies but puts The Apartment way too low on the list for Cinecultist's taste.

Posted by karen at 11:22 AM | links love, NYT | Comments (0)

Even EW Thinks the Pop Culture Savvy Are Romantically Challenged

Pop Culture Quiz

Please note on the graphic above the date and times potential contestants in the Vh1 and Entertainment Weekly World Series of Pop Culture 2007 can enter. Yes, that's right even those major arbiters of of all things pop think the brainiest of our bunch won't have plans on Valentine's Day night. Either that or they think we have the kind of dates who won't mind the line "hold off on the nuzzling there honey bunch while I answer a few tough timed questions about music, movies, TV and video games." There's not a lot of people who think scoring "a spot on the Wild Card Team" is a turn on, so if you've got one boy oh boy, hold on to him or her.

February 8, 2007

A Few Thursday Afternoon Links

* Bizarre, Anna Nicole Smith died. We'll probably need a whole miniseries to understand what happened in that woman's media saturated life.

* The Chinese Communist Party says in an editorial Zhang Yimou's Curse of the Golden Flower is too excessive. Morality, shmorality, this movie is just bad. Is it too much to ask that Party officials just object to the badness?

* This week in New York movie going is officially East German Secret Police themed. All Stasi, all the time. J. Ho liked The Lives of Others (as did CC) as well as the Film Forum docu, The Decomposition of the Soul. Make it a double feature! Then rejoice that we don't live in a totalitarian regime! Yet.

* Ian Buruma's great essay in The New York Review of Books reminded CC that we still need to see Flags Of Our Fathers, since we loved Letters From Iwo Jima so much. Maybe when we're not watching Stasi movies this weekend. It is on DVD now.

Posted by karen at 5:39 PM | DVD, Film Forum, Zhang Yimou | Comments (0)

Snow, Ice and Romantic Reindeer

aberdeen.jpgSometimes what we see on screen gives Cinecultist bright ideas. In this Norwegan/British movie from 2000, Aberdeen that we watched a week ago, one of the main characters Kaisa (Lena Headey) stops by the side of the road to take a break during a hellish car trip with her estranged father (Stellan Skarsgård). Looking up, she sees a massive horned beast just above the highway and nearly falls over from fright. Laughing, Tomas says he can't believe she's so freaked out, it's only a reindeer. Even though she's a sophisticated London lawyer now, Kaisa spent much of her childhood with him in Norway and shouldn't be afraid of them. This scene has been on the Cinecultist's mind lately because we half expect to see one of those big guys in the middle of Second Ave, as we've traversed from our cozy apartment to the subway through the bitter cold. Seriously, the city should think about importing some of those majestic reindeer for the East Village, it would make this frigid weather much easier to bear.

Besides the similarities in weather from that movie and real life, Aberdeen has been nibbling on our mind ever since we watched it on DVD. It's a small movie, but it sticks with you surprisingly well. First of all, the acting by all of the cast members is really wonderful. From Charlotte Rampling, who only has a small part as Kaisa's dying mother, to the utterly humane Ian Hart, as Kaisa's reluctant romantic object, everyone is spot on. Of course those two are just small roles, the leads Skarsgård and Headey are both totally great as well. The more their story unfold, the more we can see how scarred and fucked up this father and daughter are, yet their neurosis never becomes over the top or unrealistic. As addicts (Tomas is a drunk and Kaisa sneaks bumps of coke in rest stop bathrooms), their behavior can be erratic to say the least,but that almost seems to make them worthy of the camera. Watching a great character study like this one, reminds CC that cinema is really made for the exploration of larger-than-life personalities like this family.

We fell for Skarsgård from his heart-wrenchingly brutal performance in Breaking the Waves, and this film is of a similar ilk. Add it to your rental queue, you won't be sorry. As for his lovely costar, we looked up on iMDB and discovered Headey is in the cast of 300, that historical epic-y movie about the battle of Thermopylae based on the Frank Miller comic. It comes out soon, Mar. 9 to be exact. Cinecultist is anxious to see more of her work, even if it's set in the sands of ancient Greece rather than the icy snows of modern Scandinavia.

February 6, 2007

You Can Never Have Too Much John Waters

Cinecultist's interview with director John Waters for Gothamist is up now. We were on the phone to discuss John's new compilation CD, A Date With John Waters which "drops" today. It was fun to talk with him, even though it was only briefly, and CC was extra pleased to find a way to bring up Michael Jackson. John's in ridiculously bad taste riff on Jackson in his concert film, This Filthy World alone makes it worth a viewing. It's literally jaw-droppingly funny.

Posted by karen at 10:45 AM | Gothamist, John Waters | Comments (0)

Cinema, Theater, Politics, Philosophy and the Cultural Zeitgeist At Large!

Cat in the Hat = a metaphor for ethnic violence in Africa? This geekied out Dakota Fanning as portrayed by Amy Poehler on last weekend's Saturday Night Live would so be a FOC (friend of Cinecultist, that is).

Posted by karen at 8:40 AM | Dakota Fanning, SNL | Comments (0)

February 5, 2007

Monday Night TV, the High Highs and the Low Lows

howimetyourmother.jpgDear me, Cinecultist loves her DVR. We will tell pretty much anyone who asks that the ability to record television no-muss-no-fuss has totally changed our lives. So it was with extra meta-mirth that we enjoyed "A Quiet Prayer to the Tivo Gods," courtesy of tonight's Super Bowl themed How I Met Your Mother episode.

"All mighty Tivo. We thank you for all the gifts you have given us. The power to freeze live TV to go take a leak is nothing short of god-like. Let's not forget being able to fast forward through commercials. It seems greedy to ask for anything more from you, oh magic box. But if you malfunction and miss the Super Bowl, we will destroy you in the alley with baseball bats. Amen."

studio60cast.jpgMonday night is a good night for television if HIMYM is on; Cinecultist was happy to hurry home tonight through the bitter cold knowing a new episode was waiting for us in our recorder. However, Monday is also the night that Aaron Sorkin tortures us with a new installment of Studio 60 On the Sunset Strip. Lordy, this show gets worse and worse. As of last week, we were but a hair's breath away from declaring Sorkin, a man who brought us the joy that was Sports Night, dead to us.

At the beginning of the season, we often defended the series out of affection for Sorkin as well as some of the cast members like Amanda Peet, Sarah Paulson and Bradley Whitford who through sheer force of charisma we thought might propel the program. However, now we realize that this show has dug itself into such a Well of Unlikable that it will never yet again see the light. Every character on this show is such a king sized jerk/fuck up that we can't root for a single one. Have we seen any of these characters do their jobs as well as they supposedly do? We don't even want the two couples to get together and you know that CC is the most incurable of all romantics. And the plot gets more baroque each episode, yet it still doesn't add up to anything substantial. Where are we going here, Sork? Do you, the allegedly OCD TV creator, even know?

Tonight as Danny (Whitford) goes running through the theater yelling out "Jordan" (Peet) because he's realized she's crazy about him, from the note she slipped into his sleeve of course, all we could say, out-loud to the TV no less, was "you've got to be kidding me!" This show tries to pretend it's smarter than such hackney rom com structures, but it's not. It's less smart that even the lamest clich�. Less smart! Even a good Pretenders song over a montage isn't enough to cloud CC's judgement on this one. The other good thing about DVR? You can cancel a series recording mid season and that's our next order of business dear Sork, after we post this entry.

February 2, 2007

A Little Snoring Coming From the Back Row

For the Cinecultist, moviegoing is a full body contact sport. Not content to just be a regular kind of movie person who laughs at jokes, cries at tragedy and says "awww" at kittens or small children, CC will leap out of our seat at unexpected acts of violence or fall asleep during the boring bits. For CC watching a movie isn't passive, it's utterly active. Except for that habit of sometimes sleeping during the movies, of course. Seriously, we've taken brief cat naps in pretty much every major movie house in New York and after last night can add the IFC Center to the unfortunate list. Worse yet, we think our tendency to "breathe loudly" while sleeping may have disturbed the woman next to us trying to enjoy the red carpet movie premiere of the documentary, East of Havana. Oops. Our bad.

When we arrived at the Sixth Avenue theater last night at 7:20 p.m., the line of photographers and journos at the red carpet were in full twitter snapping photos and yelling to Charlize Theron. Theron produced East of Havana which was directed by her long time friend Jauretsi Saizarbitoria and Emilia Menocal, so there was quite a downtown New York celeb contingency at the screening. Inside we spotted our imaginary boyfriend Justin Theroux, Famke Jensen, and some other cool fashion-y types (the night was sponsored by DKNY). CC was just there to see the movie, not mingle, so we waited kind of impatiently reading our New Yorker as the bold face names trickled in until 8 p.m..

The movie started out well enough, with a very stylized, graffiti-inspired photo montage of the main characters in the doc. Following the lives of three young rappers in Cuba, the film tries to show with grace the catch-as-catch-can life on the island. The music on the soundtrack is quite good and the rappers' screen presence telling their stories is moderately engaging. However, there's no particular drama in the hour and 20 minutes and a bunch of pretty pictures of decaying Havana don't add up to anything substantial. About 40 minutes in, CC started to feel the full effect of our 5 p.m. happy hour beer and began to get the heavy eye lids. Then, because we were leaning to the right slightly to read the subtitles around a guy's big head, our nodding off at this point may have bugged our neighbor. If so, we heartily apologize. We never mean to sleep at the movies, it just happens sometimes when the action on screen doesn't totally compel. The sad reality, because the filmmakers seemed so well-meaning and earnest in their introductions, is that this movie probably shouldn't be on the big screen. On television, particularly somewhere like MTV or Fuse, it's music video-esque flashy editing would really pop. But as a feature film, it was snore city.

Cinecultist skipped the surely star-studded after party. People who nap during the screening don't really deserve free drinks and celeb gawking.

Posted by karen at 10:42 AM | IFC Center, premieres | Comments (0)

February 1, 2007

Icky Internet Over Share


Doing a quick scan of the Cinecultist archives, we noticed we're really kind of obsessed with Mandy Moore. As evidence, we discovered we've blogged about her movies How To Deal, Chasing Liberty, Saved! and American Dreamz. Now that's some serious (though admittedly juvenile) fandom, people. So of course, Cinecultist is intrigued by the release of a new MM movie this weekend, Because I Said So which includes Diane Keaton, Lauren Graham and Piper Perabo as her costars.

Poking around the official website, CC discovered their quiz to determine whether the guy you'd pick as your Mr. Right is the same choice as your mother's. Apparently this is a theme from the movie wherein Keaton meddles in Moore's love life trying to marry her off. It's probably not rocket science to describe these types of quizzes as always incredibly stupid, mostly because they often seem to offer three options none of which CC would ever pick. For instance the question, "On a first date you should never...A) Think about it, B) Talk about it, or C) Do it." Not to seem totally easy but if on a first date you're not doing at least A and B, you might be on a date with your cousin. This one is equally as perplexing, "Who's the best catch...A) Boring, Middle class, great in the sack, B) Exciting, broke, good in the sack, or C) Tolerable, rich, horrible in bed." Uh, totally none of the above? What kind of romantic compromise is this movie proposing for its easily influenced chick viewers? Finally, the worst question of the bunch: "Your man's favorite drink: A) Beer in a can, B) Red wine spritzers, or C) Brandy on the rocks." Seriously, we would ditch at a bar a dude ordering any of those drinks, let alone call him our man. Why would you drink beer in a can if you can have it on tap? Who ever makes red wine spritzy? Right?

The capper to all of this pointless quiz taking is that you're supposed to email your responses to your mother and then she'll take the mom side of it. That was the moment when Cinecultist seriously reconsidered investing our hard earned $10.75 in this movie. CC hearts our Mom, but we'd never ever in a million-zillion years discuss our romantic preferences in such detail with her, let alone via a cheesy website quiz. It just seems so wrong and crossing a line of movie promotion that should remain a firm divider. The idea of supplementary content to promote a new movie is one CC supports but come on people, use your brains. The movie may not be what we'd strictly call "realistic" but at least you can make this stuff not utterly laughable. Why waste your time as well as ours?

Posted by karen at 11:24 AM | Mandy Moore | Comments (0)