Thursday, January 29, 2009

"We could be going to BROADWAY!"

Waiting for Guffman fans, click here. NOW.

The very idea of this makes my head spin. Like we needed another reason to be planning a trip to NYC...

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

"Coraline" trailer

I have posted this trailer here for Wendy, who saw this advertised with Twilight a few months ago. I love the creepy, artsy look of it, and think it's great that some people are still doing animation in other forms than just CG these days.

So will you shell out $10/ticket (or more if you see it in 3D) to see Coraline on February 6?

Monday, January 26, 2009


Here are a few random things I felt were worth mentioning on a slow Monday morning:
  • Contrary to some reports, 24 has not announced any plans to end its run after next season. Although Kiefer Sutherland is not formally under contract beyond next season, he says, ""I love making the show, so I'm leaving my options open. And in all fairness, I think the audience will dictate that more than anybody." So don't lose hope, 24 fans! By the way, I'm digging the new season so far, although the President's husband subplot is a dud.
  • The new edition of The Amazing Race starts on Feb. 15, and the new contestants include the race's first deaf contestant, a couple of stuntmen/almost-midget brothers, and of course several more good-looking dating couples. See all of the teams here.
  • Wendy and I caught up on a couple of movies over the past couple of weeks, including Ghost Town (pretty funny and more layered than you would have expected), Speed Racer (brainless but breathtaking on Blu-ray), and Prince Caspian (predictable but better than expected). We also saw Marley & Me at the theater, and though it's not really a kid movie, was warm, touching, and funny.
  • Tom Hanks has "apologized" for his criticisms of Mormons' support of Proposition 8. While I appreciate that he decided to be a little more measured in his disagreement with Prop 8 supporters, sometimes I wonder why self-centered celebrities like Hanks think they have more of a right to shoot off their mouths publicly than normal Americans do at the ballot. I always knew that most of Hollywood disagrees with my political views, but it's really starting to affect my interest in enjoying their talents on the big and small screen.
  • Finally, for the Twilight fans, Dakota Fanning (War of the Worlds, I Am Sam) is reportedly being courted for the role of Jane in the upcoming film version of New Moon. I don't know anything about the character, but Fanning is a good actress and would add just a tiny dash of credibility to an otherwise corny (in my humble opinion) franchise. Does she meet your vision of Jane?

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Oscar nominations; "Lost"

Oscar nominations were released this morning, to which I'd like to offer a big-fat "who gives a crap?" As you have probably noticed over the past couple of years, my interest in Hollywood's most prestigious award show has waned over the years (may my Oscar party RIP...) as the Academy increasingly chooses to honor the obscure and radical films and talents over the more mainstream fare. This has never been more apparent than this year, where the Academy inexplicably overlooked the critically praised and commercially unstoppable force that was The Dark Knight. Just because it's a comic-book movie or a sequel should have no bearing on its merits as an influential and important piece of filmmaking. I'm happy to see Heath Ledger honored, and not surprised to see the film picking up nominations in the technical categories, but the Academy's choice to ignore the film as a whole (or its visionary director/screenwriter, Christopher Nolan) is a travesty.

Instead we get major nominations for Milk, Frost/Nixon, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Slumdog Millionaire, and The Reader? I'm sure these are all very well-made films, and maybe even excellent ones. But with the exception of Button, which is a moderate commercial hit, none of these films has yet been embraced by a mainstream audience. I'm not arguing that awards should be granted based on a film's commercial success, but I sometimes wonder if films like The Dark Knight or Wall-E (two of the most critically-acclaimed and commercially successful films of the year) are snubbed solely because of their mainstream appeal. Could it be that the Academy is a group of elitists that don't feel like they can legitimately honor a "populist" film?

Either way, it's just one more year where I think I'll be skipping the ceremony and reading about it afterward. With the Academy Awards telecast increasingly losing viewers (and arguably, relevance), it's clear that I'm not the only one who feels this way.

In other news, I watched the Lost season premiere last night and had mixed feelings about it. As excited as I am to see things moving quickly on the show, and as great as it was to reconnect with Hurley, Jack, Locke, Kate, etc., I'm tired of feeling constantly confused by the show. Yesterday's two hour episode was action-packed and good-looking, but almost completely incoherent. I couldn't remember who half the characters were, what they'd been doing, or why I cared. At one point I think we were jumping between 10 different characters/settings/time just all gets a little overwhelming.

Lost will never lose me as a viewer--I'll stick with it until the bitter end next year--but I would love it if they would try a little harder to keep me engaged without requiring a textbook of notes on previous seasons or a bottle of Motrin for the incomprehensible time-jumps and space-time-continuum ripples. It's a delicate balance, I know: either we're complaining that too little is happening, or we're complaining that too much is happening. And I realize that I'm basing my complaints on one two-hour block, which had the uneviable task of reintroducing the world to the complex universe of Lost without trying to recap four previous seasons of content. So of course I'll be there with bells on next week. I just hope I understand what I'm watching.

Did anyone else feel this way about last night's Lost?

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

"Harry Potter 6" gets a PG-rating

This isn't really the most exciting of news, but it's been fairly dead lately with everyone on holiday breaks, so any news is good news. Yes, for the first time since Prisoner of Azkaban, the next film installment of the Harry Potter series (Half-Blood Prince) will get a PG rating for "scary images, some violence, language and mild sensuality." It's a bit of a surprise, given some of the book's darker elements and scenes, but I guess I don't really care what it's rated as long as it stays true to the spirit of the book. The last film, Order of the Phoenix, got a PG-13, but wasn't nearly as dark (in my mind) as Goblet of Fire, which also received a PG-13.

I suppose the best result of this news is that some of my nieces and nephews will get to watch this movie before they turn 13, which should give us plenty to talk about at Sunday dinners next July. Can't wait!