Thursday, March 08, 2012

Le Stats

I like Blogger's built-in stat tracking. From it, I'm able to see, among other things, that 90% of the traffic to this blog via keyword search is from people looking up Starsky and Hutch. While I think everyone can agree that Starsky and Hutch was a seminal TV series, the traffic to this site from people searching for, say, The Dukes of Hazzard or Simon & Simon is zero. So, I think it's safe to say that you people love you some Starsky and Hutch and that's about it. Message received. I'm now dedicating this site to all Starksy and Hutch, all the time.

On second thought, according to the chart below, 97 people searched for it in French, so I'm willing to entertain a combination of Starsky and Hutch and Jerry Lewis at about a 80-20 split to pander to my readership (I was going to say fans, but who am I kidding, based on the preponderance of evidence, you are most likely a) here by mistake and b) angry at not having more Starsky and Hutch content to peruse).

As a side note, why do you never hear the word preponderance when not attached to 'of evidence'. If preponderance means "a superiority or excess in weight or number", shouldn't that fit in other non-courtroom situations? I digress...except I don't really, because digress means to leave the main subject temporarily and I've left the main subject permanently.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Classic TV

So, I’ve have this theory that the formula for classic TV is: get two dudes, one has to be blonde and the other had to be brunette. Usually the brunette is the smarter of the two, with the blonde being more “eye-candy” for the ladies. Here are the ones that fit this mold that I can remember off the top of my head:

Starsky and Hutch

Dukes of Hazzard

Battlestar Galactica

Planet of the Apes (tv series)


Simon & Simon

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Heading Home

It is the seventh day of the festival, a wednesday morning, and we are heading home weak, weary, abused, and in need of a warmer climate (nevermind Park City was warmer this year than in year's past). Below, Sam poses with his new Sundance T-shirt.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Sundance: Day 6

I watched 5 movies today. I don't recommend ever doing that. By the end of the day I was exhausted, my eyes hurt, my head hurt, and my back and neck were sore.

First up at 8:30 AM was Brief Interviews With Hideous Men. I liked this movie, it was funny but it was also pretty intense in some spots. Its not a movie for everyone and I think I had higher expectations, but it was still a solid movie.

Next was Big Fan starring Patton Oswalt. There were relatively few funny parts in this movie, but that's probably because its a drama not a comedy. That will probably disappoint some people expecting Patton Oswalt to be funny. It was a little slow, overall I liked it, but I had pretty high expectations going in and by this time I've seen some pretty darn good movies and this just doesn't stack up that well.

Film number 3 for the the day was Adam starring Hugh Dancy. Its a romantic comedy about a guy and a girl, except the guy has Asperger's syndrome which, in the context of this movie at least, leaves the sufferer unable to communicate as well as he's like because he takes everything literally and doesn't have the filter most of us have, on our comments. Jen and I ended up sitting behind the director and the lead actor, Hugh Dancy and his girlfriend, Claire Daines during the screening.

Next was Arlen Faber starring Jeff Daniels. This was one of the best movies I saw at the festival. Its a light-hearted classical romantic comedy in the vein of the 1930's and 40's screwball comedies. This was one of the few Q & A's I was at where only the director was available for the Q & A portion. It didn't matter though, the director John Hindman (pronounced Hynd-men) was fantastic. Apparently he got his start in stand-up comedy so he was a natural at the mic. He was also one of the most genuine, normal people we saw there. Definitely not pretentious or weird like a lot of filmmakers tend to be.

And closing out the marathon session of movies was The Immaculate Conception of Little Dizzle. A very odd movie indeed. I recognized one actor (Matt Smith) from Outsourced. During the Q & A when someone asked the cast the old "what is your next project" question, he said he had an auction next weekend as he was also an auctioneer. One of the female cast members (Tania Raymonde) revealed she had been on the TV show "Lost" (playing Ben's daughter, Alex) until her character was shot in the back of the head.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Sundance: Day 5

Today Jen & Mel saw I Love You Philip Morris and their review was positive. They apparently also came within three feet of Ewan MacGregor after the Q & A, and the review was glowing. animals.

My first movie of the day was Paper Heart and I really liked it although the lead actresses deadpan style definitely isn't for everyone. It features interviews with real couples talking about how they fell in love and I know it sounds sappy but it was actually really cool.

Next up was Adventureland made by the guy that did Superbad. It was mostly a by-the-numbers romantic comedy that brought nothing new to the table. It wasn't a bad movie, but if you go expecting something really funny like Superbad you'll be let down.

Last up for the day was The Messengers, a movie starring Woody Harrelson and Ben Foster as the guys the military sends out to notify the next of kin when a soldier dies. I didn't have high expectations for this. The first half was actually pretty interesting, you see them knocking on doors and informing different people that their father, son, brother, etc. has just died and you see all kinds of different reactions and it feels pretty true to the way you would think people would handle it. The second half spirals into a pointless meandering narrative on the two main characters and I quickly lost interest.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Sundance: Day 4

Today Mel and Jen are seeing The Greatest starring Pierce Brosnan and Susan Sarandon. The consensus was that it was just ok.

My first movie of the day was a foreign film at The Egyptian called Louise-Michel. It too, was just so-so. Not a terrible movie, but compared to everything else I've seen this year at the festival it was a bit of a disappointment. It's a wacky french comedy that tries to be outrageous to the point that there's a weird scene involving a man crashing small planes into a mock up of the twin towers. According to the director during the Q & A they cut a scene involving princess Diana because they decided that was too far.

Next up was Endgame starring William Hurt. It's a political drama (notice I didn't say political "thriller") that moves terribly slow. It's directed by the guy that did Vantage Point and it reminded me of why that movie wasn't particularly good either.

Last up, we went to the midnight movie, Black Dynamite and it lived up to the hype. It's a hilarious send up of 70's blaxploitation flicks like Dolemite and Shaft. Most of the cast was available after the movie for the Q & A (Arsenio Hall was missing). The director pointed out that there was a cameo in the film by a guy that played one of the cops in Dolemite.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Sundance: Day 3

It's day 3 and I'm still searching for a bad movie. The girls saw Brooklyn's Finest, which they enjoyed. They said the director, Antoine Fuqua, was available for the Q& A, but no other cast members were in attendance for the Saturday morning screening.

My first movie of the day was It Might Get Loud, the documentary about the electric guitar as seen through Jimmy Page, U2's The Edge, and Jack White from the White Stripes. This movie was a total blast, and crazy loud. I have a new found appreciation for The Edge's effects pedal wizardry and Jack White in general. Jack was available for the Q & A and was pretty funny. He actually seems pretty cool in person, and not weird and intense and weird.

Next up was a movie called The Vicious Kind. My expectations for this were pretty low and only bought tickets to it in order to finish off my ticket package. The synopsis I read in the film guide didn't make it sound like my cup of tea. As it turns out this is now my favorite film of the festival. I was totally blown away by how good it was. J.K. Simmons (Juno, The Ladykillers) was great as always and Adam Scott was hilarious and scary at the same time.

Finally for our midnight movie we saw Mystery Team, the feature length film by Derrick Comedy of YouTube fame. Mel and I were in physical pain from laughing so hard. The first half is especially funny. Just about everybody in he movie was in attendance. It was weird to be standing in line and then when the movie started everyone that came on screen I remembered from the line outside. The three main guys were available for the Q & A and seemed pretty at ease considering they just went from YouTube sensation to a sold out screening at Sundance.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Sundance: Day 2

It's Friday, and we have begun our movie viewing in earnest. Melody and Jen saw Mary & Max this morning and the reviews are positive. We took Sam to the park and he was able to experience snow for the first time. The review was mostly positive. Later in the evening, Jen and I headed out to the Library Theater and saw two films, The Missing Person and Helen.

The Missing Person was excellent, a modern day film noir that reminded me a lot of The Big Sleep. During the Q & A the director joked about having ripped off Raymond Chandler for the idea for the script, so there you go. It stars Michael Shannon (from Revolutionary Road) as a private investigator. The New York cab driver in the movie still makes me laugh.

The next movie, Helen, was quite a bit more depressing but still enjoyable. I think I liked The Missing Person better but Ashley Judd definitely put on quite a performance. The cast was available for the Q & A after the screening, which was pretty cool. The guy next to me was crying during the entire second half of the movie, so I guess it's safe to say it's a pretty sad movie. I find middle-aged men, sobbing uncontrollably while sitting next to me, somewhat unsettling. I don't care for it.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Sundance: Day 1

So we landed at SLC around 4:20 local time, then took a shuttle ride into Park City. Jen chatted with six young, nubile Brazilians as we checked into the Copperbottom Inn. Our room was great, all the comforts of home except TiVo. Not much to do the first day but get settled in and get the lay of the land. Jen and I walked down main street and saw Christie Brinkley; she smiled and said hello as we passed.

Monday, January 12, 2009

This will Only Take a Minute

One last thing before heading off to Sundance. One of the crazy movies we'll be seeing is Black Dynamite starring Michael Jai White in the title role. Here's the deleted scene from Kill Bill 2 that he stars in:

(edit: this link is no longer available)

Friday, January 09, 2009

Sundance Tickets Have Arrived

Sundance tickets have finally arrived. Also arriving: a voucher for a Sundance catalog, a fold out transit map, one ticket to the opening night party and two credentials and last but not least: a lanyard for the above-mentioned credentials.

Well I think that does it for the preparations. Our flight leaves on the 15th. So we'll have one day to get settled in before the marathon o' films begins.

Our second Ticket Package A will be waiting at the Main Box Office 'cuz we're crazy like that.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Sundance Ticket Fulfillment

Today is the day we select the movies we will be seeing at Sundance. Five Minutes of Heaven and An Education were sold out for the first 5 days of the festival (both were only screening once in Park City during that time so you had to figure that might happen). I'm bummed I couldn't get tickets for those. Other films I noticed were sold out: World's Greatest Dad, 500 Days of Summer, and Crude, the documentary about oil (seriously?)

Anyway, here are the ones we got tickets for:

Jan 16th:
Mary and Max
The Missing Person

Jan 17th:
Brooklyn's Finest
It Might Get Loud
The Vicious Kind
Mystery Team

Jan 18th:
The Greatest
Black Dynamite

Jan 19th:
I Love You Phillip Morris
Paper Heart
The Messenger

Jan 20th:
Brief Interviews with Hideous Men
Big Fan
Arlen Faber
The Immaculate Conception of Little Dizzle

So, the breakdown by category is:
6 films from the U.S. Dramatic Competition
1 from the World Dramatic Competition
6 from the Premiers category
4 from the Spectrum (non-competition dramas)
1 from the Spectrum Documentary category (non-competition docs)
2 from the Midnight Movies category

The breakdown by theater is:
7 at the Library
6 at the Eccles
5 at the Racquet Club
1 at the Holiday
1 at the Egyptian

7 of the 20 movies we're seeing are their absolute first showing at the festival, for whatever that's worth (Adventureland, Endgame, The Messenger, Helen, The Missing Person, Mystery Team, and Black Dynamite).

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Preparations A through G were a complete failure

Less than a month to go, many preparations to be made, not the least of which is figuring out what movies we will pick when the 29th gets here. I've been pouring over the film guide and some difficult choices will indeed have to be made.

When I first decided to attend Sundance I checked around the Internet and stumbled across this cool blog about one persons Sundance experience. It's been four months now and it's still my favorite site on the subject.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

The Sundance Film Guide is Up

Check out the on-line film guide here or download the .pdf version here.

The following films (among others) are not being screened in Park City until the second half of the schedule, and since we're going for the first half (the aforementioned "A-week"). We can safely scratch these off our to do list:
  • Moon (sci-fi starring Sam Rockwell and made by David Bowie's son)

  • The Informers (odd looking film starring Billy Bob Thornton and Kim Bassinger)

  • Shrink (about a psychiatrist; stars Kevin Spacey)

  • In the Loop (described as a british political farce)

I had some interest in Moon and In the Loop, but all in all those four weren't in my top 10 anyway.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Sundance 2009 Lineup Announced

Sundance officially announced their film lineup for 2009. You can see the full press release here and here. According to their site:

118 feature-length films were selected including 89 world premieres, 17 North American premieres, and 4 U.S. premieres representing 21 countries with 42 first- time filmmakers, including 28 in competition. These films were selected from 3,661 feature- length film submissions composed of 1,905 U.S. and 1,756 international feature-length films.
Of those 118 I've narrowed my list down to 50 you see below. So far we've only purchased 2 Ticket A packages, so that means 40 tickets or 20 movies (with 2 people attending). So my plan is to organize these 50 in order of preference so that I have plenty of backups when I go to select the films at the end of December.

Several factors conspire against us:

1) Depending on which day (Dec 29th, 30th, or 31st) we're assigned our ticket selection windows, some movies may already be sold out. Edit: We got late in the day on the 29th as our ticket selection window for both packages. yay us.

2) Judging from previous years' film guides, each movie only screens about 5 times during the course of the 10 day festival. The festival is divided into 2 sections, the first 5 days (A week) and the second 5 days (B week). So for our purposes, films may only screen 2 or 3 times during "week A". On top of that, one or more of those screenings may be in Ogden or Salt Lake. So it's highly likely that some movies will only screen once or twice in Park City during the first 5 days, and more than likely there will a couple of movies that show the same time as others on our list, forcing us to choose one or the other. (in 2003, for example, American Splendor only screened twice in the first 5 days: at 8:30 PM on day 4, and at 8:30 AM on day 5. Also, The Visitor didn't play at all in Park City last year during the first 5 days of the festival).

So, here is our list roughly in order of preference. I doubt so many films will be unavailable as to reach down into the extreme lower part of this list, but who knows we may want to purchase additional individual tickets oce we get there.

Five Minutes of Heaven / UK
Liam Neeson, James Nesbitt, Anamaria Marinca
(Dir: Oliver Hirschbiegel; Screenwriter: Guy Hibbert)—Two men from the same town but from different sides of the Irish political divide discover that the past is never dead--in fact it isn't even past.World Premiere

An Education / UK
Peter Sarsgaard, Carey Mulligan, Alfred Molina, Emma Thompson.
(Dir: Lone Scherfig; Screenwriter: Nick Hornby)—In the early 60s, a sharp 16- year-old with sights set on Oxford meets a handsome older man whose sophistication enraptures and sidetracks both her and her parents. World Premiere

Brief Interviews with Hideous Men
Julianne Nicholson, John Krasinski, Timothy Hutton, Dominic Cooper, Christopher Meloni, Rashida Jones
(Dir/Screenwriter: John Krasinski) When her boyfriend leaves with little explanation, a doctoral candidate in anthropology tries to remedy her heartache by interviewing men about their behavior. World Premiere

Big Fan
Patton Oswalt, Michael Rapaport, Kevin Corrigan, Marcia Jean Kurtz, Matt Servitto
(Dir/Screenwriter: Robert Siegel) The world of a parking garage attendant who happens to be the New York Giants' biggest fan is turned upside down after an altercation with his favorite player. World Premiere.

Paper Heart
Charlyne Yi, Michael Cera, Jake Johnson
(Dir: Nicholas Jasenovec; Screenwriters: Nicholas Jasenovec and Charlyne Yi)—Even though performer Charlyne Yi doesn't believe in love, she bravely embarks on a quest to discover its true nature--a journey that takes on surprising urgency when she meets unlikely fellow traveler, actor Michael Cera. World Premiere

The Greatest
Pierce Brosnan, Susan Sarandon, Carey Mulligan, Johnny Simmons, Aaron Johnson, Mike Shannon
(Dir/Screenwriter: Shana Feste) After the tragic loss of their teenage son, a family is again thrown into turmoil by the arrival of a young woman. World Premiere

Cold Souls
Paul Giamatti, David Strathairn, Dina Korzun, Emily Watson, Lauren Ambrose, Katheryn Winnick
(Dir/Screenwrtier: Sophie Barthes) In the midst of an existential crisis, a famous American actor explores soul extraction as a relief from the burdens of daily life. World Premiere

Kristen Stewart, Ryan Reynolds, Bill Hader
(Dir/Screenwriter: Greg Mottola)—In 1987, a recent college graduate takes a nowhere job at his local amusement park and discovers the job is perfect preparation for the real world. World Premiere

Brooklyn's Finest
Richard Gere, Ethan Hawke, Wesley Snipes, Don Cheadle, Ellen Barkin
(Dir: Antoine Fuqua; Screenwriter: Michael C. Martin)—After enduring vastly different career paths, three unconnected Brooklyn cops wind up at the same deadly location. World Premiere

500 Days of Summer
Zooey Deschanel, Joseph Gordon-Levitt
(Dir: Marc Webb; Screenwriters: Scott Neustadter, Michael H. Weber)—When an unlucky greeting card copywriter is dumped by his girlfriend, the hopeless romantic shifts back and forth through various periods of their 500 days 'together' in hopes of figuring out where things went wrong. World Premiere

Ashton Kutcher, Anne Heche.
(Dir: David Mackenzie; Screenwriter: Jason Dean Hall)—A handsome young man survives in Los Angeles by seducing wealthy older women. World Premiere

I Love You Philip Morris
Jim Carrey, Ewan McGregor, Leslie Mann, Rodrigo Santoro
(Directors and Screenwriters: Glenn Ficarra and John Requa)—The true story about con artist and imposter Steven Jay Russell, a married father whose exploits land him in the Texas criminal justice system. Based on the novel by Houston Chronicle crime reporter Steve McVicker. World Premiere

Endgame / UK
William Hurt, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Jonny Lee Miller, Mark Strong
(Dir: Pete Travis; Screenwriter: Paula Milne)—A political thriller in which a businessman initiates covert discussions between the African National Congress and white intellectuals to try and find a peaceful solution to the Apartheid regime. World Premiere

Mary and Max / Australia
Philip Seymour Hoffman (voice), Toni Collette (voice), Barry Humphries (voice)
(Dir/Screenwriter: Adam Elliot)—The tale of two unlikely pen pals: Mary, a lonely, eight-year-old girl living in the suburbs of Melbourne, and Max, a forty-four-year old, severely obese man living in New York. World Premiere, Opening Night Film

Arlen Faber
Kat Dennings, Lauren Graham, Olivia Thirlby, Jeff Daniels, Tony Hale
(Dir/Screenwriter: John Hindman) A reclusive author of a groundbreaking spiritual book awakens to new truths when two strangers enter his life. World Premiere

Black Dynamite
Michael Jai White, Tommy Davidson, Salli Richardson-Whitfield, Byron Minns, James McManus
(Dir: Scott Sanders; Screenwriters: Michael Jai White, Scott Sanders, and Byron Minns)—When 'The Man' murders his brother, pumps heroin into local orphanages, and floods the ghetto with adulterated malt liquor, 1970s African-American action legend Black Dynamite is the one hero willing to take him on. World Premiere

Moon / UK
Sam Rockwell, Kevin Spacey
(Dir: Duncan Jones; Screenwriter: Nathan Parker)—Before returning to Earth after three years on the moon, things go horribly wrong for astronaut Sam Bell. World Premiere

Helen / Canada/Germany
Ashley Judd, Goran Visnijic
(Dir/Screenwriter: Sandra Nettelbeck)—A successful psychiatrist fights her own clinical depression. World Premiere

Téa Leoni, Billy Bob Thornton, Kyle MacLachlan
(Dir: Michael Polish; Screenwriters: Mark Polish and Michael Polish)—A comic tale centered on manure salesmen in the early 1960s. World Premiere

In the Loop / UK
Peter Capaldi, James Gandolfini, Tom Hollander.
(Dir: Armando Iannucci; Screenwriters: Armando Iannucci and Jesse Armstrong)—A fast-paced film about Britain and America's special relationship in the lead-up to a war no one seems to be able to stop. World Premiere

World's Greatest Dad
Robin Williams, Daryl Sabara, Alexie Gilmore, Tom Kenny, Geoffrey Pierson.
(Dir/Screenwriter: Bobcat Goldthwait)—A comedy about a high school poetry teacher who learns that the things you want most may not be the things that make you happy. World Premiere

Taking Chance
Kevin Bacon, Blanche Baker
(Dir: Ross Katz; Screenwriters: LtCol Michael R. Strobl, USMC (Ret.) and Ross Katz )—Based on real-life events, Lt. Col. Michael Strobl, a volunteer military escort officer, accompanies the body of 19-year-old Marine Chance Phelps back to his hometown of Dubois, Wyoming. World Premiere

The Messenger
Ben Foster, Woody Harrelson, Samantha Morton, Jena Malone, Eamonn Walker
(Dir: Oren Moverman; Screenwriters: Alessandro Camon and Oren Moverman)—Two soldiers from different generations form a unique bond as they cope with their assignment with the Army Casualty Notification department. World Premiere

Mystery Team
Dominic Dierkes, D.C. Pierson, Donald Glover, Aubrey Plaza, Glenn Kalison
(Dir: Dan Eckman; Screenwriters: Dominic Dierkes, Donald Glover, and DC Pierson)—A group of kid detectives called The Mystery Team struggle to solve a double murder to prove they can be real detectives before they graduate from high school. World Premiere

The Informers
Billy Bob Thornton, Kim Basinger, Winona Ryder, Mickey Rourke
(Dir: Gregor Jordan; Screenwriters: Bret Easton Ellis and Nicholas Jarecki)—A drama based on Bret Easton Ellis' novel, set in the 1980s, focusing on wealthy Angelinos consumed by a decadent lifestyle. North American Premiere

Spring Breakdown
Rachel Dratch, Amy Poehler, Parker Posey, Will Arnett, Rachel Hamilton.
(Dir: Ryan Shiraki; Screenwriters: Ryan Shiraki and Rachel Dratch)—Three thirtysomething friends attempt to break the monotony of their uninspired lives by vacationing at a popular spring break getaway for college students. World Premiere

Sin Nombre
Edgar Flores, Paulina Gaitan, Kristyan Ferrer, Tenoch Huerta Mejía, Luis Fernando Peña, Diana García
(Dir/Screenwriter: Cary Joji Fukunaga) A teenage Mexican gang member maneuvers to outrun his violent past and elude unforgiving former associates in this thriller set among Central American migrants seeking to cross over to the United States. World Premiere

The Missing Person
Michael Shannon, Amy Ryan, Frank Wood.
(Dir/Screenwriter: Noah Buschel) Private detective John Rosow is hired to tail a man on a train from Chicago to Los Angeles. En route, Rosow uncovers that the man's identity is one of the thousands presumed dead after the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center. World Premiere

Louise-Michel / France
Yolande Moreau, Bouli Lanners.
(Dir: Benoit Delepine and Gustave Kervern)—When a French factory is abruptly closed by its corrupt management, a group of disgruntled female workers pool their paltry compensation money and hire a hit man to knock off the corrupt executive behind the closure. North American Premiere

Mark Duplass, Joshua Leonard, Alycia Delmore, Lynn Shelton, Trina Willard
(Dir/Screenwriter: Lynn Shelton) A farcical comedy about straight male bonding gone a little too far. World Premiere

It Might Get Loud
The Edge, Jimmy Page, Jack White
(Dir: Davis Guggenheim)—The history of the electric guitar from the point of view of three legendary rock musicians. U.S. Premiere

The Immaculate Conception of Little Dizzle
Marshall Allman, Vince Vieluf, Natasha Lyonne, Tania Raymonde, Tygh Runyan
(Dir/Screenwriter: David Russo)—After losing his high-paying job, Dory takes a gig as a night janitor in order to pay rent. Alone late at night inside a market research firm, he discovers something worse than his new job cleaning toilets - a conniving corporate executive has made him the subject of a bizarre experiment. World Premiere

Against the Current
Joseph Fiennes, Justin Kirk, Elizabeth Reaser, Mary Tyler Moore, Michelle Trachtenberg.
(Dir/Screenwriter: Peter Callahan)—Facing the anniversary of his pregnant wife's tragic death, thirty-five-year old Paul Thompson enlists the help of two friends to help him swim the length of the Hudson River. World Premiere

Uma Thurman, Minnie Driver, Anthony Edwards
(Dir/Screenwriter: Katherine Dieckmann)—A mother of two from Manhattan is having a day that would challenge even the toughest maternal multi-tasker. World Premiere

Once More with Feeling
Drea de Matteo, Linda Fiorentino, Chazz Palminteri, Susan Miser, Lauren Bittner
(Dir: Jeff Lipsky; Screenwriter: Gina O'Brien)—A comedy about a psychiatrist who undergoes a midlife crisis and pursues his long-lost ambition of becoming a singer through karaoke. World Premiere

The Maid (La Nana) / Chile
Catalina Saavedra, Claudia Celedón, Mariana Loyola, Alejandro Goic, Andrea García-Huidobro
(Dir/Screenwriter: Sebastian Silva)—When her mistress brings on another servant to help with the chores, a bitter and introverted maid wreaks havoc on the household. North American Premiere

The Clone Returns (Kuron Wa Kokyo-Wo Mezasu) / Japan
Mitsuhiro Oikawa, Eri Ishida, Hiromi Nagasaku
(Dir/Screenwriter: Kanji Nakajima) —A Japanese astronaut who dies during a mission is subsequently resurrected as a clone and returns to his childhood home. North American Premiere

Kevin Spacey, Keke Palmer, Mark Webber, Dallas Roberts, Saffron Burrows.
(Dir: Jonas Pate; Screenwriter: Thomas Moffett)—Unable to come to grips with a recent personal tragedy, Los Angeles’ top celebrity psychiatrist loses faith in his ability to help his patients. World Premiere

Alec Baldwin, Kieran Culkin, Timothy Hutton, Cynthia Nixon, Emma Roberts.
(Dir: Derick Martini; Screenwriters: Derick Martini and Steven Martini)—Set in the 1970s, a unique take on the dangers of the American dream seen through the innocent eyes of a fifteenyear-old boy. U.S. Premiere

The Vicious Kind
Brittany Snow, Adam Scott, J.K. Simmons, Alex Frost
(Dir/Screenwriter: Lee Toland Krieger)—Suffering insomnia and testy by nature, Caleb Sinclaire reluctantly picks up his brother Peter at college and brings him and his new girlfriend Emma home to his estranged father's house for Thanksgiving. World Premiere

The Yes Men Fix the World / France/ USA
Andy Bichlbaum, Mike Bonanno
(Directors: Andy Bichlbaum, Mike Bonanno and Kurt Engfehr)—A pair of notorious troublemakers sneak into corporate events disguised as captains of industry, then use their momentary authority to expose the biggest criminals on the planet. World Premiere

Hugh Dancy, Rose Byrne, Peter Gallagher, Amy Irving, Frankie Faison, Mark Linn-Baker
(Dir/Screenwriter: Max Mayer)—A strange and lyrical love story between a somewhat socially dysfunctional young man and the woman of his dreams. World Premiere

Peter and Vandy
Jess Weixler, Jason Ritter, Jesse L. Martin, Tracie Thoms
(Dir/Screenwriter: Jay DiPietro)—Juxtaposing a couple's romantic beginnings with the twisted-manipulative-regular couple they have become, Peter and Vandy is a contemporary Manhattan love story with no beginning and no end. World Premiere

Afghan Star / Afghanistan/UK
Havana Marking
(Director: Havana Marking) After 30 years of war and Taliban rule, Pop Idol has come to television in Afghanistan: millions are watching and voting for their favorite singer. This film follows the dramatic stories of four contestants as they risk their lives to sing. North American Premiere

White Lightnin' / UK
Ed Hogg, Carrie Fisher, Muse Watson, Wallace Merck, Clay Steakley
(Dir: Dominic Murphy; Screenwriters: Shane Smith and Eddy Moretti)—The outrageous cult story of Jesco White, the dancing outlaw. World Premiere

Johnny Mad Dog / France
Cast: Christophe Minie, Daisy Victoria Vandy
(Dir: Jean-Stéphane Sauvaire; Screenwriters: Jean-Stéphane Sauvaire and Jacques Fieschi) A fifteen-year-old kid-soldier fighting in Africa is armed to the hilt and inhabited by the mad dog he dreams of becoming. North American Premiere

Død Snø (Dead Snow) / Norway
Cast: Vegard Hoel, Stig Frode Henriksen, Charlotte Frogner, Jenny Skavlan, Jeppe Beck Laursen
(Director: Tommy Wirkola; Screenwriters: Tommy Wirkola and Stig Frode Henriksen)—A group of teenagers had all they needed for a successful ski vacation; cabin, skis, snowmobile, toboggan, copious amounts of beer and a fertile mix of the sexes. Certainly, none of them anticipated not returning home alive! However, the Nazi-zombie battalion haunting the mountains had other plans. North American Premiere

Big River Man
John Maringouin
(Director: John Maringouin)—An overweight, wine-swilling Slovenian world-recordholding endurance swimmer resolves to brave the mighty Amazon--in nothing but a Speedo®. World Premiere

Dada's Dance / China
Li Xinyun, Li Xiaofeng, Gai Ge, Chen Jun
(Dir: Zhang Yuan; Screenwriter: Li Xiaofeng)—Dada is a flirtatious young woman who lives with her mother in a small town. Having to fend off the constant advances of her mother's boyfriend who tells her she is adopted, she undertakes a journey in search of her birth mother. North American Premiere

The Killing Room
Chloe Sevigny, Peter Stormare, Clea DuVall, Timothy Hutton, Nick Cannon
(Dir: Jonathan Liebesman; Screenwriters: Gus Krieger and Ann Peacock)—Four individuals sign up for a psychological research study only to discover that they are now subjects of a brutal, classified government program. World Premiere

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

I'm Gonna Make You A Little Less Gross Every Day

I know I’m about 4 months late with this, but I just found out that since Ebert & Roeper left the show, the new "At the Movies" review show is called At The Movies with Lyons and Mankiewicz and is hosted by Ben Lyons and Ben Mankiewicz. They've already aired at least one episode, although my TiVo didn’t catch it, maybe the slight name change is goofing it up, or maybe my TiVo is, unbeknownst to me, trying to protect me from what appears to be a dreadful turn of events for a once beloved show.

You can see their reviews of Slumdog Millionaire and Quantum of Solace here. I like Ben Mankiewicz (the one with the goatee). He’s one of the hosts (Robert Osbourne is the other) of the Turner Classic Movie channel. So far I don't care for the other guy, Ben Lyons (he does film reviewing for E! and is apparently the son of movie reviewer Jeffrey Lyons). His favorite Bond film is Goldeneye because it launched the James Bond videogame franchise? Oh please. We get that you’re trying to appeal to a younger generation. I recommend wearing a sun visor upside down and turned slightly to the left. They need to add DJ Dynasty Handbag as a reviewer if they want to appeal to young and hip, "Ooh wee, T'Shane. Let's review us some movies today, B'okay?”

Friday, October 31, 2008

Check, Check, and Check

Quick update on the Sundance front:
  • We registered for the opportunity to buy tickets on Sept. 23rd.
  • We were assigned two time-slots for the 2nd day of ticket buying (Oct 29th) and one time slot for the 4th day (you can only purchase one ticket package per registration/time slot).
  • On the 29th we successfully purchased 2 Ticket Package A, umm, packages. Twenty tickets per package, so that's 40 tickets for movies spanning the 1st five days of the festival (Jan. 16th - 20th). By the time our 3rd time slot rolled around Ticket Package A as well as the Discovery Packages (10 tickets) were all sold out, fortunately 40 tickets should be more than enough.
  • Now we have to wait until December to actually choose what movies we're going to use our tickets for.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

I Say Good Day!

I'm having trouble figuring out the complex rules system for Sundance ticket buying. I contacted customer support and received the following response:
Wrong, sir! Wrong! Under section 37B of the contract [...] it states quite clearly that all offers shall become null and void if -- and you can read it for yourself in this photostatic copy -- "I, the undersigned, shall forfeit all rights, privileges, and licenses herein and herein contained," et cetera, et cetera... "Fax mentis incendium gloria cultum," et cetera, et cetera... "Memo bis punitor delicatum"! It's all there, black and white, clear as crystal! You stole fizzy lifting drinks! You bumped into the ceiling which now has to be washed and sterilized, so you get nothing! You lose! Good day sir!
I responded back explaining to them that a) I have signed no such contract, and b) I'm pretty sure you just quoted a line from a Gene Wilder movie.

Actually, I did ask if I was allowed to trade tickets with other filmgoers because I had heard you could do that. I was told you can "exchange tickets that you do not want up until 2 hours before a screening at any Main Box Office". So there you go, one more mystery solved.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Upcoming Vacation

So we're planning our next vacation to Utah in January. We are going to attempt to go to the Sundance Film Festival in Park City in late January 2009. My people (and by people I mean Google) tell me it's cold there, like 8 degrees. Some of us might not be making it back. It is both easier and more difficult than I thought it would be to attend this festival. I'll keep you updated on our progress.
So far the hurdles are:
  • acquire lodging
  • acquire plane tickets
  • acquire movie tickets
  • make sure the dog is taken care of
Plans are in motion for all of the above. The one X factor to all of this is the movie tickets. You see, Sundance is a 10 day festival broken into two 5-day blocks. You either order tickets/passes for the first 5 days (A packages) or the second 5 days (B packages).

To order tickets you have to pre-register between September 23rd and October 10th. About a week after registration closes you get an email either telling you when you can buy tickets or that you were not selected to buy tickets. So there's the rub, you can wait until you know if you can score tickets at which point all the hotels will be sold out, or you can reserve now with the possibility of getting zero tickets. awesome.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Better Watch Out

As a rebuttal to my previous post, Sam has asked me to point out that his current favorite song is "Insects" by Osaka Popstar and it can be viewed below.

Other favorites include anything by the Moose or Jack's Big Music Show on Noggin

edit: The YouTube video seems to not be working anymore, you can also see the video here

The Daily Download

NPR has an entire Cat Power concert available here. It's a long one (that's what she-- er, nevermind). I recommend skipping to the 15:38 mark unless you want to hear the opening band. Right around the 23 minute mark she performs her single, "Lived in Bars".

Note: It's ok if this isn't your cup of tea. I've heard many people have been able to live their lives as soulless robots. Whatever, snakes on a plane...

I guess you would call her style of music (for this album anyway) "southern soul". Or what some, crude people, might refer to as "bakin' bread music".

I've added the NPR Live Concert series feed to the site since they have some pretty good stuff (Jenny Lewis and Regina Spektor both in October just to name a few).

Saturday, February 10, 2007

We Got Feeds, Y'all

With the new version of Blogger making it even easier to add RSS feeds, I've gone crazy. I added a couple of Netflix feeds that display up-to-the-minute information on what movies Larry currently has at home, and the top 5 movies he has queued.

It's like a window into my world. Don't you feel like we are really connecting now? No? Wow, all of a sudden you seem a little uncomfortable. When did this conversation suddenly turn into that Christopher Walkern SNL skit, "The Continental"?

Friday, February 09, 2007

Netflix, Thou Art a Cruel Mistress

Netflix shipping as I see it...

  • If I receive a movie on Monday and Tuesday morning I mail it back, then Wednesday Netflix will receive it and ship out another DVD the same day.

  • It takes 2 days to get to me, so I'll get it on Friday.

  • All this, of course, assumes I will watch the movie the same day I receive it.

  • Based on the above information: Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday are the best days to mail movies for optimum turn around.

  • Unfortunately, if you mail it Mon through Wed you would at best be able to send them back Fri through Sunday (which are the worst days).

  • On average we watch 3 movies a week; this works out to just over 12 movies per month.

  • If you started May 1st and watched every movie the same day you received it, and mailed it back the following morning you could watch 18 movies in a month. If you average 2 days to watch a movie the total goes down to 15 movies max for the month. 3 days = 12, 4 days = 9.

  • This is a great deal if the movies are new releases. $4 per new release x 18 movies would be $72 worth of movies for only $17.99 a month.

  • However, if all 18 movies are .99 non-new release rentals, then .99 x 18 = $17.82 worth of movies for $17.99 per month. Not a great deal at all. In fact, some might suggest this is, in fact, a craptastic deal.

  • I'm not altogether sure movie rental stores still have .99 rentals on non-new releases.

So, the more new releases you rent, the more bang you're getting for your buck. Save the movies that have been on DVD for a year or more for cable.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Has It Been Four Months?

Well, it has been a while since I’ve posted to the blog. I will avoid promises of more frequent posts like some people.

The reasons for my absence from the blogosphere are twofold:

1) you may have noticed that my departure corresponds roughly to the launch of new television season. That’s right, Lost, 24, Prison Break, SNL, and Family Guy are to blame.

2) Writer’s block. Generally I find inspiration strikes me when I’m driving on the freeway or taking care of the livestock out back. When I actually sit down to put my thoughts to the keyboard, I get nothing. Which is too bad, because if memory serves me correct those snippets of wisdom are truly a wonder to behold (and by 'behold', I mean 'to reflect upon'). Unfortunately I forget them soon after. What I need to do is carry around a small tape recorder or hire a personal assistant that can transcribe my mutterings on the spot.

In the 38 years I’ve maintained this blog I've learned a few hard lessons. Not the least of which is, "Always spackle before you paint".

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

A Word About Comments

There have been a lot of comments received at the news desk this week, and unfortunatly most have been rejected. While we appreciate your contributions to the Spatulas of Doom blog, in the future please adhere to the following guidelines:

  • All comments must praise Larry
  • All commentators must display deference and obsequiousness to Larry
  • Comments must not disagree with Larry
  • Comments must not displease Larry
  • Do not taunt, mock, or otherwise affect a disrespectful tone with or towards Larry

Also, criticism should be constructive and should follow the 5 to 1 rule: 5 positive comments for every negative one.

example of good criticism: "I don't think you expressed just how awesome you

example of bad criticism: "you are a self-absorbed jerk and I hope you
die a horrible death"

Comments should, for the most part, sing Larry’s praises with multiple exclamation points.

For instance: "Great post!!!" "Way to go!!" "You rock!!!!"

Submissions not following the above guidelines are subject to a complete rewrite and/or deletion.

editor, Spatulas of Doom newsdesk
Fighting censorship since Q4 2006

Monday, October 09, 2006


Check out the trailer for the upcoming film, 300. It's based on a graphic novel (comic book) by Frank Miller. It looks like a cross between Troy and another Frank Miller inspired film, Sin City. That is to say 300 looks like Troy would have looked if Troy wasn't, you know, suck-tarded.

According to the film's production blog:
Based on the epic graphic novel by Frank Miller, 300 is a ferocious retelling of the ancient Battle of Thermopylae in which King Leonidas (Gerard Butler) and 300 Spartans fought to the death against Xerxes and his massive Persian army.
Sounds pretty cool. The last good sword-and-sandal epic was Gladiator. Since then we've had to endure Colin Farrell and his Pony-Boy haircut in Alexander and Brad Pitt with berettes in Troy. (both movies tied for the #1 spot on Ebert's 'Worst of 2004' list, but Alexander is far, far worse).

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Oscar Hopefuls

Summer is turning to autumn, and that can mean only one thing (obviously it means more than one thing - ignore that first part, I don't know what I was talking about there). It means we are leaving behind the Summer Blockbuster season and beginning the Oscar Contender season.
A couple of new movies with Oscar buzz releasing soon:

The Departed - directed by Martin Scorcese, opens October 6th.
Flags of Our Fathers - directed by Clint Eastwood, opens October 20th.
Catch a Fire – directed by Phillip Noyce, opens Oct 27th. (This one stars Tim "please don’t make us listen to another whack-job acceptance speech" Robbins).

An interesting note on Flags of Our Fathers, per, apparently Spielburg snapped up the film rights to the book before Eastwood could. It ended up being a Spielburg/Dreamworks production with Eastwood directing and Paul Haggis writing the screenplay.

All this sets up the possibility of a Best Director showdown between Scorcese, Eastwood, and maybe even Robert Altman. Scorcese's near misses in this category are already the stuff of legends.

Potential Oscar nominees that are either out on video, or at least will be prior to the award ceremony:

  • United 93
  • Little Miss Sunshine
  • Other potentials to be on the look-out for…

    Dreamgirls – Bill Condon
    The History Boys – Nicholas Hytner
    The Queen – Stephen Frears
    Babel - Alejandro Gonzalez Iñarritu (Amores Perros)
    Breaking and Entering – Anthony Minghella
    Children of Men – Alfonso Cuaron
    For Your Consideration
    The Good German – Steven Soderberg
    The Good Shepherd - Eric Roth (Forrest Gump)
    A Good Year - Ridley Scott
    Goya's Ghosts - Milos Forman
    Last King of Scotland – Kevin MacDonald
    Miss Potter
    Notes on a Scandal

    I'll update the rest later...

    Tuesday, August 22, 2006

    We Are...Entertained

    In mid-August we attended a test screening for an upcoming film called We Are Marshall. We signed some sort of non-disclosure agreement, and although I don’t remember everything it said, I do remember the part about "not discussing the details of the movie verbally or electronically especially on the Internet". Per Imdb it’s based on the true story of the Marshall College football team that died in a plane crash in the early 70s, so I think it's safe to say at least that much about it. Suffice it say, I liked the movie a lot.

    Anyway, while we were in line, some guy with a clipboard came by and asked, "Why are you here?" My wife replied, "because it’s free". He countered, "So if we were screening Dumbo II (he spoke in Italics) you would’ve came to see it because it was free?" We said probably not, and that we knew this was a football movie, and we liked Friday Night Lights, which was also a football movie, so...

    He then asked us to be part of a 20-person focus group that would stay after the film and discuss our opinion. We were issued nametags, I said I would like to be addressed as Snake. and then we were seated in a special roped-off area of the theater. At the end of the movie we all moved down to the front two rows and met the moderator. He asked for our thoughts on the film and the first few minutes went like this:

    Focus Member 1: "It was inspirational"
    Moderator: "It was inspirational…"
    Focus Member 2: "It was uplifting"
    Moderator: "It was uplifting…"
    Focus Member 3: "I really liked the way the characters interacted with each other"
    Moderator: "You really liked the way the characters interacted with each other…"

    I began to wonder to myself if perhaps the moderator was a moron. He then said, "I’m repeating everything for the benefit of the tape-recorder - I’m not a moron". Mystery solved.

    Speaking of people of the not-smart persuasion, there were some doozies in that focus group. One or two people said the movie needed to be more "light-hearted". Light-hearted? Yeah that's what a movie about a tragedy needs, maybe some fart-jokes.

    I was made to wonder if any movies have been ruined by paying too much attention to test audiences.

    Kevin Smith has an interesting article about test screenings from the perspective of a filmmaker on his blog. So, keep on trucking, or something.

    Thursday, July 13, 2006

    Life Goes On

    For those of you that have been keeping up-to-date on this site, you know about the man pictured here. Well, things have gone from bad to worse, and last night his wife called and informed me that he had run off in the middle of the night and didn't even pack a suitcase. The only items missing in the house were a toothbrush, a pack of gum, and some Preparation H. My first thought was that he was going to go MacGyver and whip up some sort of nasty explosive device using everyday household items. When dealing with the criminally insane, I've learned nothing is off-limits.

    I was quickly on Tim's trail and eventually tracked him down at a shelter for battered spouses. What I next discovered was far more tragic than even I had imagined, and I can imagine a lot, as you can … you know … imagine.

    To say that Tim’s condition had worsened would be a monumental understatement. He had developed several rapid tics (see above photo) as well the inability to control sudden outbursts of speech. He told me that in the past month he had contracted full-blown Tourette’s Syndrome as well as a mild case of the syphilis from using a public restroom in Barstow. He went on to clarify that it wasn't Barstow-proper per se, rather the outlying Barstow area. Come to think of it, he said, it wasn't in Barstow at all, but at a Denny's in Porterville.

    I said it wasn't important, and that’s not how you get Tourette's anyway. He became visibly agitated, so much so that I feared for my safety. I explained that I advocated a non-violent approach to life and outlined my philosophy of "Neither Drugs nor Hugs, but rather Mugs". That's right, I now sell coffee mugs, and each mug comes with a grammatically correct statement of affirmation such as, "You are the Man", "It is all good", and "If you come one step closer I'll cut you". The latter being, obviously, cutting of a figurative nature - the way one cuts to the heart of a problem such as racism, ageism or dwarfism. Each mug comes directly from Kinko's for only $14.95 plus Shipping & Handling while supplies last.

    Something I said must have upset him because he then launched into a series of violent tics and hand gestures that reminded me of gang signs circa 1984. After he calmed down I asked him how he ended up here and he related to me the following tale: He said it all started yesterday around two o' clock...

    It was a hot afternoon, and I can still remember the smell of honeysuckle all along that street. How could I have known that murder can sometimes smell like honeysuckle? Maybe you would have known, Keyes, the minute she mentioned accident insurance, but I didn't. I felt like a million.

    I told him that didn't really explain anything and furthermore, that was a piece of narrative from the 1944 film Double Indemnity starring Barbara Stanwyck and Fred MacMurray. It was at that point he began weeping like a baby. I was getting a little choked up myself, but that was the result of my acid reflux and a lunchtime tuna salad sandwich that would've made lesser men run for cover.

    Thursday, July 06, 2006

    Thank You For Smoking

    Today the Close-Minded Movie Reviewer takes a break from movies to review a television commercial. Have you seen those American Legacy Foundation “Truth” commercials? The ones that ‘expose’ the truth about smoking. So, it turns out that, get this, smoking is bad for you. Who knew? Oh wait, every freakin’ person in the known universe.

    Seriously, who doesn’t know smoking is bad for you? Wouldn’t the money spent on these commercials be better suited to exposing other “truths”? If you’re going to call your project Truth, shouldn’t you tackle other areas as well as smoking? Is this the only lie ever conceived? What about alcohol and alcohol related deaths? I’d wager that more young people are unaware of the dangers of alcohol abuse than smoking.

    What a pretentious title for your program, “truth”. These are the most obnoxious commercials ever and although I’ve never smoked, I’m seriously considering taking up the habit. That’s how much I hate those commercials, they are literally driving me to smoke.

    The idiots in the commercials are always claiming to be attempting to track down some tobacco exec and trying to confront him about cigarettes and ask why the tobacco companies have attempted to mislead the public about the inherent dangers. So the lesson of the commercial is twofold: a) smoking is bad for your health, and b) tobacco companies downplay the negative effects of smoking because they are trying to get you to buy their product. This is helpful information for absolutely no one, because it is something that everyone already knows.

    Guinness has an advertising slogan that reads “Guinness is good for you”. After years of exhaustive study, researchers have determined that Guinness is, in fact, not good for you (yes, I know alcohol in small amounts has been said to be good for your heart, but in large quantities it can also damage your liver, and I hear that’s a bad thing). Guinness isn’t allowed to use their slogan in the U.S. because of strict truth in advertising regulations. The statement that Guinness is good for you is obviously a joke to everyone but the target audience of commercials. These are the same people that don’t know coffee is hot, and are blissfully unaware that companies that sell a product might not be in a hurry to point out the reasons you shouldn’t buy it. That doesn’t make dishonesty ok but if Hostess came out with a commercial telling you Twinkies were good for you and you switched over to an all-Twinkie diet, then you are, in all likelihood, a moron. We don’t need huge ad campaigns to save people from their own stupidity. At some point you have to let natural selection do its thing.

    The worst commercial is the one with the dork who goes to the mattress store and asks if they put warning labels on mattresses, because a memo from a tobacco executive suggested people be warned against sleeping because so many people die in their sleep. The interviewer apparently is not against smoking of every kind because he’s got dope-smoker written all over him. It’s immediately obvious to every sane viewer that the exec’s memo was a tongue-in-cheek note essentially saying “if you’re going to put warning labels on cigarettes because they can kill you, why not put labels on everything that could kill you?” Since they don’t tell you when the memo was written, one assumes it was 10 or 15 years ago, before they actually did put warning labels on everything including hot coffee. The memo was using an absurd statement to illustrate an absurd circumstance. The commercial, on the other hand, presumes the memo is meant literally, that those wacky tobacco executives actually think sleep is bad for you. As if anyone, besides the maker of this commercial, is that dumb.

    I’m reminded of the closing scene of The Misfits, starring Clark Gable. Gable’s character is reconsidering selling the horses he’s just round up to a dog food company. He’s decided it’s not something he wants to do after all, but before he can take action, Montgomery Clift and Marilyn Monroe, in a fit of self-righteous indignation, ‘save’ the horses by cutting their ropes and releasing them. It’s immediately clear to the viewer that this is a largely symbolic gesture because unless they plan to spirit the horses away somewhere, he could simply come back the next day and round them up again. In fact, his sidekick, played by Eli Wallach, says as much. Nevertheless, Gable grabs a rope and single-handedly catches and reigns in the powerful stallion that had just been released. Then with Clift and Monroe looking on, he cuts the horse loose, saying, “Don't want nobody makin' up my mind for me, that’s all”.

    Your intrepid reviewer wonders, who does want their mind made up for them? On the other hand, I suppose if thinking for yourself wasn’t such a rare quality, they wouldn’t have to make movies about the few who possess the ability.