Saturday, August 28, 2010

Moving to Wordpress

Hello to my many fives of readers! I am just checking in to say that I am moving this blog over to Wordpress, since Wordpress is a little easier to use and people can comment without having to sign up through google or blogger. The link to the new blog is:

Someday I might get my own domain and link it there, but for now, Wordpress it is. :)

See you over there, in that corner of the internet!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

We need to talk about Predators

My awesome cousin Clare and I went to see Predators on Wednesday night. Interesting fact: We would have seen it on Friday or a weekend (or at any time not at 10:15pm) but it was so fast on its way out of theaters that it wasn't even *in* houston theatres for this weekend. So, 10:15. Wednesday night. Predators.

Let me describe to you the kind of people in Houston who go see Predators on a Wednesday night at 10:15 besides ourselves:


Two guys who seemed to be on some kind of man-date. If only we had been able to take a picture of the sartorial wonders one of them was displaying: tan baseball cap (with American flag, natch), tan t-shirt tucked into (belted) camoflage pants with cowboy boots. Now, I am not sure that I can verbally do justice to these last two items of clothing. The camoflage pants were actually kind of shiny, as though they were formal camo, for special occasions. They seemed to taper down* and end at the cowboy boots, which were brown and also shiny. It was really clear that this outfit had been put together with great care, as though he was going hunting in a really fancy game preserve that also housed a movie theater which was showing Predators.

The movie itself was pretty awesome. When it was over we actually had to stop ourselves from thinking that hard about it, so flimsy was the plot and so numerous the holes therein. For example, if Laurence Fishburne's character had been on the planet for ten seasons, how long is a season? We're given to believe that a season is actually quite long, but at the end (spoiler alert! YOU KNOW YOU CARE ABOUT THE ENDING OF PREDATORS) when Adrien Brody and the chick are walking away they see more crates (and, presumably, people) being parachuted on to the planet. Does that mean that a season is only, like, three days long or however long it takes the batch of prey to die?

It's questions like this that keep me awake at night, people. Anyway, the plot (as it is) in a nutshell: Adrien Brody and a bunch of other people (including Machete and Topher Grace) wake up mid-air over a TERRIFYING JUNGLE. Once they land they realize that they're not on earth, that they're all lethal badasses of various provenance, and that they're in Very Big Trouble. After removing the various ethnic characters using alien dogs and a cleverly disguised booby-trap (No. Seriously. Machete lasts literally twenty minutes into this movie, and the African dude about thirty. It's sad.) they find a strung-up predator that looks like the Predator from the first movie and Laurence Fishburne, who has gone crazy from being on the game preserve planet and tries to kill them. Another question posed by this movie: if Laurence Fishburne has survived by running and hiding and scavenging, why did he look like he'd spent the last ten years on the sofa, eating In-N-Out burgers? It was hard to suspend my disbelief to accept that this guy a) was once a badass, in-shape warrior and b) had survived on his own on a prison planet when he c) looks kind of like a paunchier, more African-American Mickey Rourke.

Anyway. So yadda yadda yadda, the Predators are coming, suddenly there are two kind of predators (WTF?!@?) and then EVERYONE DIES. Everyone, that is, except Adrien Brody, Topher Grace, and Isabela, the Hot Chick of Unspecified Origin. (Oh wait, Guatemala, because she told them all about the Predator in a handy bit of exposition.) Now, from the beginning Topher Grace is like "Waaah, I'm a nerdy doctor, I shouldn't BEEE here." And of course you know this is no tragic mistake, this dude is probably going to turn out to be a dyed-in-the-wool crazy person. And you'd be right! At the end he's all ready to kill Isabela in some unspecified cruel way and he's like "I LOVE THIS PLANET. CLEARLY THIS IS A PLANET FOR ME SINCE I LOVE TO KILL PEOPLE." And when Adrien Brody comes and saves them (blah blah, he was going to steal the alien craft but had a crisis of conscience, they've fallen down a hole, blah) the following exchange takes place:

Topher Grace Is A Serial Killer to Adrien Brody: You're a good man.
He gets ready to shoot Adrien Brody. Adrien Brody uses his whippet-quick killer reflexes and stabs Topher Grace in the jaw with his own, presumably-poisoned knife. (long story.)
Adrien Brody: I'm not good. I'm just fast.
Topher Grace: *gargle*

Later, he asks one of the Predators to help him because he's "One of you!"

Now, asinine dialogue and ludicrous characters aside, this movie was pretty fun. There was lots of shooting, lots of running, lots of people getting injured and or slaughtered in their attempt to escape the Predators. I didn't really understand why it needed to be a jungle (again); I mean, if the Predators' cloaking mechanism can bend ambient light so that they can be invisible to the human eye, why not be in the desert? Why not be in the mountains? We're fighting TWO WARS in the desert right now and that is a pretty tailor-made premise for a Predators flick RIGHT THERE. My only complaint would be that it took the actual Predators too long to show up, and when they did, I was deprived of the multiplicity of Predators that I felt I was promised. io9 does a very good rundown of this problem here.

Anyway, I loved it overall, and I'm probably going to buy it on DVD. Only so I can experience Adrien Brody doing his deep-register I'm A Badass voice in the privacy of my own home.

*They looked kind of like these. Only, you know, SHINY. But not, like, disco-shiny. Just shiny shiny.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Dinner for Schmucks...

...Intermittently funny. My mom and I kept having what we call "Lucy Moments." This term derives from those moments when, watching an episode of I Love Lucy, Lucy does something so spectacularly ill-advised and stupid that you have to cover your eyes or leave the room in sympathetic embarrassment. From the moment that Paul Rudd hits Steve Carrell with his car, these moments come thick and fast.

The dinner portion in Dinner for Schmucks only took up about a fourth of the movie, if that, and full of characters that we didn't get to see enough of (Chris O'Dowd's blind fencer anyone?)The rest of the movie was entirely comprised of one horrifyingly awful situation after another, my favorite being when Barry (Carrell) awkwardly intercepts an IM from a woman that Tim (Paul Rudd) had had a one-night stand with years back, which (of course!) led to her showing up at Tim's apartment and wreaking unspeakable shenanigans involving spanking and schoolgirl fantasies all over his business. Lucy Punch, the actress playing said crazy stalker, is an actress that I've only seen in Hot Fuzz and an episode of Poirot (where she played a missionary who was sleeping with her cousin. GASP.) She is a perfectly charming actress that I will now never be able to look at again.

The major bright spot for me was Jemaine Clement as Kieran, the artist that Tim's beautiful and mildly exotic girlfriend Julie represents.* Kieran is hilarious and pompous and totally in control of his schtick, which somehow never wore thin the way that Barry's did. In this day and age of sensitive spectrum diagnoses it was awkward to see a character who was clearly not stupid so much as actually mentally delayed in some way be the butt of so very many sex jokes. (He couldn't find the clitoris of his horrible ex-wife! He suggested that she had put it in her purse! Hilarity!)

I did do a lot of laughing in this movie. I don't want to make it sound like it was just one big cringe-fest, but I did cringe a lot, and actually had to leave the theater when a hilarious phone mixup (Their phones look just the same! IT IS SO EASY TO MIX UP PHONES IN THIS DAY AND AGE!) caused Barry AND the horrible Darla to join Tim and his potential new clients at brunch, only to have Julie show up mid-proposal. So very, very awkward. These Swiss clients, played by David Walliams and Lucy Davenport with scary blue-eyed perfection, were also sadly underutilized.

Ve do not understand vat is going on here.

I've also had a debate with my parents over the proper translation of the title of the original French movie, Le Diner de Cons. An article in the Houston Chronicle said that this title contained both "idiot" and the French word for, presumably, "cunt." I disagree. I seem to remember that "cons" was a word for idiots. Any of the three people who read this blog who know something about this are welcome to raise their hands and provide clarification. IMPORTANT ISSUES.

*I wish that the movie hadn't ended with her losing her chance at a big museum show in San Francisco only because she got back with Tim. Spoiler alert! in case you've never seen a romantic comedy ever!

Monday, August 2, 2010

Links Heard 'Round the Internet

This afternoon I'm going to see Dinner for Schmucks with my mom (Shut up, Paul Rudd is super cute and I like Steve Carrell, also David Walliams and Jemaine Clement) so here are some fun links:

And, finally most important of all:
  • CENTURION IS ON VIDEO-ON-DEMAND. This is, for those of you who don't follow these things, a) a Neil Marshall movie, he of The Descent and Dog Soldiers and Doomsday b) about the Roman Ninth Legion, which disappeared in Scotland after being fucking slaughtered by a bunch of Picts c) starring everyone in life I have ever loved, including David Morrissey and Michael Fassbender. You can bet your ass this is what I'm going to be watching tomorrow morning.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

I wrote this on a plane, yo

I’m composing this in a word processing document as I am flying home to Houston. The past four days have been more than slightly ridiculous. In addition to interviewing, packing to come home for two weeks, not knowing if those two weeks would turn into two months, three months, four, I also had to be packing up all my shit to move out of my apartment.

For various insane reasons relating to my quasi-employments and my parents desire not to be guaranteeing the lease on an apartment that I might be forced to vacate at any moment I had to leave my beautiful orange room in Lord Washington’s Fort, the apartment my buddies and I had occupied for a year in Washington Heights. We all got along really well as roommates, even when we had disagreements about decor or cleaning out the stupid drain catch (which no one ever really mastered the art of, except Steph, who just started using her own).

It’s going to be really strange not going home to that apartment when I get back to NYC, and I’m honestly a little verklempt thinking about it. Those guys are my pals, and that room was my home, and I’m really going to miss it. I am fairly confident that I will be able to find something in the way of housing- I’ve already warned my friends who offered me couch crash-age that I will be cashing that shit in.

Being at home is going to be great. I haven’t seen my dad since Christmas and my mom since March, and since I lurve them, I’m going to spend a lot of time hanging out and they’ll probably be like “don’t you have friends? get out of the house.”

I’m also going to try and see approximately 100 movies when I’m at home since they’ll be a full FIVE DOLLARS CHEAPER than NYC. I haven’t seen Inception yet because both times that Raygan and I attempted to see it the showings were sold out. For the whole evening. At almost every location within a twenty minute subway ride. We were just standing there at a loss, indignant that the most media-y city in the city would be filled with people wanting to see a wildly popular movie. There were two guys behind me in Starbucks discussing the plot about a week after it came out and I wanted to turn around and punch them in their macchiato-ordering faces. They should have gotten themselves a Cone of Silence and written SPOILER ALERT all over it. I also want to see Salt and Predators, which will hopefully not have left theaters.


(Now when I’m on planes and there is turbulence I think of that scene in The Day After Tomorrow where there is the crazy insane turbulence and Emmy Rossum is all “Everything is fine! They’re still serving drinks!” and then the turbulence gets so bad the drink cart careens down the aisle and almost hits Jake Gyllenhaal in his impeccably well-groomed face.)

... and now, watching The Mummy. Gotta love travel!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Rediscovering my love for The Candybutchers.

I dated a kid briefly in college- I say "kid," but in reality he was 28 and not very bright, and at 18 I think I had my shit way better together than he did- but the one good thing that came out of the relationship was the copy he gave me of The Candybutcher's excellent album "Hang On Mike." Here is a crappy version of their song "What To Do With Michael"

And a much better version of "Nice to Know You" with bonus Carson Daly:

I think my favorite song from this album is "Hang On Mike," followed closely by "Painkillers." Definitely worth checking out.

What I Watched Last Night: Pig-Faced Policeman Edition

Last night I had a hilarious double-feature of the 2006 whimsical fairytale romantic comedy Penelope and the classic 1985 Hong Kong cop movie Police Story. Imagine the dreams I had last night: horrifying and hilarious nightmares of Christina Ricci fighting pig-nosed Chinese businessmen, throwing briefcases and leaping off escalators, all the while being sexily pursued by James McAvoy and Burn Gorman.

Penelope tells the story of a girl who is the victim of her wealthy family's curse: many generations back, some douchey grand knocked up a servant, whose subsequent suicide caused her witchy mother to hex the family: the next Wilhern girl would be born with the face of a pig. Six generations later Penelope is born to Richard E. Grant and Catherine O'Hara, both charming and underutilized in their roles as harried parents to a pig-faced daughter who they must hide from the world while simultaneously trying to find Penelope a fiance.

You see, the curse can only be broken when "one of [the family's] own" accepts her for who she is, "till death do they part." Her mother kicks the husband hunt into overdrive, searching for seven years for a man who will love Penelope enough to marry her (and her sizable dowry) without running for the hills. This would all be more convincing if Penelope were actually, you know, ugly, but at its worst the nose is just charmingly snubbed and not really all that monstrous:

OK, so maybe that is a little gross. Anyway, if you guessed that the plot of Penelope would involve a swindler trying to get a photo of Penelope for a tabloid, then falling in love with her, then leaving her for reasons that aren't quite what you expect, causing Penelope to strike out on her own and make friends, then returning home to get married only to discover mid-vow that she loves herself the way she is, thus (spoiler) breaking the curse, then you'd be TOTALLY RIGHT. It turns out all she needed all along was to LOVE HERSELF. As Catherine O'Hara points out, the curse could have been broken ages ago if she had just accepted her daughter as who she was. Then they wouldn't have had to go through all the agony of hunting down every eligible "blue-blood" in the land.

Penelope herself borders right on the edge of Manic Pixie Dream Girl-hood but is never really fleshed out enough, nor is James MacAvoy as brooding, be-emo banged, down-on-his-luck blue blooded gambler suitor Max:

Not visible: the Emo Bang of Intense Emotion. Visible: McAvoy's champ-like brooding skills. Also invisible: the tree he is brooding in. Seriously. A tree.

Anyway, I thought the touch at the end of having Max kiss Penelope while she had her mask on, thus signifying that he Loved Her Even Though Her Nose and Presumably Her Ears (And, Possibly, Hind-Parts) Resemble a Pig's was very sweet. The message of "Accept Yourself and Dudes will Find That Sexy" is also kind of nice, although I'm not sure how losing the pig nose worked with that. And I wish that what looked like the beginnings of a romantic subplot between Reese Witherspoon's spunky vespa deliveryperson and the bar owner had actually happened. They looked cute! He knew her usual! They made adorable and awkward wedding-related small-talk! Alas, twas not to be.

My roommate Raygan rented both Police Story and Police Story 2, which I haven't seen yet. What I love about Police Story and about Chinese movies in general (Hong Kong, Taiwan, and mainland alike) is that they like to signify the mood change with really ridiculous music shifts: like, "THIS IS A COMEDY, LISTEN TO THE HAPPY CLARINET MUSIC." Since there are lots of cute comedy moments in Police Story, including Jackie Chan's character duping Selina with a fake intruder, only to get totally hosed by actual attackers later, this music change happens a lot. I can't wait to see the sequel.

Jackie Chan's friend learns the hard way that both home invasion and people getting injured are HILARIOUS.