Monday, January 28, 2008



A reasonably engaging and satisfying movie in this award season. Ordinarily, I wouldn't consider Juno an award winner, except it is the most watchable of the flicks currently being held up as worthy of serious attention by the average filmgoer. The one thing it lacks is angst. But then I hate angst.

It is a basically humane and charming depiction of middle class life and ordinariness. It seems a simple tale but watch out, it fucks with your mind. Especially if you, like me, think you can spot the clues of where the film story and characters are going, because you can't. This is definitely no LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE which brightly foreshadowed exactly where it was going and made a thoroughly disgusting trip of it.

On a personal note, the leading actress frequently seemed in appearance and voice much like a young lady of my acquaintance of Canadian origin. Out of curiosity, I waited through the end credits and then, as I expected, saw that the film was shot in B.C. Coincidence--or percipience? I only take credit for the latter.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Award Season

As a guild member I am supposed to note and vote on 2007 releases. Screening films these past few months has felt like being water-boarded.

THERE WILL BE BLOOD has so many stupid and trashy and phony elements that I can't even begin to list them. So I won't.

BEFORE THE DEVIL KNOWS YOU'RE DEAD is easier to describe. Every character in it is stupid, venal, criminal and vicious. Sidney Lumet once directed a film version of LONG DAY'S JOURNEY INTO NIGHT, Eugene O'Neill's classic play about a dysfunctional family. It has taken him about forty years, but Lumet has finally found a script depicting the most dysfunctional family life since Medea. I hope the old fart is happy.

NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN is a totally stupid story with fair acting and a non-ending.

I walked out early on MICHAEL CLAYTON so I don't know how bad it got, but claptrap, illogical dialogue drove me out before I started to yak back at the screen.

Friday, January 11, 2008


One of the misfortunes of living a long time is the passing of good things that were enjoyed along the way. I'm talking mostly about foods, fiction, movies and music. I won't get into specifics because we each of us have our own list.

Weather is still good. Except for Florida's Gulf Coast, I have never met a weather condition I didn't like.

But getting back to food, I used to love pancakes, especially buttermilk hotcakes. But not so now for several years. The flavor and texture I loved just seemed to disappear from the packaged products I prepared at home and even from the favorite restaurants that have remained in operation.

But I have kept trying, and one lucky day I spied a box of Kodiak Cakes on a grocery shelf. The copy on the box seemed a bit self-congratulatory and hokey but what-the-heck; worth a look-see.

I just had another batch this morning of great flapjacks. Halfway through my second box. 'Nough said.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Before the Critics Know You're Dead

I hope Sidney Lumet is happy with himself. After a long and lustrous theatrical career he has capped it with the ugliest and least worthy opus of his ouvre.

I can't recall ever seeing a movie in which every single character is either either criminally evil, vicious and'or stupid. Except maybe a baby in arms in one scene near the end, but I'll guess that the author of this movie misery might follow that baby for a few years and find something ugly for it to do.

Pass, pass, pass!

I'm Not There is an ambitious project. I say project rather that movie. Todd Haynes has no film voice. He channels Fellini and Lester and the Maysles satisfactorily, but overdoes them since he has no cinematic muscle of his own. But I like his movie, mostly for its ambition, and much for its performances. The young Black boy is excellent and Cate Blanchett is a tour de force, though her screen time is too extended for what it's worth. But all the actors are good, including the ocassionally maligned Christian Bale and Richard Gere. I just have to wonder why every sequence has to suggest that Bob Dylan's life and career is just one misery after another. Surely a man with his abilities and successes must have have a few good times.

But most importantly there is one scene....a brief, wordless scene at Woody Guthrie's hospital bedside, that owes nothing to nobody except Mr. Haynes and his actors, which is one of the moast beautiful, touching and heart rending scenes I have ever experienced in a movie theater.

When it is available, I do reconmmend the DVD

it's private
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