Tuesday, December 27, 2005

good evening...

I hope the holiday season is treating you well.

I picked up this horror movie at Best Buy today, with the $15 giftcard I had. I searched high and low for something halfway decent. I was uncertain at first but then remembered that I'd heard great things about this early '80s slasher. Word has it that it's got great atmosphere and lensing and is a truly great horror film. Fangoria and The Horror Channel both gave it rave reviews. I also want to pick up the 1982 Jack Palance/Donald Pleasance/Martin Landau horror film Alone In The Dark, directed by Jack Sholder, who made the very excellent The Hidden in 1987. Morningwood's debut album is released in a week or so, as is Jenny Lewis's solo CD Rabbit Fur Coat. Thankfully, I get paid this Friday. Hopefully, the holiday pay will help my pocket money.

For Christmas I received a very nice long-sleeved white shirt from my sister (from Old Navy) plus an awesome brown jacket, Candies cologne, boxers, and sparklers (it's an inside joke; I'll explain it some time). Her friend Toni got me a tin full of homemade goodies (chocolate-covered peanut butter crackers, cookies, etc.) plus a Christmas card that had a book of Carmike Cinemas gift certificates inside - worth $25. My father dropped off a Christmas card when I was at work the other day. A $50 bill was inside; after having to spend it on food while I worked and then I treated my mother and myself to a very tasty appetizer at Chili's, it was soon gone. Oh well.

All in all, it was a very nice holiday.

I watched Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Price and Videodrome last night. What a great double feature. The documentary needs to be seen by every single person. Everytime I hear someone mention they got something at Wal-Mart, it sickens me. We haven't shopped there in more than five years and will continue not shopping there. I will aggressively promote this thing, as I did before I rented it last night.

What can be said of David Cronenberg's Videodrome that has not already been voiced? It's a mind-bending odyssey of one man's total self-destruction as he surrenders himself to the blinding brilliance of the flickering television screen. Or is it? You can never really tell, and James Woods is stellar in the lead role. I still think I like Cronenberg's video game/VR analysis eXistenZ more but Videodrome is still aces all around.

We picked this up at Target while getting a few items for the house. Mom received a $50 giftcard for the store from Toni for Christmas. My sister Samantha got her Betty Boop pajama bottoms, a Dr. Scholl's massaging backpad, socks, and we got a brand new cordless phone, with embdedded caller ID. We needed a new phone badly; the old one was cordless but unless one pressed the star key before dialing you'd get a rotary sound as the number was dialed.

But I digress.

Eugenides' novel is purported to be a master work. I certainly hope so as I've tried to read the opening passage when I've seen it in stores at various other times but it didn't gel for me. Here's hoping another whack at it will result in a warm experience.

Syriana is a four-star film. Expect a review in the next fortnight. At first I thought Stephen Gaghan would end this thing with something terribly maudlin but then soon realized Syriana had no other way to end but how it did - the wheels keep turning, as we all know.

Lasagna and garlic bread await me.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

off to Best Buy!

Hey you! Yeah, you! Get your ass in gear and go pick up the best film of the year! I'm heading out to grab a bite to eat and pick up Serenity at Best Buy. Then at 4PM I'll be heading over to Robin's apartment where I'll unleash this awesome film upon her and her husband.

I'm off tomorrow also...and I WILL be seeing Syriana, dammit! Mark my words!

Monday, December 19, 2005

#1 on Amazon.com, baby!!! Yeah!!!

Tomorrow you can bring home the best movie of the year, as Universal Home Entertainment releases Serenity, the big-screen follow-up to Joss Whedon's unjustly cancelled FOX television series Firefly, which aired in 2002.

I was going to use the $15 Best Buy giftcard I have on this but my mother informed me that this is one of my Christmas gifts so that was pretty cool. We'll be getting up bright and early to go pick this up as I'm off tomorrow...and Wednesday. I'll post my thoughts on the extras and the DVD in its entirety. I also plan to hang out at Robin's and watch this over there, as she's not seen it and I most definitely want to see and hear her reaction to the film as it's running. She won't know WHAT hit her.

The Golden Globes are an interesting lot...I think Brokeback Mountain is going to clean up and it was no slouch at the box office this past weekend, taking in $2.2 million from only 69 theatres!

I've successfully hooked my mother on Veronica Mars! Disc 4 of Season One arrived from Netflix arrived today and I mailed back Disc 3 earlier today. Two more left. I also am able to rent at work, as my exorbitant account balance at work has been paid. I rented Danny Boyle's dark family film Millions and the Dark Castle Entertainment-produced House of Wax. I'm not expecting much but any movie in which we get to see a character played by Paris Hilton killed is pretty cool.

Arrested Development. It looks like there may just be a bidding war between ABC and Showtime over the series! Whoever wins, I sincerely hope they buckle down for the long run and pair this show with something great. A block of Weeds (and Mary-Louise Parker better win that Golden Globe!) and AD would be heaven. I truly think that Arrested Development can become a beloved institution, much like the very overrated Seinfeld.

I saw King Kong Saturday night. WOW. It was a great film, full of passion and wonderous beauty. It wasn't as great as the hype but then again nothing is. Go see this thing on the big screen; it deserves to be seen in that type of exhibition. The special effects are truly amazing. At no point in time do you think of King Kong as just another CGI creation - it feels like you are watching a very large silverback gorilla on screen.

I still need to see Syriana and will do so ASAP. Hopefully we'll get a few more arthouse flicks before the end of the year and many more after.

Chicken and dumplings is the dinner tonight. Yum.

Behold...the funniest damn thing I've seen on Saturday Night Live in at least five years. It's 'An SNL Digital Short' starring SNL cast member Chris Parnell and Featured Player Andy Samberg. The title of the short is "Lazy Sunday". Enjoy.

'An SNL Digital Short' - "Lazy Sunday"

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Veronica Mars-athon in progress...

I just stopped for a second to do some web-browsing.

At work, we had our annual holiday party at 9AM. I received this...

Our gift exchange is called "Chinese Christmas" by our manager. You most likely saw it referred to as "Yankee Swap" on last week's hilarious episode of The Office. A co-worker received a Gumby and a Pokey doll. Then I came home at 10AM, ate two bowls of Yogurt Burst Cheerios - Vanilla and quite yummy -, then slept from 12:30PM-4PM as I'd only had 2 hours of sleep.

I returned the Dane Cook CD I'd bought with my birthday money. The supervisor would only give me store credit. So I now have a $15 Best Buy giftcard. I may just save that to get Serenity on the 20th.

I watched Fantastic Four last night. It was an enjoyable film and not as horrible as everyone made it seem.

On Tuesday, my movie geek badge gets shinier and my love for film is intensified even more, as the awards season officially arrives with the announcement of the nominees for the...

Kate Beckinsale, Steve Carell and Mark Wahlberg will announce 2006 Golden Globe Awards nominations

Kate Beckinsale, Steve Carell and Mark Wahlberg will join Hollywood Foreign Press Association President Philip Berk in announcing the nominations for the 63rd Annual Golden Globe Awards at a 5:00 a.m. (PST) press conference on Tuesday morning, December 13, 2005.

Nominations will be announced in 24 categories. More than 400 media and publicists from around the world will attend the event Numerous radio and television outlets will carry the live announcements from the Beverly Hills Suite at the Beverly Hilton. The nominations press release will be distributed immediately following the announcement to media in attendance and via online at www.hfpa.org. As previously announced, Anthony Hopkins is this year’s recipient of the Cecil B. DeMille Award for lifetime achievement. Dakota Johnson, age 16, the daughter of Melanie Griffith and Don Johnson, is the 2006 Miss Golden Globe. She is the first daughter of a former Miss Golden Globe to ever be selected.

The 63rd Annual Golden Globe Awards will take place Monday, January 16, 2006 at the Beverly Hilton Hotel with a live telecast airing on NBC at 8 PM (EST) and produced by dick clark productions in association with the Hollywood Foreign Press Association. Philip Berk is President of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association. Allen Shapiro and Barry Adelman are executive producers. Chris Donovan is director. Al Schwartz is consulting producer. Ken Shapiro is producer. Ron Weed is co-producer.

Advance word is that Brokeback Mountain is going to clean up. It's already won the Los Angeles Film Critics Association's Best Film and Best Director awards. I'd personally like to see Jenna Fischer get nominated and take home the Golden Globe for Best Actress In A Comedy Series as her role as Pam on NBC's The Office is pitch-perfect. And c'mon Golden Globes! You've GOT to give Kristen Bell an award for Best Actress In A Drama Series for Veronica Mars. There's simply no better actress in a dramatic series right now.

I'm off Tuesday so I may just get up early and watch the nominations live. Or have my best friend TiVo nab the Today show that morning. And if you have TiVo and you think it's NOT your best friend, then you are just so sad. Does a human friend always have new episodes of your favorite television series? I thought not.

Speaking of TiVo, SCI FI's miniseries The Triangle waits, as does their 2-hour movie Painkiller Jane. It's based on a 1995 comic book about a young woman who gains the power to heal quickly, along with increased strength and speed. The delectable Emmanuelle Vaugier (Saw II) stars. If it did well ratings-wise SCI FI will pick this up as a weekly series.

Friday, December 09, 2005

A legend was silenced...

(And for those of you who say it was 25 years ago yesterday...whatever...I was running late for work and couldn't post earlier)

John Lennon



When I was schlepping through the microcosm of middle school, going from class to class, one thing was a constant: the music of The Beatles. I became immersed in their lyrics, their life stories, the basic DNA of each member. While I enjoyed the music and wore out many Beatles t-shirts, only John Lennon stood out to me. As Paul wore out the songwriting lexicon of love until it was threadbare, John grew from writing the same type of wistful romantic tunes into a master wordsmith who married genius composition with smart, literate lyricism.

Listen to "Strawberry Fields Forever". Listen to "I'm So Tired". Listen to "I'm A Loser". "Yer Blues" is a powerful blast of raw energy. Then you get to his post-Beatles music. Just utter brilliance. "Working Class Hero" should be the national anthem. Of course we all know the big ones: "Imagine", "Instant Karma (We All Shine On), "Give Peace A Chance", and the annual "Happy Xmas (War Is Over)", never more timely than now.

To just think of all of the great music we've been denied, the political activism John would have been a part of, really makes us miss him even more. Five bullets severed our tie to one of the most commanding and real musicians of this or any century. John Lennon is gone; through his music, his writings and his words he will continue to inspire the mind and inflame the soul.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

well...alot's happened....

My mother is in the hospital. She had an infected ant bite on the front of her left leg and as she's diabetic, they wanted to admit her in order to pump her full of antibiotics and insulin. They lanced the bite, dug a small inflamed cyst out of the wound, packed it with gauze, and took a culture of the pus inside. She's been in there since Friday and HOPEFULLY they'll let her come home tomorrow. I've visited her twice with my sister, the latest being about six o'clock tonight. I've been feasting upon fast food and my birthday money is all but gone.

Hopefully I can return the Dane Cook CD I mistakenly purchased (I'd heard most of the material on the CD, unknown by me) so I can have some extra cash. I also have to purchase a small, under-$10 gift for our Christmas party at work. The theme is toy so I'm leaning towards a yo-yo. I also want to see Syriana, Aeon Flux (which was scheduled to be my birthday movie), and The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe. I'd also like to see Keira Knightley in Pride and Prejudice before it leaves our area. And then there's, of course, King Kong on the 14th. This is the time of year when the good movies come out and I sincerely hope that we get some indie films in a timely manner. Plus there's the $26 balance on my account at work, which is partially Mom's fault as she wanted sodas late last week.

I've got Fantastic Four due to arrive tomorrow from Netflix. I've heard it's great popcorn fare and I shall treat it as such. I've also got sleeper cell, Showtime's new terrorism-related series to watch on TiVo, along with part one of SCI FI's The Triangle miniseries (produced by Dean Devlin, who produced Independence Day and Bryan Singer, director of both X-Men films andThe Usual Suspects). The cast includes Catherine Bell, Eric Stoltz, Sam Neill, and Lou Diamond Phillips. The Triangle debuted to stellar ratings last night, with 4.3 million viewers.

X-Men 3 Official Teaser Trailer

Click the poster to see the official teaser trailer for the Brett Ratner-helmed X-Men 3. I don't care how this trailer looks; I will not watch this movie. Ratner is a hack of the very worst kind and his movies always sacrifice competent storytelling for loud, dumb, garish action. This breaks my heart as X-Men was the one comic book I read religiously in elementary school. If Fox had simply waited, Bryan Singer would have been more than happy to make this film. But Tom Rothman and the morons at Fox are impatient morons, so in order to be truly petulant they wanted to beat Singer's Superman Returns to the theater. Whatever. I'll entertain myself with seeing Singer's film and various other films this summer. It truly doesn't matter what I say - the slack-jawed willfully ignorant masses will line up in droves, not caring that a hack with all the directing ability of a coffee table is behind the camera. Let them deaden their minds for two hours. I'll not suffer that fate.

Dominion: Prequel To The Exorcist was brilliant. It told a stripped-down, articulate story of one man's lack of faith and how he is tested and begins to believe in his convictions and beliefs after feeling like he has no purpose. Stellan Skarsgard was masterful and Schrader's direction was strong and true. One of the best films of the year, Dominion doesn't rely on shock scares and copious gore to convey its frightening notion that evil can be found anywhere, and that it's not always clearly defined as horror films usually present.

So I think I'm going to break out the summer sausage, the cheese ball, and the cracked pepper-flavored crackers (we got those at Fresh Market....oh my God! What a place! Fresh meat, fresh fruit, fresh *everything*!) in a minute.

More later of course...I'm off tomorrow then work Thursday-Saturday, 3:30-close. I hope to cram in many hours of TiVo-watching between now and then. I've also promised to tape the new season of Desperate Housewives for a co-worker who I hooked on the show. She's the same one I hooked on Firefly. Yep, she bought a copy of the show as well. Sadly, she missed Serenity in the theater but she's promised to throw a shindig at her and her husband's on the 20th when the DVD is released.

Your homework is this....


Lead singer Chantal Claret leads this band. They produce a sound that can veer from punk-sounding explosion to infectious pop-rock. Their debut CD, released by Capitol Records, is coming out January 10th and I can't wait. I haven't fallen in love with a band in a long time. I still need to pick up Tegan and Sara's So Jealous CD. Hell, I'm a White Stripes fan and Get Behind Me Satan is still not in my possession! Anyway, pick up Morningwood's CD. You won't regret it. To get a feel for them, here's music videos for "Jetsetter" and "Nth Degree", the first single from their upcoming CD.

Click here to rock the fuck out.