Mr. Cellophane

In a location adjacent to a place in a city of some significance, what comes out of my head is plastered on the walls of this blog.

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

My Favorite Themes - Part XVI

Score: The Howling by Pino Donaggio (Dressed to Kill)

About the film: Traumatized by an attack by a mad killer, news reporter Karen White (Dee Wallace) goes with her husband to a retreat known as The Colony to recover, little dreaming that danger awaits her there, as well. Alternately scary and amusing, this film features astounding transformation effects from (then 19-year-old) Rob Bottin and all the in-jokes one would expect from a Joe Dante film.

Title: "Karen's Anxiety". An ingenious see-sawing string motif augmented with celeste, electronics and Donaggio's trademark weird voices that pretty well captures the fear faced by the heroine ("The Howling", "Eddie Lives Again").

Other themes of interest: This is a score more driven by mood than melody, though it's a fantastic mood, with several tracks evoking fright ("Run for Your Life!") and (surprisingly) heartbreak ("Welcome to the Colony"). The only other theme to speak of is a fine folksy melody for "The Colony", best heard in "Doctor's Orders" and in the "End Credits", as well as a slow rendition in "Terry and Karen". (Interestingly, the weird synth music that begins "Hunting for Shadows" is reconfigured into the amusing "Channel 6 Update News Theme".)

Availability: Damned if those guys at La La Land Records haven't done it again.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

"Here's how we'll stop the war!"

Just thought I'd post this. Happy birthday to one of the funniest freakin' guys out there:

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Oscar, Oscar, Oscar...

So the Academy Award nominations were announced. A few random thoughts:

+ Monster House was nominated for Best Animated Feature. As I consider it the best animated feature I saw last year (and I saw quite a few), I will be pulling for it.

- There were only three slots for said category, leaving in the cold such worthy potential nominees as Curious George and Flushed Away.

- Stranger than Fiction was shut out completely. No Best Picture. No Original Screenplay. No Best Actor. Now that I think about it, I don't think I should be too surprised about the latter. Comic actor wows audiences and critics with sensitive portrayal, proving that, yes, he can act. This was truly Will Ferrell's Truman Show, and I wouldn't mind him taking on more roles like this.

- Nothing for Thank You for Smoking, either. I assure you, if this film had been released closer to the end of the year, Aaron Eckhart and Jason Reitman's screenplay would've been surefire nominees.

+ This marks the second time in three years that I ended up seeing two Best Picture nominees: Little Miss Sunshine and The Departed (In 2004, I saw Finding Neverland and Sideways.) Matter of fact, Scorcese was nominated for Best Director again. They better get it right this time.

+ Mark Wahlberg was also nominated. His performance was one of The Departed's finest. If only for his first scene in the film, this is a very deserving nomination.

- Click was nominated for Best Make-Up. I've seen better this year. X-Men: the Last Stand, for one.

+ Somehow, I had a feeling that cinematographer Wally Pfister would be recognized for The Prestige.

- No Best Song nomination for the terrific "You Know My Name" from Casino Royale.

? Borat earned a Best Adapted Screenplay nod. I have no idea how to react to that.

That's pretty much all I have to say about this...until the winners are announced. And, yes, the post title was warranted.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

That's news to me.

I'm out shopping and on the way out, I glance at the headline on the front page of the local newspaper. 'Beloved celebrity passes away'? No. 'World's tallest building celebrates an anniversary'? No. 'President rubs one out; forgets to use napkin'? No, nothing like that. The headline in my local paper, on the front fucking page, reads thusly:

TV's popular team gets mean

Yes, it's an "American Idol" story on the front page. I could possibly imagine if one of the contestants had been arrested/killed/caught in a compromising position with balloon animals that space on the front page would be merited, but all this does is draw the eye away from real news.

Now, I certainly know of the show, but I don't watch "American Idol". I'm straight, for one thing. For another, it's just another dumb-ass reality show, only more popular than most.

This is but one more snowflake to instigate an avalanche. Mike Judge was so right, it's not even fuckin' funny.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

If a tree falls...

Took my road test yesterday. Things were going so well...then, while making a three-point turn, I backed into a tree. That pretty much wrecked my chances at success.

So, it would seem that I just need to do what I did yesterday without backing into anything next time. I'm pretty sure I can do that.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

My last list of the month.

I promise. Actually, that should be 'lists'. Whatever.

As I'm sure I've mentioned, I love movies. I hope that I get to make my own some day, but for now, I'd like to talk about the movies of others, particularly from last year.

If the longer of the lists looks familiar, it is purely by design, and should it ever somehow get back to the guy off of whom I'm ripping the structure, I just want him to know that if I have to be sued by someone in my life, I'm glad it's him.

My top ten favorite movies of 2006:


Runners-up: Dave Chappelle's Block Party, Deja Vu, Flushed Away, An Inconvenient Truth and Little Miss Sunshine

My favorite things in movies - 2006:

The animation of (and Frank Welker’s vocals for) the title character in Curious George

The clip from the “Futurama” episode “Crimes of the Hot” in An Inconvenient Truth

Daniel Craig in Casino Royale (well, just about everything in that movie, but mainly him)

Danny Elfman’s score for Nacho Libre

The disassembled/reassembled car scene in the trailer of The Covenant, one of the coolest things I’ve seen all year

Emma Thompson in Nanny McPhee and Stranger Than Fiction

The end credits montage of Cars

The ensemble casts of A Prairie Home Companion and Thank You for Smoking (Note: I really love ensemble casts.)

Everything Randal (Jeff Anderson) says in Clerks II, especially in his conversations with Elias (Trevor Fehrman)

The fight and stunt choreography in Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest

“God is in the rain.” - a truly gorgeous mix of music, cinematography and acting from V for Vendetta

“Hit me!” - Dave Chappelle’s Block Party

The hotel room brawl in Borat

“I don’t know where he’s not.” - the trailer of Shrek the Third

“Is it time to crash the wedding?” - Date Movie

Mark Wahlberg and Alec Baldwin in The Departed

Michael Caine in The Prestige

Neveldine/Taylor’s direction of Crank

Olive’s routine in Little Miss Sunshine

The one-foot-in-the-present, one-eye-on-the-past car chase in Deja Vu

Russell Gewirtz’s Taking of Pelham One Two Three-like script for Inside Man

Sid meets the mini-sloths in Ice Age: the Meltdown

The strategic voice cameo in X-Men: the Last Stand

That line in Snakes on a Plane (shame on those who have to ask what it is)

Three words: Rebecca...Romijn...naked - X-Men: the Last Stand (I am a very petty man. I know.)

The tour of the Kazakhstani village in Borat

Virtually all of Monster House

“…you can be smart every day.” - 16 Blocks

If nothing else, I managed to achieve one of my resolutions last year by seeing over 30 movies (thirty-five, in case you were wondering). I hope to break that record this year. Now, I just need the overall quality to be better than last year.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

New Year's resolutions.

Because I've nothing better to do, because I'd like to have a reminder of what I need to improve in my life and, most of all, because I know no one reads this blog, here are my ten resolutions for the new year:

Finish my screenplays: I have most of them mapped out in my head and at least two of them have twenty pages done already. Why have I not finished them? I could post any old excuse, but for now, I'm going with 'laziness'. Even though I said this last year, I'd like to think that I mean it for this year: I'm headin' for Tinseltown and making my name. Fortunately, screenwriting isn't the only thing I know how to do.

Leave town: With the exception of excursions to family reunions and the occasional class trip in childhood, I've never really seen beyond my hometown. Given that I've outgrown my current job and I've no non-family relationships to speak of, I truly believe that there's nothing for me here. There's bound to be something - anything - out there for me.

Lose my virginity: Like I said, no one reads this, so who am I really exposing myself to? And while I'm being so frank, I could have said 'get a girlfriend' or 'kiss a girl', but I just wanna cut to the chase.

Obtain driver's license: This one may have the highest chance of succeeding, barring anymore retarded loophole rules. Besides, what of those drivers who drive the wrong way down one-way streets? Even with my shortcomings, I'm way superior to those jerkoffs.

Stop caring about people other than myself: This may sound selfish, but it's really not. Really. It's putting others' emotions and feelings before my own that keeps me from being happy; truly feeling free. I sever that and half the fear in my life is history.

Be more vocal: This ties into the last one. Part of putting other people ahead of myself is withholding my true thoughts about society at large. People may not like what I have to say, which is all the more reason why it has to be said. A lot of this stuff is usually stated sotto voce. I think it's about time I raised my voice about things.

Travel the country: Taking its cue from two other resolutions, I've never seen this great land of ours; never taken in the sights, the people, the tourist attractions and tourist traps. Who knows how long I have on this planet?!

Find out what's wrong with me: No doubt about it, I need to see a shrink. With my emotional issues, I need someone who can really figure out what makes me tick. At this stage, money is no object, especially if he or she can deliver results.

Try new things: Stand up for a weaker individual. Spit off of a freeway overpass. Dine and dash. The possibilities are infinite.

Take more risks: Similar to the previous one? Not totally. I'm what one would call a guy who plays it safe. Someone who takes the path of least resistance. Who's to say if taking a harsher road would lead to improvements in my life? Couldn't hurt to try.

Who knows if I will really get these things taken care of? It's possible, if not conceivable.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

TV-on-DVD round-up.

I know that this would usually be when I post my potential resolutions for the year, but I only have nine so far (I really would like to get to ten). Instead, here's another top ten list I hope to achieve in the next year.

I watch a lot of television, and I hope for a lot of the shows I watch to hit DVD. I'd been hoping for a release of "The Drew Carey Show" and lo and behold... And "MXC" was a true surprise. Here are the shows I would like to see on DVD this year:

The Angry Beavers: The show took a while to find it's footing, and I can only hope that the first season sells well enough to get the later years on DVD. Not that the first season's a wash; episodes like "Deranged Ranger" and "Born to Be Beavers" have their charms, but the later years took a lot of the stuff found here (references to cheesy 50s horror, banter between the brothers, Norb elongating his words) and turned it up to eleven, making it one of Nickelodeon's best ever shows.

Downtown: From "Beavis and Butthead" and "Daria" veteran Chris Prynoski came this enjoyable, well-done animated series. With its real cast of young adults and good writing, I dare say it's MTV's best cartoon. (Yeah, you "Celebrity Deathmatch" disciples can suck it.)

Duckman: I don't think I need to elaborate, given how much I've whined about wanting this show in the past.

Fantasy Island: Even though its Saturday night time slot doomed it, I think that this revamp (from co-producer Barry Sonnenfeld, fresh off of Men in Black) is fantastic, with sharp writing, Malcolm McDowell giving Mr. Roarke a delightfully cruel edge, and a catchy theme from John (The Usual Suspects) Ottman.

Roundhouse: Back when Saturday nights were worth watching on Nickelodeon, there was this uproarious sketch comedy show. All the talented cast needed was one set, a cardboard TV frame and a mobile easy chair to create magic. Nothing more to say than...reprise the theme song and roll the credits.

Sheep in the Big City: This entertainingly low-key Cartoon Network series about a...well, sheep in the big city was packed with colorful characters and dazzling wordplay. Free of the trendy toilet humor and pointless character humiliation of today's cartoons, we may never see the likes of it again...all the more reason why it must be preserved.

6teen: No, several discs with only three episodes each does not count. I'm talking season sets, baby! This quirky Canadian cartoon about a group of friends toiling in mall jobs deserves so much better.

Student Bodies: Speaking of quirky Canadian cartoons...this show mixed amusing live-action with animation to make for an engaging program.

Toonsylvania: Long before anyone at Dreamworks Animation had heard the name Shrek, there was this unusual but hilarious series, with zombies, nasty little girls and the Frankenstein legend filtered through the sensibilities of "Eek! the Cat" co-creator/performer Bill Kopp.

Weird Science: I can only assume that it's the nostalgia talking when people say they prefer the movie, but I gotta say the show was better. Well-written and well-performed by John Mallory Asher, Michael Manasseri, Lee Tergesen and the insanely sexy Vanessa Angel.

Here's hoping for some good news about these shows.