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.

Thursday, January 31, 2008

The missing notes.

Here is where you'd usually find the 'My Favorite Themes' column for the month. Given the slapdash nature of the last two entries, I've decided to phase this feature out. Instead, every month (maybe twice a month), I will pick a score out of my collection and talk about it. Lord knows I have enough to keep this particular column going for a while, so look for it soon.


Monday, January 28, 2008

Might as well face it...

55%How Addicted to Blogging Are You?


Tuesday, January 22, 2008

"And as if it wasn't enough that he was Jewish and mentally retarded..."

Yep. It's time to go for Oscar Gold. Tee-hee. Anyway...

- The nominees for Best Animated Feature: Ratatouille, Surf's Up and Persepolis. I thought for sure that Bee Movie and The Simpsons Movie would be the other sure-fire contenders to lose to Ratatouille. Go figure.

+ Nominated for the first time are composers Marco Beltrami (3:10 to Yuma) and Michael Giacchino (Ratatouille). I'm pulling for both of them, despite not having heard a note of Yuma.

- American Gangster earned only one nomination...but it was a deserving one (+): Ruby Dee for Supporting Actress. Her scenes with Josh Brolin (strangely not nominated for this or No Country for Old Men) and Denzel Washington were terrific.

+ Javier Bardem picked up a Supporting Actor nod for No Country for Old Men. As essentially an amalgam of the Terminator, the Predator and the boogeyman, his turn in that film was quite memorable.

- You gotta love some of the noodleheads at Ain't It Cool News. Transformers picks up three nods (Sound, Sound Effects Editing and Visual Effects) and no one says anything, but Norbit gets one nod (for Rick Baker's impressive make-up) and all of a sudden, 'Oh, Norbit got an Oscar nomination. The world is ending! Whaaaaaaa!' Seriously, it makes me sick to breathe the same air.

+ Sweeney Todd got just what one would expect (Costume Design, Art Direction) and something I did not (Best Actor - Johnny Depp).

? Lars and the Real Girl earned a nod for Original Screenplay. I heard about the film, but the premise seems a little...out there. The reviewer in my local paper was especially put off by it (** out of four, in case you were wondering).

- Juno is a Best Picture nominee...and, as such, is officially overrated.

- No nod for the genius animated short "How to Hook Up Your Home Theater". If you loved thost 'How-to' Goofy shorts from the '40s and '50s...chances are you've seen and loved it like I have.

+ Three Original Song nominations for Enchanted. One would think that they're in danger of cancelling each other out, just like with Beauty and the Beast in early '92...oh, wait.

Definitely going to be watching the show on February 24th...assuming there's going to be one, of course.


Monday, January 21, 2008

Not necessarily the Oscars.

So the nominations for the Razzies were announced this morning. Talk about an upset. Transformers hardly got a fucking thing! (And, no, I don't count the 'Worst Supporting Actor' nod for Jon Voight, who is also credited for September Dawn, National Treasure: Book of Secrets and - the most likely reason for the nod - Bratz.) The leading nominated films, in addition to Bratz, are I Know Who Killed Me, I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry and Norbit.

One of the nominations for INPYC&L (one can only type out that long-ass title so many times) was for 'Worst Screenplay'. The credited writers are Barry Fanaro (Kingpin) and Alexander Payne & Jim Taylor (Oscar winners for Sideways). I would love to read the Payne/Taylor draft to see what remained before the script was Sandlerized. The resulting film wasn't quite the worst I saw last year (check the third sentence in the first paragraph), but it was rather lazy in its jokes (The guys are showering and someone dropped the soap! Larry's son is engaging in unmasculine activities like musical theater!). If one is going to set out to make a film about gay tolerance, this is the kind of easy humor that any self-respecting filmmaker would do well to avoid. That said, Steve Buscemi and Blake Clark were funny and Kevin James gave a sincere performance.

I never got around to seeing I Know Who Killed Me (though it seems time to re-assess the order of the universe if Lindsay Lohan is playing a stripper in a movie that no one sees), so I'll just talk about Norbit. Not even close to great Eddie Murphy, but I liked it more than INPYC&L. It seems hypocritical to decry a film about easy gay humor and defend one with easy fat humor, but what can you do? The main story is pure cartoon (and not really in a good way), but it's the side bits that make the film. Every moment with Mr. Wong, for good or ill, cracked me up, Eddie Griffin and Katt Williams made for a great team and Terry Crews was, as always, hilarious; the spin he puts on the line "If you hurt my sister, I'm gonna come at you with razor blades and lemon juice!" was, for me, one of the film's highlights.

Getting back to Transformers, I can only wonder if there were flecks of spooge on the screen when the nominating committee was done watching it. I'm just saying. That film would've, could've and should've been a lock.

Personally, if and when I make a movie, I wouldn't mind winning a Razzie. If people can have a strong-enough reaction to something I've done (good or bad), that's enough for me.

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Thursday, January 17, 2008

1-18-08: Monster Mash

Tomorrow sees the release of Cloverfield (or, if the hype machine is any sort of indicator, The Blair Witch's Motherfuckin' Snake Project). In case you managed not to leave the underside of your rock for six months, the film tells the story of a group of young New Yorkers who, at a going-away party for a friend, find that a giant monster is destroying the city. The film is, ostensibly, shot from the point of view of one of the people operating a DV camera. The teaser trailer had people talking and jaws dropping when it premiered before Transformers*. Advance reviews (mainly at Ain't It Cool News) have been hailing this as, more or less, the second coming of genre films. One reviewer even called it "required viewing" (although this selfsame reviewer labelled the criminally underappreciated Stardust "unengaging" and "a crippled bore", but that's neither here nor there).

Am I really the only person unwilling to drink the Kool-Aid?

Now, I look forward to movies same as anyone. If a film catches my fancy, I wait with bated breath to witness it to see if it lives up to its promise. Going by the reviews, the people waiting for Cloverfield seem convinced that this film will cure cancer, end wars and get the writers back to work where they belong. I am forced to ask 'why?'

Honestly, I just don't see why people are drawn to this film. Maybe it's because I have yet to see a Godzilla movie. Maybe the film has, to me, been crushed under the weight of its hype even before its release. Or maybe it's just doesn't look that interesting. Sorry to be that guy, but there it is. Maybe when it premieres on Showtime a year and a half from now (it is a Paramount release, after all), I'll have changed my tune. For now, my ass will not be in a theater seeing this film.

* - That so many people actually paid to see this film defines 'galling' (I had a free pass and some misplaced curiosity). That film is the real-life version of Ass. Look for it to sweep the Oscars in a few weeks.

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Tuesday, January 15, 2008

The films of 2007.

Another year, another bunch of movies to look back at.

My ten favorite movies of 2007:


Runners-up: American Gangster, Ocean's Thirteen, Shoot 'em Up, The Simpsons Movie and Walk Hard: the Dewey Cox Story

My favorite things in movies - 2007:

Albert Brooks as Russ Cargill in The Simpsons Movie

Anton Ego’s monologue about criticism in Ratatouille

The appearance of the flasher in Hairspray...and everything that follows

Barry and Adam's conversations in Bee Movie

Ben Foster in Alpha Dog (not that the rest of the players were slouches, but...seriously, watch the party scene)

The celebrity cameos in Reno 911!: Miami

The chase scene in Death Sentence, especially John R. Leonetti’s cinematography for it

Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely's script for You Kill Me

"Cool beans." - Hot Rod

The creation of the young woman in Stardust

Eddie Murphy as Mr. Wong in Norbit

The fake trailers "Don’t", "Thanksgiving" and "Machete" in Grindhouse...and especially the tagline of the latter: "If you’re gonna hire Machete to kill the bad guy, you’d better make damn sure the bad guy...isn’t you."

The familiar faces that dotted the cinematic landscape of American Gangster, from Bumpy Johnson to the racist government official

Geoffrey Rush in Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End

The gunfights in Shoot 'em Up

Helena Bonham Carter in Sweeney Todd: the Demon Barber of Fleet Street

The innuendo in "Let’s Duet" and the dance moves in the Black nightclub in Walk Hard: the Dewey Cox Story

James Marsden in Hairspray and Enchanted

John Goodman in Death Sentence

Lewis gets acquainted with the titular family in Meet the Robinsons

Movies made of pure fun: Enchanted, Hot Fuzz, Live Free or Die Hard, Ocean’s Thirteen, Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End, Shoot 'em Up, Stardust and Superbad

Names shift around a grid revealing still more names to unsettling Paul Haslinger music - the opening credits of Vacancy

The name of the law firm that Patrick Dempsey works for in Enchanted

Peter Andrews (Steven Soderbergh)' cinematography for Ocean’s Thirteen

Peter Dinklage and Patrick Warburton in Underdog

The post-mortem puppet show in Smokin’ Aces

Roger Deakins’ cinematography for No Country for Old Men

The Sandman’s regeneration in Spider-Man 3

Tom Hollander takes one last walk down the stairs of his ship - Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End

The vicarious thrill of seeing features and trailers the way they once were - Grindhouse

The violence inflicted on Andy Samberg in Hot Rod (I don't hate the guy, but that was freakin' hilarious.)

My basic criteria for this list is stuff that I really liked or really surprised me (or, in rare cases, a mix of both). Here's hoping for more surprises in 2008...and a better way of ending my movie-themed posts than that.


Thursday, January 10, 2008

TV-on-DVD...2008 edition!

To my great surprise and relief, four of my hoped-for television shows were released and/or set for release ("Downtown", "6teen" - in a sense, "Weird Science" and, in a last-minute announcement, "Duckman") in the year since my last such post.

And even more fine shows are coming this year ("Tiny Toon Adventures", "Sam and Max: Freelance Police", "Freakazoid!")...and I didn't even have to list them or take hostages or anything.

However, not all is joyful in Mudville. There are still many fine shows yet to reach the medium of the DVD. In addition to the shows mentioned, yet not released, in last year's post, there's:

The Chimp Channel: From two of the writers behind Freaked (the ones who aren't Alex Winter) came this hilarious TBS show about a television by monkeys. (The set should also included the movie parodies that aired on the net.)

The PJs: Superintendent Thurgood Stubbs presides over the residents of the Hilton-Jacobs projects in this funny stop-motion series from Eddie Murphy. Love that theme song from George Clinton, too.

Raw Toonage: This one-season wonder was essentially a (successful, in my opinion) attempt at sketch-style storytelling from Disney Animation. They would later try again with the equally underrated "Shnookums and Meat Funny Cartoon Show".

Tokyo Pig: A touching (and totally off-the-wall) story of a boy and his pig. Imagine if the dub writers of "Shin-Chan" still managed to be creative and funny within the constraints of a 'TV-Y7' rating. (There's a best-of set out there, but only 30 episodes were produced. How hard can it be to put them all out there?)

Yes, most of these shows are animated. I like cartoons better than live-action. That's not a problem, is it?


Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Winter break.

Though there was the occasional hiccup (overflow of bottles - not all of them clean - and this woman who, I swear to God, asked about reimbursing her for the gas she wasted to return something), this was a pretty good day of work. Credit definitely goes to the weather, which has been unseasonably warm these last couple of days. A side effect of global warming? Who's to say, but I don't miss the snow.

Also, new year, new template. I'm trying to give my posts room to breathe.

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Saturday, January 05, 2008

I don't know about you...

...but this is definitely a time for celebration:

Time to put your down down and thrust your pelvis, hunh!

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Thursday, January 03, 2008

His word is Bond.

I'd hoped that the first post of the new year would've been something meaningful, something life-altering...but I came up short. (Unless you count me missing a bus today, then taking another bus that catches up to the bus I missed, allowing me to board the once-missed bus and saving me from the bitter cold.)

This morning (before the bus situation), I found something really unusual. Hard as it is to believe, the producers of the James Bond franchise, at various times, actually considered American actors to play 007. I don't know if this guy was ever asked, but I cannot imagine a more unlikely choice:

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