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.

Monday, February 25, 2013

"This is just like that time..."

Yeah. I couldn't think of anything else. Sue me.

8:30 "The quest to make Tommy Lee Jones laugh begins now."

8:35 Here's Captain Kirk.

8:38 Loving the "We Saw Your Boobs" number.

8:39 Charlize Theron and Channing Tatum cutting a rug.

8:40 Flight re-enacted with sock puppets. Hilarious.

8:42 "High Hopes" performed by Seth, Harry Potter and the Looper. Pretty good.

8:45 Seth hits on Sally Field...and it works. Weird.

8:46 "Be Our Guest" re-written for the show. Looks like the show is going to start...

8:49 ...with Supporting Actor. The Oscar goes to...Christoph Waltz (1/24)! I'm guessing he's gonna be in a lot more Tarantino movies.

8:56 Paul Rudd and Melissa McCarthy doing voice exercises and it's going on a bit long (did Apatow write this bit?). The Oscar for Best Animated Short Subject goes to..."Paperman" (2/24).

8:59 The Oscar for Best Animated Feature goes to...Brave. Not my top pick, but still, suck it, haters!

9:01 Reese Witherspoon introduces the first three Best Picture nominees.

9:05 The Avengers on stage...most of them, anyway. Looks like Thor and Black Widow were busy. The Oscar for Best Cinematography goes to...Claudio Miranda for Life of Pi. Okay, who's the fucking jinx?! And check out Miranda's hair.

9:08 The Visual Effects Oscar goes to...Life of Pi (3/24). Like I said, the animal effects looked impressive.

9:11 The Jaws theme is the play-off music. Gold!

9:17 The Costume Design Oscar goes to...Jacqueline Durran for Anna Karenina. I should've figured: period piece trumps musical.

9:19 The Oscar for Make-up and Hairstyling (when did they add that?) goes to...Les Miserables (4/24).

9:22 Halle Berry introduces a tribute to Bond.

9:25 Not sure I like the key, but hey, Shirley Bassey is singing "Goldfinger"!

9:32 The Oscar for Best Live Action Short goes to..."Curfew". I was not expecting this.

9:35 The Oscar for Best Documentary Short goes to..."Inocente".

9:38 Liam Neeson introduces the next three Best Picture nominees.

9:44 The Oscar for Best Documentary Feature goes to..."Searching for Sugar Man".

9:50 The Oscar for Best Foreign Film goes to...Amour (5/24). Yep...wait. The guy who did Funny Games is now an Oscar-winner. Merde.

9:55 Catherine Zeta-Jones reprises her Oscar-winning turn as Velma Kelly, performing "All That Jazz" from Chicago. The film didn't deserve Best Picture, but damn, those numbers were electric.

10:00 Jennifer Hudson and "I Am Telling You" from Dreamgirls. No wonder she won.

10:04 An impressive cast performance from Les Miserables.

10:08 Chris Pine and Zoe Saldana (to Goldsmith's Star Trek fanfare; awesome!) mention the separate ceremony for scientific and technical awards.

10:10 Mark Wahlberg and Ted (yes, from the movie). Pretty funny.

10:12 The Sound Mixing Oscar goes to...Les Miserables.

10:16 The Sound Effects Editing Oscar goes to...Zero Dark Thirty and Skyfall (6/24). The first tie since Barbra Streisand and Katharine Hepburn for Best Actress.

10:19 The Von Trapps are gone!

10:21 Christopher Plummer presenting Best Supporting Actress. (Quite a good sport; I don't think he likes Sound of Music.) The Oscar goes to...Anne Hathaway (7/24)! Okay, is it cold in the auditorium or is that how her dress was designed?

10:31 Sandra Bullock presents Best Editing. The Oscar goes to...William Goldenberg for Argo (8/24)! Splendid.

10:35 Adele performs "Skyfall". My opnion has gone from 'meh' to 'it's okay'.

10:44 Nicole Kidman (to "Scene d'Amour" from Vertigo!) introduces the last three Best Picture nominees.

10:47 The Oscar from Production Design goes to...Lincoln? Huh.

10:50 Salma Hayek (Murder on the Orient Express) introduces a segment on the Governor's Ball.

10:57 George Clooney introduces the In Memoriam segment (Out of Africa). Have they ever come back from a commercial and done this. Usually, this precedes a commercial break.

11:01 A nice segue from Marvin Hamlisch to Barbra Streisand singing "The Way We Were".

11:07 The cast of Chicago (minus John C. Reilly) present Original Score. The Oscar goes to...Mychael Danna for Life of Pi.

11:17 The Oscar for Original Song goes to..."Skyfall".

11:23 The Oscar for Adapted Screenplay goes to...Chris Terrio for Argo (9/24)!

11:27 The Oscar for Original Screenplay goes to...Quentin Tarantino for Django Unchained (10/24)! This is just the sort of justice that will inspire me in my own writing.

11:32 Hollywood scions Jane Fonda and Michael Douglas present Best Director. The Oscar goes to...Ang Lee for Life of Pi. Do I smell upset?

11:40 Jean Dujardin presents Best Actress. The Oscar goes to...Jennifer Lawrence for Silver Linings Playbook (11/24). A long way from "The Bill Engvall Show".

11:47 Meryl Streep presents Best Actor. The Oscar goes to...Daniel Day-Lewis for Lincoln (12/24).

11:54 Jack Nicholson (with an assist from Michelle Obama) presents Best Picture. The Oscar goes to...Argo (13/24)! Fantastic.

Well, this was a pretty good ceremony. So, same time next year?


Saturday, February 23, 2013

Pissing in the Oscar pool.


Picture: Argo. a) It's been winning top film honors at several ceremonies and b) It's a damn good movie. The power of film is on full display in this tense thriller. As far as I'm concerned, people badmouthing this movie or challenging its fidelity to the truth just plain hate movies. There, I said it.
Actor: Daniel Day-Lewis. That is all.
Actress: I'm thinking...Jennifer Lawrence.
Supporting Actor: I'm hoping for another win for Christoph Waltz.
Supporting Actress: Anne Hathaway, without a doubt.
Director: I'm going to assume that this has Spielberg written all over it.
Original Screenplay: I'm going to say Zero Dark Thirty, though I quite liked Django Unchained and Moonrise Kingdom.
Adapted Screenplay: Argo.
Editing: The editing in Argo was crisp, especially in the last couple reels.
Cinematography: If I directly say who I want to win, the chances are that he won't. I will say that he shares a first name with the alien on "American Dad" and a last name with the villain in Broken Arrow.
Production Design: For all I know, it's a two-man race between Les Miserables and Lincoln. At the finish line...Les Miz.
Costume Design: Despite the opulence of the Snow White designs, this will also be a triumph for Les Miserables. (BTW, did you know that Lincoln is Joanna Johnston's first nomination? I could've sworn she was already nominated twice.)
Animated Feature: ParaNorman. Best animated feature of last year...and this year, given the (so far) underwhelming offerings yet to come.
Animated Short Subject: "Head Over Heels" was quite impressive, but, as I said, "Paperman" is the popular favorite.
Live-Action Short Subject: Thinking it over, "Death of a Shadow" might walk away with it, being the most imaginative of the bunch.
Foreign Film: I imagine that they'll want to give something to Amour. Why not?
Visual Effects: Life of Pi, surely. The animal effects did look impressive in the previews.
Sound: Somehow, I see this going to Skyfall.
Sound Effects Editing: Likewise.
Make-Up: I've only seen Hitchcock of the nominees. It might win, but I hope that The Hobbit gets passed over. Why? Well, just read.
Original Score: I'd really like Thomas Newman to (finally) capture the prize for his eclectic Skyfall. However, I'm gonna say Argo. The film's gonna get as much as possible and while I thought the score was so-so, it'll be nice to see an Oscar finally go to Alexandre Desplat. I'll just pretend he won for Rise of the Guardians.
Original Song: "Everybody Needs a Best Friend". Charming song, I found "Skyfall" underwhelming and I haven't heard the other nominees.
Documentary Short Subject: Random pick time: "Open Heart".
Documentary Feature: RPT, part 2: "The Invisible War".

Well, tomorrow's the big day. Can't wait.

Friday, February 22, 2013

All of the animated shorts are online, as I mentioned before, and so, I'm catching up on viewing them.

Head Over Heels - The spice having gone out of their marriage, a couple deals with a peculiar living arrangement. This stop-motion short is ceaselessly brilliant in its depiction of the couple's life, leading to a touching finale.

Fresh Guacamole - Need a new guacamole recipe for your upcoming party? Maybe, you'd best look elsewhere. Impressively crafted, even if it leaves you with a distinct feeling of 'whuh?!'. Still, I can certainly see how it received a nomination.

Adam and Dog - Every one knows that a dog is man's best friend, but who knew he was man's first best friend? Beautifully animated (with, to me, traces of anime and Don Bluth) and very heartwarming.

Paperman - A young man's once-in-a-lifetime meeting with a girl might not have to be so once-in-a-lifetime. This strikingly designed short is just as inventive and enchanting as it was when it played before Wreck-It Ralph.

The Longest Daycare - In the midst of a soul-crushing daycare session, Maggie Simpson tries to save a butterfly. Good animation and some good moments, but, much like Maggie's classification, 'nothing special'. Something of a no-hoper compared to the rest of the pack.

"Paperman" is the popular favorite, but if you want to talk upset..."Head Over Heels".


Monday, February 18, 2013

Last week, I caught the program for Best Live Action Short Subject. I'd meant to put this in one post with the nominees for Best Animated Short Subject, but as I've only seen two of them, that will have to wait (they're all online now, though, so look for that soon).

Death of a Shadow (Dood van een Schaduw) - A man's unusual job (photographing the shadows of the deceased for a collector) leads to a turning point. Scores points for originality and emotion; the bittersweet ending works nicely.

Henry - An old man finds that his life with his beloved isn't what it appears to be. Maybe, it was the subject matter, or maybe, I guessed the twist early on, but this just didn't engage me.

Curfew - A suicidal screw-up wouldn't seem to be the ideal choice to watch after a little girl, but... WTF dance sequence aside, a very affecting little story, with fine performances and beautiful night photography.

Buzkashi Boys - Two Afghani boys are fascinated by a peculiar sport. Decent story is given a lift by a nice score and good acting by the youngsters. Best of all is the locale: taking a trip to Afghanistan is an ill-advised decision, but the place looks amazing in this short.

Asad - A South African boy's fishing trip takes an unusual turn. I found this uneven; the boy was quite good and the scenery was nice, but it kind of goes south when he stumbles upon the boat (an attempt at social relevance that fell flat for me). Abrupt ending, too.

If I had to pick one..."Curfew", though it'll likely go to "Buzkashi Boys", which I'm okay with.


Thursday, February 14, 2013

Lost in the stacks. (Irresistible)

I love comic books. I've been collecting for roughly the last decade. However, I'm not drawn toward traditional titles. Somehow, I gravitate toward limited-run titles. These comics, more often than not, fall through the cracks and are forgotten, lost to time. This column aims to shine a light on these titles and, hopefully, make them some new fans...or draw out the old ones.

Ah, love. Is there a stronger or more intangible emotion in existence? What is it that draws two people together and compels them to share their lives and souls with each other? Also, how can one tell the difference between love and lust? What seperates a desire to spend one's life with someone else from a desire for a couple of hours of sin? If you couldn't tell by now, I am still single. Of course, given the events of this title, maybe it's for the best.

Allen Keeg is a sick man, inasmuch that he's afflicted with that most common of ailments: a broken heart. Despite the fact that his ex, Leigh, gave him his walking papers, he still can't help calling her up in the vain hope for a second chance. One night, Allen rescues an old woman from a mugging. It turns out that the old woman is a Gypsy and, faster than you can say 'no good deed goes unpunished', Allen is a babe magnet, humping and dumping every skirt within breathing distance.

It's basically that one episode of "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" taken to dark (hey, this is a Zenescope title) extremes. At first, this is a very good thing (personally, I fail to see how it wouldn't be a good first). But when you have girls beating each other up for you or breaking into your place and spilling their blood for you, the 'oh, shit!' meter goes up to 11.

If this were all to the narrative, "Irresistible" would feel a little thin. Eventually, the history of the Gypsy comes to light, making for the craziest aspect of the comic, by far. (This is prefaced by an amusing revelation about her muggers.) There was something of a problem, though: it's a little hard to sympathize with Allen. Even before embarking on the desperate path to rid himself of this curse, it's a little sad (in more ways than one) to see Allen bitching about Leigh, knowing full well that she's moved on. Maybe, it's true to life, but give me a break.

One thing I was a little surprised with/disappointed at: no relatives for Allen (i.e. an aunt or estranged mother; seriously, how could such a scene not write itself?). Some may frown at the endorsement of incest, but considering the ever-darker nature of the story, writer Raven Gregory may as well have said, 'why the hell not?'.

Even with the insanity that this title sinks to, the art remains enjoyable throughout (hey, this is a Zenescope title); the scenery is lush and the women are suitably gorgeous.

Overall, "Irresistible" will keep you curious about how it resolves itself, though I wouldn't exactly call it a 'must-get'; more of a 'must-read-on-the-racks'.

Grade: B-


Monday, February 11, 2013

"ReBoot!": Europe's Most Wanted

Timecop - Special agents monitor the time stream and keep people from futzing around with time for their own gain. Maybe, I'm just fascinated by time travel stories, but we need another version of this story, not so much to supplant the 1994 Jean-Claude Van Damme movie (really, it's one of his better vehicles) or the short-lived 1997 TV series. We just need, in my view, something (movie, comic book, what have you) every 7-10 years. It's an awesome idea that deserves to be kept fresh in people's minds.

The Invention of Lying - In a world where everyone can only be brutally honest with each other, one man finds that he has the ability to lie and uses it to his advantage. The first half of this movie is one of the most underrated comedies of recent memory...then it gets bogged down in rom-com nonsense and flies off the rails. Too bad. A revamp of this movie could answer some intriguing questions about how we relate to each other...and speaking of questions, I think we could do with some kind of explanation about how Mark (Ricky Gervais) was even able to suddenly lie (so far, all I have is 'genetic anomaly').

Wild Wild West - All right, it's been thirteen and a half years. Let's just admit that there were some good things about Barry Sonnenfeld's would-be blockbuster: the costumes, the production design, Elmer Bernstein's score (you hear that, Agony Booth?!), "Shoot him in the head.", Kevin Kline (but then, when is he not good?), the back-and-forth between West and Loveless... However, the sex jokes just kill the film on its feet. The 60s TV series was a pretty neat idea: James Bond in the Old West. Pretty simple. Why not do that?


Tuesday, February 05, 2013

Movie 43, Critics 16.

Welp, once again, people have a lot to answer for. Maybe, my standards are a little askew (did I mention that one of my favorite movies is Hudson Hawk?), but when a movie gets reviews like 'D-' and 'The Citizen Kane of awful', it's not unreasonable to expect a massive train wreck.

Movie 43 was not that train wreck. Not even close. No, it's not the film from the beginning of this year that will eventually be re-evaluated as pretty damn good (that's Gangster Squad; deal with it, haters), but I didn't regret the least, not entirely. As with sketch movies (cf. Amazon Women on the Moon), some segments work better than others and that was certainly the case here.

Let me break it down:

The Pitch - A screenwriter (Dennis Quaid, who does unhinged well) grows ever more desperate in pitching to a studio exec (Greg Kinnear). This wraparound story has its peaks and valleys, but it doesn't come together and it doesn't so much end as stop.

The Catch - A problem that one could justifiably lob at the segments is that there is only one joke to them. That's certainly the case here, as no one but Kate Winslet notices the scrotum hanging from Hugh Jackman's neck. I did chuckle a bit, but pretty meh, overall.

Home Schooled - Naomi Watts and Liev Schreiber tell their neighbors about giving their homeschooled son the full high school experience. If I had to choose a favorite segment, it's this one, hands down. Good gags and fine work by Watts and Schreiber.

The Proposition - Chris Pratt fields a very odd request from fiancee (and real-life sweetheart) Anna Faris. Some chuckles en route to its predictably explosive ending.

Veronica - The very private conversation between store clerk Neil (Kieran Culkin) and his girlfriend Veronica (Emma Stone) becomes very public one night in the store. Even with the bawdy nature of their talk, there's a surprising sweetness to this segment and Culkin and Stone have a nice chemistry.

iBabe - The braintrust behind the latest in listening devices does damage control on their product. Neither good nor bad. It's just there.

Super Hero Speed Dating - One-joke time again: The Douche Knight (Jason Sudeikis) cock-blocks his ward (Justin Long). I did like the (possibly unintentional) sideways reference to My Super Ex-Girlfriend: Lois Lane (Uma Thurman) is being stalked by Superman (Bobby Cannavale). I couldn't help but murmur, 'now you know how it feels'.

Middle School Date - Amanda (Chloe Grace Moretz) has her first period, but her friend (Jimmy Bennett) and his brother (Christopher Mintz-Plasse) have no idea how to handle it. Definitely one of the better segments, if only for just how dense the male characters are about Amanda's plight.

Happy Birthday - Now, it seems that them Duke boys (you know, from the movie) wrangled themselves a leprechaun and they want his pot of gold. Over-the-top in its language and violence...and yet, I did laugh, especially at the last scene.

Truth or Dare - A blind date escalates into something more for Halle Berry and Stephen Merchant. Just as over-the-top, but not as funny.

Victory's Glory - It's 1959 and, just before a big game, an African-American basketball team gets a pep talk from their coach (Terrence Howard). Another one-joke story, but the joke here is a decent one. The final gag is a good one.

Beezil - You can't accuse this movie of saving the best for last. An animated cat loves its owner (Josh Duhamel) - I mean, really loves him - but hates his girlfriend (Elizabeth Banks). A major disappointment from the writer/director of Super.

Just so we're clear, I didn't think this movie was so bad. (It's a 'C' or 'C+', at best.) I mean, I wouldn't recommend it to people, but they shouldn't be too offended if someone else recommends it to them. If people still wish to hold this film up as an example of badness, just take a look at these titles:

InAPPropriate Comedy. Identity Thief. Scary Movie 5. These are but a few of the comedies that will see release in the next few months. If even one of them is considered a step up from Movie 43, Heaven help the genre...and us all.

Labels: ,

Sunday, February 03, 2013

I don't know where my desire to plan things originated. High school? College? Beats the hell out of me.

I just know that, whenever I get a spare moment at work, I map out what I'm going to do on my day(s) off and how much I plan to spend. Maybe this owes to my frustrations in life, since my plans don't always turn out the way I want them to (like something I want to buy isn't available).

Still, planning is very healthy; could you imagine going on a trip to another city and not preparing ahead of time? Sooner or later, badges will go on sale for San Diego Comic-Con and (damn the expense!) I want to go. Of course, I'll have to plan for that and if, for some reason, I miss out on the badges, I'll be taking a trip to Toronto for Fan Expo Canada.

In either instance, I will certainly have to plan for what happens and what I might like to purchase while I'm there.

More immediately, I have a big day planned for Tuesday, wherein I plan to see Movie 43 and determine if it's really as toxic as everyone makes it sound (so far, I'm

Labels: , ,