22 September 2006
  streep in another "classic" devil movie

  summer in review: the devil wears prada

i forgot to add this movie in my post yesterday as one more component in the summer of madonna, but it does sort of tangentially apply. prada prominently features two madonna songs, "vogue" and "jump," and all of the promotional materials (website, trailers, etc.) were highlighted by the former. in fact, it was because "jump" was being played in the trailer that i was so anxious to see it in the first place. but it turned out to be a surprisingly good flick in its own right.

when i went to see this movie, i was having a super bad day, and just wanted to get out of the house and watch something inane to get my mind off things. i thought prada would be a sort of fun, funny, chick flick that, at the very least, i could make fun of. that was sort of how it was reviewed (for the most part), but i actually think the reviewers missed the mark on this one. i thought it was surprisingly insightful and entertaining all at the same time.

prada reminded me of legally blonde or 10 things i hate about you: movies packaged in a sort of vapid exterior that, through good writing, storytelling and acting emerge as larger than the sum of their parts. on the surface this is a movie about a beautiful woman who isn't attractive enough (lol) to work in the fashion industry but nevertheless chooses to take on this new challenge, resulting in the woman finding new things out about herself. it seems hackneyed, formulaic and predictable. still, there are parts of this story that aren't exactly predictable and which stray from the cliche. and, more importantly, the way in which this story is told and the great acting from the entire cast made me think differently about this time worn narrative of personal progression.

i think this movie really spoke to me as a college student who perpetually or at least currently really feels in limbo. anne hathaway has recently graduated from college and either can't find a job or doesn't know what job to look for. for her, she is trying to find something that she is good at and something that challenges her and fulfills her. as a person who has never found any of the above myself but who really wants to, that definitely affected me. i think my other college friends would probably react similarly. in the end, her friends don't really understand her obsession with a job she doesn't even seem to like, but the irony is that it makes perfect sense to the viewer. this is the first time she has ever really tried to accomplish something and no matter what it is, she wants to master it. it made me simultaneously sad and hopeful when, in the end, she comes to her own success.

of course the best part of the movie is meryl streep, but that goes without saying. i mean you can see that even in the trailer. her screen turn as the diabolical miranda priestley definitely joins the annals of most evil film characters alongside cruella deville and the wicked witch of the west. but anne hathaway actually outperformed my expectations in the lead as well. her character held its own in this movie when it could have been totally outshined by her more interesting costars. i had never seen her in anything before other than her lamentably small role in bareback, but i definitely won't stray away from watching one of her films in the future. incidentally, emily blunt also made me smile as streep's evil-wannabe assistant. she has gotten some recent accolades for her performance, and they are well deserved.

there are probably three performances this summer so far that have been worthy of supporting noms in the spring, and two of them were done by ms. streep (the other was streep's sidekick lily tomlin in prairie home). i hope the bitch got to take a long vacation after all that! but i don't think it was a long one, considering imdb has her listed as starring in six movies in 2007. . . SIX!
21 September 2006
  another awesome trailer
this fall is looking better and better at the movies every day.

i just saw on ew's blog that the trailer for bobby is finally out. (i've been looking for it for weeks now). it looks really cool and probably super sad.

p.s. i love the list at the end. . . who isn't in this movie?!?

view the trailer here
  summer in review: i'm going to tell you a secret

and so ends another madonna summer. today in tokyo madonna confessed for last time, ending both one of the most popular tours of all time and also an entire summer of worldwide madonna-mania. the confessions tour was the most profitable tour by a female artist ever, netting over 193 million dollars. but the tour was just one part of the 2006 summer of madonna. there was the h&m campaign, the re-invention tour cd release and also the official release of her newest documentary i'm going to tell you a secret in june.

for those who love the happy-go-lucky, coke bottle fellating material girl of the early 90s and lament her recent kaballah/motherhood-induced departure, igttyas is definitely. . . not going to satisfy that sense of loss. this is talmud-toting, bush-bashing, family gal madge at her best. but gosh people give her a chance. people grow up you know. and the surprising thing about this documentary is that, even though we might not want our queen to be such a serious susy, when she actually has something of import to say, it is legitimately worth listening to.

igttyas exposes a side of madonna that most of her fans have probably never seen before. you see her taking care of her kids, doting on & fighting with her hubby, guy, speaking about peace at a rally in israel, talking frankly and adlib about her faith and at times reminiscing about the arc of her career and how it brought her to the current moment. it is surprisingly deep and insightful and, perhaps unlike truth or dare, you leave it in a really contemplative state, thinking about the film's messages.

that isn't to say that the film is without its lighter moments. it's hard to believe that a documentary which begins with a six minute recitation from the book of revelations about how we are all going to hell can, in the end, really make you laugh. this is especially true about the parts of igttyas where her son rocco takes the stage. he is pretty adorable, incredibly outgoing and maybe a little in need of adderal (like his dad maybe?) you can total imagine him pursuing a career in entertainment like his mom. as for her daughter lola, she is super-precocious, and one imagines her as a future power player in some respect.

maybe the best thing about this film, though, is the music of the re-invention tour itself. this is tour documentary and not a recording of the tour itself, so it mostly just includes highlights of a selection of numbers from the tour. these songs almost exclusively come out of madge's low-rated american life album. i enjoy the album, but don't think it is by any means madonna's best. still, after seeing her perform these songs in the context of igttyas, i definitely had a newfound appreciation of them.

anyone reviewing this film is inevitably faced with rating it against its predecessor truth or dare. but in a lot of ways, these are two entirely different movies that appear as apples and oranges. in any case both films stand among madonna's on-screen highlights.
19 September 2006
  summer in review: pirates of the caribbean, dead man's chest

well it's that time of year again folks, you know the leaves are starting to turn just a little, candy corn starts unexplainably falling into your shopping cart and there is a distinct hint of swashbuckling in the air. that's right everyone, today is


as everybody who knows me is well aware there is nothing i love more than a crusty cutlas-wielding buccaneer with a penchant for wenching, warm casks of ale and anything that might possibly fend off scurvy. i think maybe i was actually a pirate in a past life actually. maybe that's where i got my love of sodomy. and that's why talk like a pirate day is one of my favorite vernacular celebrations.

it's also why i love pirates of the caribbean. . . at least the curse of the black pearl that is. word is still out on dead man's chest.

on the one hand, i see how potc:dmc might have suffered from a subconscious mental antipathy/fear of sequels in general on my part. i mean, i loved the original so much that there was never any chance that the sequel could live up to my expectations. but i did try to keep an open mind. and there were definitely elements of the sequel that i enjoyed. but it still fell very short of the original for me, and, at the very least, i don't think that potc:dmc has any chance of being as memorable a film as its predecessor.

i found that there were a few pretty essential problems with potc:dmc as a whole. first, although this was a pretty lengthy film at two and a half hours, it wasn't long enough to provide enough attention to all of its various story lines, characters and exotic computer-generated locations. there are two main plot arcs in the movie. on one hand, there is arch-pirate jack sparrow's quest to free himself of the eternal bondage he owes evil sea-keeper davy jones. frankly this would have been enough to fill the entire movie. however, there is another parallel story line, that of the east india trading company's quest to defeat davy jones in order to gain unquestioned control of the seas. because there are not one but two complicated stories being told here, all of the things that make the original potc great are given dangerous short shift. most notable in this regard is johnny depp himself, former academy award nominee for the role, who, frankly, in this film is relegated to supporting player. (this is not to say that orlando bloom or keira knightley really gets much more screen time than depp.)

this problem, however, is really just a byproduct of another of the film's larger issues, that it is really just a three hour set up for potc 3: at world's end. you could tell from the beginning that a film this complex was not about to be resolved by its end. in fact, very little is resolved, and the latter of the two story lines in particular is left more or less in its initial stages. this effect is definitely unsatisfying for me, but not so much as i expected it to be. that is, it doesn't even compare to the let down the viewer experiences at the end of the lord of the rings movies.

finally, one other problem plagued this movie from beginning to end: the computer effects upstaged the story itself and those who were telling it. the first potc was special because of its nuanced and interesting performances, especially depp's jack sparrow. sure there are special effects in that one as well, but they only help to enhance the actors' performances. in this film it is difficult to even focus on what the actors are doing because one is just overwhelmed by in-your-face, almost three-dimensional computer effects. they are at times pretty breathtaking, but, unless you are really into that technical stuff then you will be pretty disappointed that this is the centerpiece of the film.

now, as i said before, there were certainly parts of this movie that i did like. depp, even though in a limited role, once again gives a really complex performance in the "lead." it is really intriguing how he makes a really despicable character at once charming, funny, pitiful, admirable and loathsome. but depp actually wasn't my favorite character or performance this time around. that distinction belongs to naomie harris as tia dalma. she is so delightfully creepy, i love it! i really hope she has a much bigger role in the series' next installment. the set and art direction and cinematography was all pretty cool if you could see it through the computer stuff. and it has a really awesome score that you will be singing to yourself for days afterward.

so potc:dmc wasn't a total failure by any means. i enjoyed watching it once even if i don't think it will fall into my monthly dvd viewing schedule like its predecessor. and i am nonetheless really looking forward to the third film in the series. i am anxious to see how it all ends, and i hope that they will correct some of these problems that really bothered me this time around. in the meantime, i will just have to content myself watching the original and doing a little pillaging of my own [matey].
12 September 2006
  shortbus trailer
unless you have a strong stomach and aren't easily offended, don't watch this uncensored trailer for john cameron mitchell's new film shortbus.

frankly, i am really nervous and underwhelmed by what this looks like. i am afraid that mitchell is a sort of one trick pony. i really hope that i am wrong, but this doesn't look like anything but straight people porn made on a slightly larger budget. i have been really looking forward to this since it was posted on imdb like 4 years ago, but it looks like it is gonna take at least 3 martinis for me to get through it.

(vaginas are scary.)
06 September 2006
  fall trailers
the trailers for the fall movies have been slowly showing up on imdb and youtube, so i keep going back and searching for new ones. here are links to a few trailers that are really amazing. i can't wait to see these movies!!!

little children

running with scissors

the science of sleep

the fountain

kool-aid: the movie

Luke and John talk about movies

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