Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Top 10 starts soon

Normally, the best picture of the year is very apparent to me, as it has been for the past eight years of my cinematic cognizance. I knew it was love at first sight when I saw Junebug last year. Same thing with Million Dollar Baby the year before. This year: Not so much. Granted, I had some great theatrical experiences. But no film lodged itself in my heart. Pity pity.

But there are still 10 good films I'm going to rank. They'll each get a post, and we'll go from 10 to 1, to keep the suspense building. I'd love to hear your thoughts. Never has there been a year when I've been so out of step with mainstream criticism. I thought The Queen was a Pinter-esque comedy (that is to say: a wild misfire). Everyone else thought it was totally rad. But even the trailer makes me crack up. "A leader in crisis," intones the deep-voiced narrator as we're shown a shot of Helen Mirren in her jammies in bed reading the newspaper. Crisis! Are they kidding?

In addition, Bobby made me weep and everyone else groan. I thought Apocalypto, for all its insanity, was a visionary technical achievement. Everyone else called it pornography.

Before we start, a point of order. I saw about 80 movies that were released in 2006. Almost 250 remain unseen by me, including these notables: Blood Diamond, Cars, Catch a Fire, Come Early Morning, Days of Glory, The Dead Girl, Deliver Us from Evil, Factory Girl, Breaking & Entering, Fast Food Nation, Firewall (just kidding!), The Good German, Iraq in Fragments, Kinky Boots, Man Push Cart, Old Joy, The Pursuit of Happyness, Shut Up & Sing and Sweet Land.

Monday, February 26, 2007

"We're talented and/or pretty"

Dunno why, but I like this photo. An unlikely crew at some post-ceremony sh*tfest. I can't wait for the day when I'm over the Oscars. But I ain't yet. So, here's a rundown on the ceremony, which was long, yes, but let's get over ourselves. No one is holding a gun to your head and telling you to watch. Just go to bed if you're sick of it.

Hottest winner: Ari Sandel, who won for his live action short, West Bank Story. And a good speech, too.

Best dressed: Milena Canonera, costume designer for Marie Antoinette. I was thinking before the show, "Why don't more women wear tuxes to these things?" And I loved how she thanked Hugh Hudson and "my great master," Stanley Kubrick.

If you want to hear something really funny, click here and then scroll down and hit the Audio Slide Show on the left hand side. "JENNIFER! THE BACK OF THE DRESS! I NEED TO SEE THE BACK OF THE DRESS!" Who is that woman? We're a strange species.

I'm still angry about the abbreviated performance clips for the acting categories. Hey, I've got an idea: Get rid of pointless swill like Michael Mann's absurd "America!" montage. And maybe start the show at 8, not 8:30.

Funny guy: George Lucas, who was pitch-perfect in his sad-sackness opposite Coppola and Spielberg, who are each 100 times the filmmaker he is. Also, his hair is astonishing. Also, Will Sasso as Lucas on MADtv.

Of note: The Departed is the antithesis of the typical Oscar best picture. It is bloody and cynical, with no uplift or redemptive statement about the human condition. Even The Silence of the Lambs (arguably the darkest best picture) had something rallying to say about femininity, which wrested itself from the chokehold of misogyny in the film's climactic sequence. The previous 78 best picture winners either said "People are good" or "Some people are good." The Departed is the first best picture to say, flat-out and with force, "People are sons of bitches." Am I right?

This will be updated with more thoughts throughout the day.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Oscars 07: Shouldn't we have something better to do?

Welcome to As Little as Possible's liveblogging, because clearly the Oscars aren't being covered enough. Please refresh throughout the evening, and comment at will.

12:17 / Well, more settled thoughts tomorrow or sometime this week. A fun show, if a little long.

12:14 / Ha! The Departed! It is the best of the bunch. Poor Brad Pitt and Brad Grey.

12:13 / DIANE KEATON.

12:08 / OK, now we can close the Scorsese chapter. This is great!

12:05 / Good, Forest wrote something down. Good. Good, powerful speech. Celine Dion's husband is crying. (My friend Maria: "He's bringing his Oscar to heaven?")

12:00 / The show is too long. They must get rid of the montages.

11:55 / Safe speech by Mirren. Weird ending. So the Elizabeth II = Oscar?

11:49 / Those f*ckers clapped during In Memoriam. Despite what I said. At least they included Alida Valli.

11:44 / Jodie Foster. Etheridge. Ellen. (Latifah?) It's lesbian night.

11:41 / Winslet: "Cut to the chase." My friend Stephen: "Yes please." (This is kinda slow.) My friend Maria: "I want to be Kate Winslet. Or her dress."

11:39 / What the hell kind of montage is this? A montage to movies in general? But Network! This is the strangest montage ever. Talladega Nights. Saving Private Ryan. Dr. Strangelove. Leslie Nielsen.

11:30 / Yes, Melissa! This is the Al Gore Night. Great speech.

11:26 / Anika Noni Rose: Better actor, better singer.

11:24 / Jennifer Hudson: Bad actor, great singer. Beyonce: Bad actor, bad singer.

11:10 / Alanna reminds me that a portion of Babel's score appeared first in Deadwood. Plus, the original stuff from Babel ain't that impressive anyway.

11:08 / Two years in a row for Gustavo.

11:01 / Clint's a little loopy. But good for Ennio for accepting in Italian. And he wants everyone to win an Oscar!

10:59 / No chorus! Are they crazy? The man writes beautiful choral music!

10:53 / Ladies & gents, the greatest living film composer.

10:48 / This is the Al Gore Night. And he gets to hold it. Classy guy.

10:37 / Did Hudson really believe she wouldn't win? COME ON. God don't care. Ooh, they started to play her off. Jennifer Holliday what. Alanna says: "GOD DOES NOT GIVE OUT OSCARS. You should automatically be disqualified if you come from American Idol, or if you thank God. God: 'Hi, I'm busy dealing with genocide, nuclear armament, global warming, overpopulation, discrimination, and your idiot President. I don't care if you win an acting prize.'"

10:34 / New best line: "They're naked."

10:33 / Alanna says "Clive Owen is so f*cking sexy. I want him to bang me."

10:32 / FAYE DUNAWAY. FAYE DUNAWAY. Sitting next to the German crowd.

10:30 / Pan's wins three Oscars, then loses to The Lives of Others? I'll never understand AMPAS. (But this is a deserved win.) Guillermo Del Toro joins Eddie Murphy in the Well, Sh*t Club.

10:23 / CATHERINE DENEUVE.

10:19 / The crowd here agrees that the Pilobolus dancers cheated because they used a prop to make the Little Miss Sunshine bus.

10:14 / This is the biggest upset of the night. Pan's Labyrinth wins over Children of Men for cinematography? This is outrageous.

10:09 / See, the trick is to talk to the audience, not the TV cameras. Sherry reads from the TelePrompTer. Bo-ring.

10:08 / I love me some Tom Cruise. He's always very eloquent and poised in these situations. I wonder what he'd be like in live theatre. My friend Alanna says Tom doesn't age: "There are aliens inside him that keep him young."

10:01 / Oh, the Prada-lovers are probably loving this. Meryl seems to have gone to the Nicholson School of Wearing Sunglasses Indoors.

9:50 / Mirren reads Borat's full title and completely legitimizes it.

9:48 / Hooray for the writer. And their processes. Write, drink, write.

9:45 / Happy Feet's direector is wearing some sort of Titanic-era life vest under his tux.

9:36 / They're giving Jessica Biel a lot of face time. My friend Tony, who's sitting right here, could've hooked up with her in college, but didn't. I think he regrets it.

9:34 / It's good that they're showing the supertitles from the movie. Etheridge = classy.

9:32 / James Taylor + Randy Newman = buzzkill

9:30 / I'm still very pissed off by the abbreviated performance clips. I'm seething.

9:24 / Bad speech by Arkin. This is a dumb win. Yikes. Eddie's probably pissed. I bet frontrunners are shaking in their seats now.

9:22 / Ooh, I'm pissed off. They're showing four seconds of the performances. Ack! This is almost as bad as when they didn't show clips at all in 2003.

9:17 / The Iwo Jima sound editors are giving the worst acceptance speech ever.

9:15 / It's fantastic that they're showing clips of what sound editors do.

9:13 / OK, this sound effects choir? Holy crap. This is officially, right now, the best Oscarcast I've ever seen.

9:05 / Good speech by Ari Sandel. How could I have not picked West Bank Story? What a clip.

9:00 / Judi Dench "is having knee surgery...on her eyes." HA! The line of the night.

8:58 / Pan Labyrinth 2. Everyone else 0. The Mexicans are winning like the British usually do.

8:54 / Ferrell & Black, reprising their musical chemistry from a couple years ago (when they put lyrics to the play-off music). I can't believe this musical number! This is fantastic! How suprising! This ain't your grandaddy's Oscar.

8:50 / WHAT THE HELL WAS THAT? People turned into an Oscar!

8:48 / Apparently, they seat the art directors in the mezzanine.

8:43 / If there weren't blacks, Jews and gays, there would be no Oscars. Or anyone named Oscar. Ha! This is a good, light-hearted monologue. The opposite of Chris Rock's two years ago. Wait -- a tambourine in my hand? This is great! Will this be the funnest Oscars ever?

8:41 / "Tell 'em you lived in your car." A Swank dig! I'm just a girl from a trailer park with a dream.

8:40 / Correct. We don't have time for boring speeches.

8:38 / Ellen: Penelope Cruz is not from Mexico.

8:31 / The Errol Morris short film. Cute. Kind of. "Any sexual thought about the queen is a treasonable thought." They should be identifying these people.

8:25 / Winslet. The viewing crowd here in this Washington rowhouse agrees that the Brits are more articulate than Americans.

8:24 / Three amigos = Coppola, Ford and Lucas. Ford? Ford?

8:14 / Vogue guy calls Will Smith & family the "first family of Hollywood." And Hudson is the people's princess. I can't wait til he calls Queen Latifah "the Schwarzkopf of Beverly Hills."

8:09 / Apparently, we're not starting til 8:30. Is this typical? The Prada women are like an animated version of the French flag. I wonder if Meryl is wearing Prada...

8:06 / This guy from Vogue has proclaimed Jennifer Hudson the "people's princess." And it's not just because of her work with land mines.

8:00 / Penguins. Like spelling bees, we, as a culture, just have to get over them. (This is a really lame opening.) Wait, is it not starting now?

7:55 / Meryl looking a little bohemian. Poor husband Don Gummer is stuck in the background. 14 nominations, size 14. Holla.

7:46 / They were showing the dinner scene from The Nutty Professor on ABC! For the Baba Wawa weepfest. Eddie Murphy was being interviewed.

7:45 / Blanchett and Winslet sharing the screen -- gah. Great dresses. How grand.

7:29 / Okay. This doodle stuff? Outlining Helen's cleavage? A bit much. DePandi and that awful guy think they're the John Maddens of the E! network.

7:24 / Helen Mirren's loving the attention. Look at her with that flag. I hope she doesn't lose...

6:42 / Seacrest is gnawing away at Al & Tipper. Al's wearing Ralph Lauren. Will he announce his candidacy tonight? Jennifer Hudson appears to be wearing some sort of sparkly gold blouse-vest. I'm switching locations, so i'll be absent for 20 minutes or a half hour. Comment away, though, if you see ridiculousness on E!. Al Gore says William Hung should play him in an Al Gore biopic. CATHERINE DENEUVE IS THERE. Melissa Etheridge looks hot.

6:38 / If you want some last-minute funny trivia, check out this. Seacrest out.

2:25 p.m. / E!'s on-air douchebag Ben Lyons says Little Miss Sunshine is the first movie to come out of the Sundance Film Festival and make it to the Oscars. Clearly he's never heard of, oh, Pulp Fiction or sex, lies & videotape. Christalmighty. I need to shut this off til 6.

DZ Oscar Pool percentages

With 80 ballots in so far, here are the standings. Of note: Hudson appears to be more of a lock than Mirren. Gosling and Kikuchi received no votes. Supporting actor is the most volatile acting category. The DZ Oscar Pool is a very accurate predictor of what actually happens. But best picture is a split between Babel and The Departed. Does that mean we'll have a tie at the ceremony? Hoo-ha! Who knows...

PICTURE. Babel 33%. The Departed 33%. Little Miss Sunshine 16%. Letters from Iwo Jima 10%. The Queen 8%.
DIRECTOR. Scorsese 71%. Eastwood 17%. Inarritu 8%. Frears 2%. Greengrass 2%.
LEADING ACTOR. Whitaker 74%. O'Toole 18%. DiCaprio 5%. Smith 3%. Gosling 0%.
LEADING ACTRESS. Mirren 79%. Dench 10%. Streep 5%. Cruz 3%. Winslet 3%.
SUPPORTING ACTOR. Murphy 49%. Arkin 24%. Hounsou 11%. Wahlberg 9%. Haley 7%.
SUPPORTING ACTRESS. Hudson 81%. Blanchett 13%. Barraza 5%. Breslin 1%. Kikuchi 0%.
ADAPTED SCREENPLAY. The Departed 56%. Notes on a Scandal 20%.
ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY. Little Miss Sunshine 44%. The Queen 21%.
FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM. Pan's Labyrinth 73%. The Lives of Others 14%.
ANIMATED FEATURE. Cars 64%. Happy Feet 34%.

Oscar predix: picture & director

DIRECTOR: Martin Scorsese, The Departed. Word is that Spielberg, Coppola and George Lucas are jointly presenting the best director Oscar. Hmm, wonder if the ceremony producers are banking on one of their estimable but un-awarded peers winning. So it looks to be Scorsese, who will win for a terrific movie and we can close that chapter. But I don't think he's a shoo-in, though. Greengrass' work on United 93 is kinda mindblowing, and Eastwood's epic double bill is kinda impressive...

PICTURE: The Departed.
The toughie! Convention says Babel or Letters from Iwo Jima will win. If they pick Babel, they get to award Inarritu (who's a producer) an actual statuette. If they pick Iwo Jima, they get to give Spielberg his fourth and Eastwood his fifth. Oscar has never really touched a "gangster" pick, but The Departed was a massive commercial and critical success, recently came out on DVD and it's a damn good movie -- the best of the bunch, in my opinion. Again, I might be giving AMPAS more credit than they deserve...

TONIGHT! Live-blogging, starting pretty damn early. As soon as red carpet stuff begins. Comment early and often.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Oscar predix: the technicals

ADAPTED SCREENPLAY. The Departed. A master class on how to successfully remake a movie. Greatly deserved.
ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY. Little Miss Sunshine. A supremely weak category.
FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM. Pan's Labyrinth. Although everyone's predicting a Lives of Others upset. I'm fine either way. Both are good.
ANIMATED FEATURE. Cars. Who cares. Poor Richard Linklater. This is the second time AMPAS has snubbed his inventive animated movies.
CINEMATOGRAPHY. Children of Men. Greatly deserved.
ART DIRECTION. Pan's Labyrinth. Children of Men should've been nominated here, and won.
COSTUME DESIGN. The Devil Wears Prada. Here I go again, expecting AMPAS to have some imagination.
ORIGINAL SCORE. The Queen. Although Philip Glass has been nominated a whole bunch of times...
ORIGINAL SONG. "I Need to Wake Up." Etheridge slays Krieger.
FILM EDITING. United 93. Although Schoonmaker's work on The Departed is ravishing.
SOUND MIXING. Dreamgirls. The one bone it gets.
SOUND EDITING. Letters from Iwo Jima. The one bone it gets.
MAKEUP. Pan's Labyrinth.
VISUAL EFFECTS. Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest.

Next: my thoughts on best picture and director. Plus: my viewings of the shorts.

Reno 911!: Miami: Not a disaster

A review by a good friend of mine.

For the record

Al Gore is not nominated for an Oscar. Would the media please stop saying that he'll have one in his hands on Sunday? Davis Guggenheim, the director of An Inconvenient Truth, will.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Oscar predix: the actors

Disclaimer: My predictions rely too much on logic. That's why I always lose my own pool. Heck, I picked Don Cheadle to win two years ago. (Yeah, I know.) But here are my picks. You'll see that I arrive at them with clarity of vision. Which is why I so often mis-forecast the tendencies of the Academy, which year after year has proven to have no imagination. But the biggest (and therefore the most volatile) voting block is the actors branch, and here's where they will really exercise some abandon.

LEADING ACTOR: Leonardo DiCaprio, Blood Diamond

If you were a voter, who would you want to hear on stage: Forest Whitaker, who had a quiet stroke at the Globes and who was just as unintelligible at the SAGs? Or Peter O'Toole, who included the phrase "As I totter into antiquity" in his 2003 honorary Oscar speech and is a superb raconteur? O'Toole, obviously. He's old, he's legendary, he's campaigned. He wants it. He's probably stolen a great deal of Whitaker's voting momentum, which will split the race and make way for Leo, whose film has a much deeper presence (four other nominations) than O'Toole's and Whitaker's (each is his film's sole nom). Plus, people who love The Departed have probably thrown more heft Leo's way. In all, Leo's movies have 10 nominations this year.

LEADING ACTRESS: Helen Mirren, The Queen

A couple weeks back, I brazenly predicted that Winslet would upset Mirren, who's been frontrunning for so long and at such a high level that it seems almost a given that there should be an unsightly upset. But I can't go around predicting major upsets in every category, so I must relent with this one. The Queen is a best picture nominee and it has across-the-board approval. My only hope is that Mirren has a couple drinks before she wins. (Also: I'm going to put my head in an oven if Winslet does pull it off.)

SUPPORTING ACTOR: Mark Wahlberg, The Departed

Dreamgirls is a bad movie musical. Thing is: Murphy's pretty good. In fact, he's the most interesting part of it. Too bad Norbit is everywhere (though I admire Murphy for sticking to his guns and being proud of the movie). And he's not exactly a loved figure in Hollywood. And he eschews the press. No "SNL" alum who's been nominated has won. There must be plenty of Hounsou-lovers, though. He popped up out of the blue for In America a couple years ago. And he won the very first award of the season (from the National Board of Review). But this category is really eating me up. It's the most volatile, I think. Arkin's nomination is kind of a joke, and would be more so if he won, but people love him. Wahlberg is a serious contender. Haley perhaps deserves it the most. I'm going with Wahlberg. He's proven himself before and is the sole nominee of a rip-roaring ensemble cast in a best picture contender.

SUPPORTING ACTRESS: Cate Blanchett, Notes on a Scandal

Dreamgirls is a bad movie musical. Jennifer Hudson is no actor and, despite her graciousness throughout this long awards season, I think people might be sick/jealous of her. Plus, she wants to be a recording star, not a movie star. Barraza and Kikuchi will split the Babel vote. Breslin is too young. Blanchett's is a strong lead performance and only Winslet is more beloved by her peers. Yes, Blanchett just won two years ago. While deserved, that award was compensation for the egregious oversight in 1999, when a burbling Gwyneth stole the Oscar Blanchett deserved for Elizabeth. This will be the Academy's chance to tell her they like her. And didn't you? She was terrific in Scandal (and she has some face time in Babel).

Now go ahead. Tell me how crazy I am. Expect multiple posts every day through Monday. The madness is here.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

I wanna be a producer...but only if I get credit

Here's an article that elegantly parses all the hubbub about the Academy's nominating process, which is re-goddamn-diculous. (They cap nominees for best picture at three, but they nominate five writers for a screenplay that's not supposed to exist?) If Little Miss Sunshine or The Departed wins picture, it'll be two years in a row that the process robs deserving people of a statuette. Wouldn't it be in the Academy's best interest to get Brad Pitt on the stage at the climax of the show? When's the last time a recognizable person accepted a best picture Oscar? Probably never. (Michael Douglas, at left, won for producing One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest 30 years ago, but he wasn't yet a Pitt-caliber star.)

Starting in a day or two: my year-end awards, a top 10 and Oscar predix. On Sunday, I'll be liveblogging the sh*t out of the pre-show and ceremony. After the Oscars, things will return to normal around here. Or I might actually dissolve this blog and pursue other endeavors. Who knows? Stay tuned. Also: a nice little piece by someone I know. 'Bout time someone brought this up in a major publication.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Spare change? Thank you sir, you're very kind

Ryan Larkin, the drug-addled inspiration behind Chris Landreth's Oscar-winning animated short Ryan, died on Wednesday at 63. I remember seeing Ryan at Telluride in 2004 and thinking, "Well, this is going to win the Academy Award." It's a beautiful short film, and renders the tug-of-war between addiction and genius (Larkin was a respected animator himself) with some fanastic and inventive effects. Excerpted from what I wrote in Feb. 2005:

Ryan is
one artist's plea with himself and his idol to keep at it -- "it" being life, art, and everything in between. The film's greatness lies in its tone, which is elegiac rather than sympathetic, and its animation, which sees people as industrial rainbows marked with individual red-orange-yellow-green-blue-violet badges of courage. Landreth will win the Oscar for which Larkin himself was nominated in 1970. The award will be a testament to both.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Producer of the year?

I'm struggling to see four more films before I release my top 10, but my year-end wrap has to start somewhere. So, a pat on the back to Holly Wiersma. She was behind Bobby (will it be my No. 1?), Down in the Valley (flawed, but it sticks to its guns) and Factory Girl and Come Early Morning (both unseen by me, but the first is supposed to be better than its pre-release turmoil suggests and the second allegedly contains a remarkable performance by Ashley Judd). All were eligibile for this year's Oscars; none were nominated. It's a diverse, ballsy slate that's totally divorced from multiplex culture. IMDb suggests that Wiersma (who looks pretty young) worked her way up from being an extras casting assistant. She's also producing 2007's anticipated Bug.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Dame to Oscar: 'I'd rather experience you on a morphine drip'

Despite being nominated for a sixth Oscar (in nine years!) for her best film performance ever, Judi Dench has opted to undergo bone-cracking knee surgery rather than applaud politely as the other dame collects her 28th trophy of the year. Too bad. Dench classes up the joint, but it appears it's gotten entirely too rote for her. Or maybe she's sick of the self-love (she's said she hates to watch herself on screen). Other famous Oscar no-shows: Joan Crawford feigned illness in 1946, then made a quick recovery by the time the cameras arrived at her sick bed and she was presented the Oscar -- in her nightgown -- for Mildred Pierce. George C. Scott called the Oscars "offensive, barbarous and innately corrupt," boycotted the ceremony in 1971 and won anyway for Patton. Katharine Hepburn was not present to pick up any of her four statuettes. Paul Newman stayed away and finally won in 1987. Anne Bancroft and Ellen Burstyn had shows to do. If Dench somehow wins this year (and she deserves to), I hope Mirren accepts it for her: "Jude, if you're kneecaps weren't already broken, I'd break them for you."

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Blog like banner?

Blog is two years old today. I'm suprised I've kept it up so long -- it's waxed and waned and stopped maturing long ago. It's an indulgence, and it succeeds and fails based on my whims. You'll notice it's been pretty barren of insight lately. Ah well. We'll celebrate anyway. Some of you have been with me from the beginning. Others drop in along the way, as the blogosphere of film chat grows and tightens. And then there are those of you who are constantly looking for nude photos of Dakota Fanning (how do I know this? SiteMeter graciously tracks Google searches that lead here). So. Friends, blog colleagues, perverts: Thanks for shopping here. Now, a buffet of notable posts past:

Grappling with Apocalypto. 11/30/06
Catching up with the Up docs. 11/27/06
The Queen: The Abridged Version. 11/22/06
Think piece on Catherine O'Hara. 11/17/06
Facing The Exorcist. 10/31/06
Peter MacNicol as the ultimate Renfield. 10/30/06
Ellen Burstyn becomes herself. 10/28/06
On Thomson on Kidman. 10/5/06
The Far from Heaven trailer: One brief touch of Venus. 9/24/06
The Tandy-Cronyn Geriatric Sci-Fi Legacy. 7/14/06
The compromise of the X-Men. 5/25/06
Fiorentino, Bacall & the dearth of dangerous women. 5/13/06
The greatest love dashes of all time. 5/2/06
A love letter to Tom Cruise. 4/19/06
Discovering The Tall Guy. 4/10/06.
Liveblogging the Oscars. 3/5/06
Appreciation of Darren McGavin. 2/26/06
Meryl & Charlize. 10/29/05
The sweet surrender of Wit. 10/21/05
Death Becomes Her, that sensational masterpiece. 2/21/05
New thoughts on Annie Hall. 2/16/05

Saturday, February 10, 2007

I lost it at the movies

The New York Times Magazine has an über-arty little video on celebrities' first big impression at the movies: Cate Blanchett reveling in horror movies, Brad Pitt shocked at the end of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid at the drive-in, Helen Mirren on l'Aventurra (and doing her Anna Magnani impression), Abbie Cornish going blind into Who Framed Roger Rabbit?, Ken Watanabe on The Deer Hunter, Penélope Cruz on Billy Wilder and Leo DiCaprio on King Kong, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, Watership Down and Bedknobs & Broomsticks.

What movies are twirled together in the DNA of my cinephilia? Jurassic Park was my first transporting experience at a theater -- genuine terror and excitement, all from flat images. Then there's Mary Poppins -- constantly watched at my grandparents' house, and the first time I felt magic from a movie (along with, yes, Bedknobs & Broomsticks). What's in your movie DNA?

Thursday, February 08, 2007

I'm not dead

Yet. Next week, there will start a fury of activity! Stay with me. In the meantime, ponder those ballots and pass them to friends.

Friday, February 02, 2007

I'm a god. I'm not the God. I don't think...

We are, all of us, growing volcanoes that approach the hour of their eruption; but how near or distant that is, nobody knows -- not even God. Friedrich Nietzsche, The Gay Science (1882)