February 25, 2008
Raymond Chandler on the Oscars

From 1948. It might as well have been written last week.

Posted by Chris at 4:28 PM
February 18, 2008
Not for nothing

We live in the Cheeseball n' Poser Capital of the U.S., if not the world, but occasionally we do get to a cool event like this that makes me happy we're here:

The L.A. Derby Dolls

If I could have subtitled the event it would have been Just Punk Enough. For such a high probability that this would end up being juvenile and mean, kind of like my Rocky Horror experience, this was fun and kitschy.

The last of the 07 movies:

3:10 to Yuma (original). The remake is better. This one does a poor(er) job of explaining why Glenn Ford would allow himself to be taken in.

Charlie Wilson's War. Not for nothing, but Sorkin is one of my favorites. I'd have preferred the movie hold off from the montaging, and then continue about a half hour more to explain what happens next in the Afghanistan crisis - but enjoyable.

Hardcore. Perhaps the tackiest movie ever made. All wood paneling and brown suits and bad. At one point George C. Scott looks out of his seedy hotel window overlooking the Chinese Theatre, and "Star Wars" is on the marquee there - a reminder of the time period of this film, and of how Paul Schrader's world is millions of light years away from some of his contemporary's.

Did I mention my picks for Top Films I Saw in 07? 1) There Will be Blood*, 2) No Country for Old Men, 3) The Host, and 4) Zodiac.

Now on to the 08s:

Steep. A documentary on thrill-seeking skiers, which I found enjoyable because when am I ever going to enter THAT world? Alas, there are only so many ways to make a thrill-seeker's explanation of why he does it entertaining, though. I CLIMB THE MOUNTAIN BECAUSE IT'S THERE. Right, I get it.

Judgement at Nuremberg. In a Stanley Kramer / Spencer Tracy mood after seeing some Inherit the Wind, I rented this one. Very good - especially Maximillian Schell and Burt Lancaster.

Golden Compass. Not as bad as everyone wanted it to be, yet kind of a letdown in the ultimate showdown department. Nice use of CGI with the familiars and the polar bear battles.

Honeydripper. We saw this at the Aero, then listened to John Sayles talk about it afterwards. It's a minor Sayles, but enjoyable.

Walk Hard. How can anyone do a music biopic again, after this movie?

* - Didn't see it until 08.

Posted by Chris at 9:58 AM
February 6, 2008
Octogenarians On Hand

Yesterday I submitted my provisional non-partisan ballot to the pollworkers, and was reminded of how The Onion has done an article for really every aspect of society. I can't find it now, but it was a stat shot of a district using a new automated voting machine. "Don't worry," went the punchline, "if you have technical problems, octogenarians will be on hand to troubleshoot."

Look. I'm not going to go into a long harangue about how chaos has reigned at every single polling place I've gone to in my life, about how I've never just walked in and had it go SMOOTHLY. Was my name in the Big Book of Voters this time? Hell no. Of COURSE it wasn't. It's NEVER been there.

But I'm used to being an un-person when it counts with government affairs. What IS surprising is how every time, it's like the first time the populace has gone out to vote. Like the poll-people are taken TOTALLY by surprise. Of course, every single time the system is somewhat different, so maybe it's understandable. And every time it's like they had no idea they'd have to be able to explain to people how to get it done.

Posted by Chris at 3:44 PM