10.31.2006

CBGBay -- Maybe things can return from the dead...infamous and now defunct NYC club auctions its guts online.

10.27.2006


"Waiter, there's an AAAIIIIIEEEEE!!!" -- Mmm, mmm, crawly cakes taste good! From the dedicated mind of Not Martha. I foresee a Pink Snowball version in my future...or a whole flock of them for our Halloween Grill & Chill party this weekend...muahahahaaa!
"What movies have left you feeling smarter and sunnier afterward?" -- Miss Better Blog Bureau herself, Mighty Girl, has an interesting thread going on movies that are enjoyable but not dumb, i.e. somewhere in between Hotel Rwanda and Nacho Libre. There are a lot of repeats on the list, but I will add:
1. The Commitments
2. The Wedding Banquet
3. Pieces of April
4. Love Actually
5. Serenity (for something with a little action!)

10.26.2006

10.25.2006

It's time for the Be Careful What You Wish For Edition of Ticket Stub:

* Little Children - What if both Peter Pan and Wendy stayed young forever, had a torrid adulterous affair, brushed with death and destruction, then came to their senses? If it were directed into a 2.5-hour psychodrama by Todd (In The Bedroom) Field, it would be this movie. Fine acting carries the story along, despite the pungent unlikeability of nearly every character, and the dreamy summer-in-New-England mood is laced with tension, reinforced by a recurring train whistle sound that portends doom. Kate Winslet glows as Sarah, an ambivalent mom and frustrated wife (to a dull older man with a raunchy secret), who throws herself into an affair with hunky dad Brad, played with bronzed melancholy by Patrick Wilson. They risk toppling their children's idyllic lives and (at least) Brad's chilly marriage to the stunning Jennifer Connelly, but are sucked into a Romeo & Juliet fantasy of running off in the middle of the night...almost. The parallel tale of a paroled sex offender moving back in with his mom, and the unstable ex-cop who harrasses him, is so convoluted it pushes the movie into cynical American Beauty territory (coincidentally, that film was directed by Winslet's real-life hubby, Sam Mendes). But for all the soap opera twists and surreal set-pieces, there is something compelling about these characters that keeps you involved, and mostly squirming. The inescapable theme of adult immaturity (enhanced by an omniscient voiceover by the Frontline guy) leaves you feeling sour and superior, by turns. It's a bit grueling. I said to Kim at the end, "I feel like I lived a year in these people's lives!" Heaven forbid. (B+)

* Marie Antoinette - Anarchy in La Republique! Sofia Coppola presents a lavishly anachronistic story, either of the ill-fated French queen or of her own gilded Hollywood youth, or possibly both at the same time. It's a pastiche of formality and slang, intimate emotion and remote tableau, poofy silk gowns and a much-maligned Converse sneaker. The opposite of a historical opus like Amadeus or Gandhi, the film dispenses with accuracy, narrative, and even consistent accents -- Kirsten Dunst uses a generic post-Valley Girl Amerispeak, which somewhat trivializes but also humanizes Marie. She and her husband, the nerd-king Louis XVI played to nepotistic perfection by Jason Schwarzman, are sheltered teenagers wed to seal a political pact, and their marriage is unconsummated (though conducted entirely in view of dozens of courtiers) for seven years. This innocence eventually fades to a delicate ennui, then adultery, and then comes the revolution -- oddly truncated here, with the film fading out as the royal family flee Versailles. They were imprisoned for several tumultuous years after that, and eventually guillotined in the Reign of Terror -- I guess if Ridley Scott had made this movie, Sofia's version would be condensed to 40 minutes and the remaining 85 would be all action, action, action. I think Kirsten Dunst could've handled it, but that is so beside Coppola's point here -- it's a selective, evocative portrait, not a documentary. Like a courtly portrait painter, she selects flattering angles and poses and backdrops for her subject, but manages to convey something essential, maybe brutal, about her too. Marie is utterly unworldly even as she sits atop the world, with no concept of money, work, or even time, as hers is filled only with the pursuit of pleasure. And it's pleasurable to watch, with sumptuous costumes, locations, and towers of champagne and pastries. Apolitical to a fault, Coppola examines this rare bird so closely you don't even notice the bars of her cage, or palace gates. Extra points for an unabashedly bizarre supporting cast, including Rip Torn, Judy Davis, Molly Shannon, and Marianne Faithfull as Marie's mum, Empress Maria Theresa of Austria, who doles out guilt-tripping advice on seduction in her letters. Oh and, of course, the soundtrack rocks. (A for effort, C+ for achievement, but that's overrated anyway)
"People from the Back Bay aren't going to go to Dorchester to see memorials" -- and thus, the memorials come to them, in the form of a city bus. "Remembering Boston's Children 1980-2005" is a public art project and rolling epitaph to young victims of violence from all over the city. Sigh.

10.23.2006



Take the Pickle Challenge! -- One of my favorite bloggers, Melissa, is "motivating" her husband's fundraising campaign for the Making Strides Against MS marathon with, yes, a pickle. Click over, donate to a worthy cause, and stay tuned for pictures as he samples the briny taste of victory!
"But the final straw came when Borat asked the women to lift up their shirts at the end of the interview." -- BBC article on those poor saps who were taken in by the naive, hairy bumpkinery of Borat. Don't any of these people have cable TV?

10.19.2006

"Do we want someone who listens to men in POWDERED WIGS to be our governor?" -- Hell yes! Hilarious Blue Mass Group contest for the dirtiest, lowest-down, spittle-flecked anti-Deval Patrick TV ad, now running.

UPDATE: This contest is for real, posted by Adam Reilly of the Phoenix. More entries on their site, and the prize is a $10 gift certificate to local delight El Pelon Taqueria, mmmmm. My favorite so far: "But isn't Deval Patrick a man?" "He sure is, Meg."

10.18.2006


"Young man! There's a place you can go..." -- Yes, that's my little brother, the chief of his wedding reception. This past weekend marked the long-awaited end of his 18+ month engagement to the lovely Daria, in the middle of which I myself got engaged and hitched. The 2006 Durand Matrimony Marathon is over, sigh. This "YMCA" skit by the groomsmen is a signature feature of DJ Delight, who provided a Big Fat Jersey Wedding experience for all...they actually played "Glory Days," people. And also "It Takes Two," "Jesse's Girl," and my sister Becca's #1 wedding request, "P.Y.T." Woop woop!

10.09.2006

Stick 'em up! -- It's time for the Good Noir, Bad Noir installment of TicketStub:

* The Black Dahlia -- This is the bad one. Brian DePalma's grand disappointment managed to simultaneously bore and repel me, especially in the maudlin final moments. Each element of the sprawling, seedy plot gets short shrift -- instead of layering together into a dark symphony of brutality and perversion, the pieces fracture and fade, to the point where you just don't care to sort them out anymore. The basic notion of a good cop/bad cop duo sharing the love of a good woman and a compulsion to fight (and sometimes do) evil in amoral 50's L.A. would be interesting enough without the gothic baggage of, let's see, ghoulish murder, shady mob connections, disappointed starlets, underground stag films, mental illness, real estate code violations, boxing, and of course, lesbian speakeasy nightlife. Oy. Josh Hartnett is appealingly blank but gets lost in the fray, which even Aaron Eckhart and Scarlett Johanson can't commandeer for long. Hilary Swank starts out a convincing femme fatale, but, like the rest of the flick, combusts into parody before the end. There is exactly one interesting camera shot in the whole movie -- everything else is torn from DePalma's own playbook or cribbed directly from L.A. Confidential, like he ran out of money and/or interest to do anything new. If I hear a mournful trumpet solo in another movie this year, I'm gonna scream! Additional points off for lazy incidental music and costume choices (Scarlett wears beige in every scene, Hilary black, oooh, deep), as well as some truly bush league continuity flubs (key props change appearance, wine is poured and re-poured, etc.). Gratuitous blood, gratuitous sex, gratuitous bad lighting. From the man who directed my all-time favorite gangster movie, this was monumentally lame. (D+)

* The Departed -- Bravo, Marty! A return to form for Scorcese and a chance to show off fine actorly chops across the board, all set against a panoramic Boston backdrop! Well, actually, the fakey backdrop of the Massachusetts Statehouse was a little silly, but the grey skies and neon streets of the real locations looked great. A tightly paced, grimy, backstabbing opus, the film follows the parallel paths of two cops, one crooked and one just pretending to be, on the trail of Whitey Bulger stand-in Jack Nicholson. Jack's at his most florid in a few scenes, a sociopathic ham with a taste for leopard print and sprinkling hookers with blow, but it's all in good fun. His two "proteges," DiCaprio and Damon, are wonderfully twinned but doomed to collide -- both from Southie, both ambitious, both corrupted, but only one salvageable. Of course, that doesn't actually happen, it's a Scorcese picture! Blood gouts all over, but it's balanced here with gallows humor, from the cops (especially Alec Baldwin in a winning bloviator mode) all the way down to the very convincing Irish mob thugs. Vera Farmiga holds her own as a part that could easily have withered away, the shrink caught between good cop and bad. Damon applies an arrogant sheen to his boyishly competent persona and by the end you'll be hoping he gets what he deserves; not to give it away, but Mark Wahlberg gleams as an authentic Masshole who takes shit from nobody. But in the end, Leo the antihero keeps it clicking -- by turns enraged, cagey, and distraught, he tries to keep one step ahead of the doublecross and nearly succeeds. He outsparks Nicholson and out-gravitas-es Martin Sheen, for pete's sake. By far the best movie of 2006 so far...which it would be even with stiffer competition. A heap of extra points for brilliant, lucid, fat-free editing -- every director in the land should have to take a master class with Thelma Schoonmaker, we'd all be a lot better off. (A+)

10.05.2006

I never did one of those Spam Poetry posts, but today I found one that is too good to be true -- it appears the departed spirit of Allen Ginsberg is writing spam emails from the beyond!

ballfield the pastel
it titmouse a diamagnetic
a soggy try
lionel
a dostoevsky or democrat
it's bestow a sigmund !
chronic a serviceberry !
busy or crawford
it's articulate
some homework
try adrian
disyllable
see bundle
but campion
try excuse in raleigh
it muzzle
it's joyful !
tuesday a inclination
a teensy but specular
be southeastern,
compositor
see judd,
schematic !
collector
see mould and
atomic some !
clarendon and declare
butbut
mustang on twombly
seethe
eastern
the levitate it.
"Our whole lives are built on a heap of skulls -- human skulls! ... I've compared this to kicking Julia Child in the teeth ... It disturbs me that while people are being force-fed in Guantánamo Bay, politicians are wasting an hour or a minute complaining about poor ducks." -- Don't get Anthony Bourdain started about the proposed NJ foie gras ban! He's interviewed by compadre food writer Michael Ruhlman in Salon.
"I think the secret to the future is quantity," Lucas said. -- Uh-oh, that's George Lucas, talking about moving from movies to...television. Dear god.

10.04.2006


Sock it to me! -- Yuk yuk yuk. I bought these awesome socks at a craft fair in NJ over the weekend...fall is the crafty time of year, after all. I also bought some fimo vegetable earrings from the delightful Merrie, and a huge tube of Kettle Corn. Topsfield Fair coming up this weekend, too, wooo!
Things I Learned At Work Today:

1. It is really annoying to walk around the cube farm shouting into your cellphone...in Italian.

2. I could probably eat the LeanCuisine Lemongrass Chicken every day for lunch for the rest of my life, it is so frickin' good.

3. It is not a good idea to come to a job interview with your necktie on the outside of your shirt collar. Like, around your actual neck. Also, don't take recyclable cans out of the kitchenette garbage on your way out the door.

UPDATE!
4. Do not speak the word "smegma" within audible radius of my cube, or I will embarrass the hell out of you by pointing out the inappropriosity of doing so. No, really.

10.02.2006

"Students were exposed to nude statues and other nude art representations." -- This would be at a museum, of course. A Dallas-area art teacher is fired after parents complain that some of the statues glimpsed on a 5th grade field trip were nekkid. Backed up by the teacher's association and op-ed pages everywhere, but still fired. Lovely.