Category Archives: film

Like a sponge.

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Over the course of this past week in Portland I traded in my yoga pants for jeans and put on a real bra exactly twice, and that was to walk 2 blocks to see movies (Beauty in Trouble, Czech dramedy, eh; Tell No One, French psychological thriller, oh so good!) and drink beer in the daytime dark at the Living Room Theater in the Pearl district (pictured). Between said movies, I… watched more movies on DVD, thanks to a sister with “industry” connections (Milk, Frost/Nixon, The Reader… something else good I can’t remember), downloaded a bunch of new music (new Killers, Carla Bruni and Horse Feathers, old Magnetic Fields, Miles Davis and Mates of State among others considerably more embarrassing), read a boatload of magazines, finished The Bad Girl by Mario Vargas Ilosa and started Seven Types of Ambiguity, a 600 page tome I’d picked up and put back a dozen times since it came out and finally decided to tackle thanks to long lines and the conveniently located Bargain Buys stack (damn you Powell’s and your strategic merchandising)– in short, did little but play tennis, hang with the fam, and soak up a ton great film, music and reading material and it felt good. Makeup didn’t touch my face, my hair went dirtier than usual, even my ears got a break from being ravaged by cheap earrings. Isn’t this what Christmas is all about though? When else can you be a complete slob if not in the comfort of your family over the holidays in a northern, gray city after having your emotions put in a blender on puree?

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What I’ve been doing since I’ve been gone.

I went home.

Twice.

I helped launch Ben 3.0.

I got pink eye.

I got robbed.

I fell in love with New York all over again.

Still going….

I had 2 more best friends bite the dust– I mean get engaged.

I went to the Interesting 2008 conference and learned that laughter is related to our fight or flight response.

I went to the After Nature opening at the New Museum and got very disturbed.

I rediscovered the power pop awesomeness that is Nada Surf.

I went to Venice, CA to see my lil’ sis. I went to Seattle a few times.

I saw Man on Wire and wondered where my singular passion was (again), I saw Vicky Christina Barcelona and wondered why I’m not waiting tables in the south of France like I always said I would, I saw Batman IMAX and wondered what took me so long.

I signed up for a public speaking course at NYU, yet another example of me inflicting pain upon myself for the sake of….????

I got in the pitiful habit of eating 3 meals at my desk.

I lost sleep over the possibility of layoffs following the demise of our biggest client Wamu.

Which brings me here….

Clear conscience, for just 5 bucks a fuck.

Sassy little satirical film out of the UK that compares carbon offsetting to offsetting the damages wrought by cheating on your partner.

From CheatNeutral.com:

Q: Can I offset all my cheating?

A: First you should look at ways of reducing your cheating. Once you’ve done this you can use Cheatneutral to offset the remaining, unavoidable cheating.

What I didn’t learn in PowerPoint school.

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Finally got this beautiful chart from last weekend’s Sunday Times scanned (thanks, Laura!). It struck me as a gorgeous and complex way to display information that could have otherwise been illustrated in a couple boring pie charts or bar graphs, despite looking a little like a river of poo. It’s somewhat hard to read here, but it shows the 2007 box office earnings and time in theaters of the big blockbusters and smaller-release films, pointing to Oscar nominations (notice how they’re almost always in the white). You can also see a streamlined version of it here as an interactive chart that extends back to 1986.

New Music Monday.

So… I’m a bit slow to catch on to quote-unquote “mainstream” music sometimes. In all honesty I’m a bit slow to quote-unquote “indie” music sometimes too (damn job). I’m perfect in every other way, though, so I can live with that being my only flaw. The first time I really heard and paid attention to Kanye’s new single “Flashing Lights” was a week or so ago, and by Friday night’s inpromptu house party I was tempted to play it on repeat it had gotten to me so deeply. (Or maybe it was the beer, and the wine, and the champagne, AND the song. But I’m sure it was mostly the song.) Spike Jonze directed the short, cryptic video (with Murakami, you recall, doing the album’s cover art– gotta respect that… (or do/should you? hmm…)), and the blogosphere over has been debating its deeper meaning ever since its YouTube leak and TRL debut. See above and let me know what you think. It’s been a long day and I need to let this one marinate a little bit.

Independent Spirit/Academy Awards Smackdown

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I used to really enjoy the Oscars. The first show I remember well is the one from 1993, the year of Schindler’s List, The Piano, Philadelphia, Six Degrees of Separation, In the Name of the Father (god, what a year!). I was 12 and had managed to sneak into or sneak out of the video store most of the nominated films (I will never understand why my parents sent me to a shrink for strange, unchildlike, unsocial behavior…). For many years I’d make a point of seeing all the major films, and a big deal of the awards show, sternly shushing my friends who couldn’t sit still or really care less about the “most important” awards show of the year. And then I learned about Cannes, and Sundance, and the Independent Spirit Awards. “Important” is subjective, of course. And true, a Spirit Award probably won’t get you financing on your next film the way an Oscar will, but the awards show sure looks like a whole lot more fun.

Was it just that I’d seen the Spirit Awards that morning or were the Oscars especially stiff and stale this year? There went the same mermaid-shaped, sleeveless, ’40’s inspired dresses, the same sappy montages, some seriously cringe-worthy song-and-dance numbers (the Once kids excepted—I adore them), the same 18-carat Harry Winston conflict diamonds and sideswept chignons. There were a few highlights: Helen Mirren, looking stunning in a red silk dress, saying “cojones” with perfect pronunciation, a handful of moving acceptance speeches largely by non-Americans… umm, yeah, that’s all I got. The show so lacked major upsets, excitement and fashion risks it has left my memory already. Tilda Swinton stirred things up a bit going androgynous and makeup-free instead of Old Hollywood Glamour – the only acceptable Oscar look — and Colin Farrell provided a nice moment of cheap entertainment, running on stage to push his hair out of his eyes like some blue-blooded Princeton lacrosse player (is that where he’s been hiding this whole time?). Add to all that a totally unironic use of “My Heart Will Go On” by Celine Dion and you’ve got yourself one very flat, ho-hum evening. Even Jon Stewart looked bored.

Meanwhile over at the Independent Spirit Awards, everyone’s drunk and getting drunker. Julian Schnabel’s wearing purple pajamas (and delivering an uncharacteristically humble Best Director acceptance speech), presenters and winners often take the podium in jeans, swearing is rampant, and host Rainn Wilson is hilarious and out of control and – dare I say – sexy? Angelina’s debuting her new baby bump to the indie world beside Father of the Year Brad Pitt who’s rocking a poofy, blond, borderline Flock of Seagulls hairdo. I guess when you have 8,000 children you don’t have time to get a proper haircut, even if you’re Brad f’ing Pitt. But it works in this context because he looks like he’s genuinely having fun and the Spirit folks don’t care about petty things like good hair and bad hair. I like their style.

4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days

I took a “me” day on Tuesday while in New York, spending the morning at the new Grey Dog’s Coffee on University (an eerily exact replica of the one in the village, picket fence and all… Grey Dog’s lost a bit of what I naively thought was authentic charm), browsing the stacks with fellow bookworms at The Strand, taking a vigorous yet soothing afternoon yoga class at Jivamukti, wandering through the West Village talking on the phone to an old friend about my indulgent, perfect New York day while indulging in a perfect piece of New York pizza. I strolled over to the IFC and bought some Dots and a ticket to see the Palme d’Or winner 4 Months, 3 weeks, 2 days, which quickly succeeded in shattering my la-di-da mood into a million pieces. My actually educated and very cultured boyfriend wouldn’t see “the abortion movie” with me back home in San Fran (like my “suicide music,” a love of dark, pensive movies with subtitles isn’t something we share), and I was looking forward to learning more about the “new wave” of Romanian realism I kept hearing about but my god, I was wholly unprepared for this kind of raw, unnerving intensity. Set in Bucharest towards the end of the communist era, 4 Months is gripping and bleak, a cold-toned film about a young woman trying to help a friend get a late-term illegal abortion. It’s a raw and unsparing portrait of power, helplessness and the lengths one will go to for friendship and I was so deeply unsettled by it I couldn’t stand to part with the comforts of my furry winter coat, just sat there for 2 hours with my knees pulled up to my chest, sweat pouring down my back. When it was over I practically ran out of the theater, desperate for air and light and to be in the company of loud, happy people. I walked back to the apartment, immediately got into bed and turned Millionaire Matchmaker and all the lights on. Truly disturbing but so, so well done (4 Months, not Millionaire Matchmaker).