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(no subject)

Oct. 23rd, 2008 01:26 am
prunesquallor: (movies)

In the most recent issue of The New Yorker there's a profile of Marlon Brando which mentions in passing that the actor flunked kindergarden. Wow. I didn't even know that was possible.

(And to make this post a little more substantial, I was very taken with a new-to-me bit where Stella Adler was asked if Brando was a great actor and she responded, "We'll never know." That ranks right up there with Zhou Enlai's "It's too soon to tell" when he was queried on the significance of the French Revolution.)


A few weeks ago during the Republican convention Jon Stewart had a bit on The Daily Show where he compared Senators Fred Thompson and Joe Lieberman to, respectively, Foghorn Leghorn and Droopy Dog. The latter's an old trope with Stewart, but I believe the former was a new association, and it turns out it's more accurate than Stewart's writers probably knew. Leghorn was originally a cartoon parody of Beauregard Claghorn, a popular radio character in the forties who was a caricature of a (generic) Southern Senator. So, huh: a Southern Senator sounds like a Southern Senator. Will wonders never cease?

I first learned about Claghorn from a throwaway reference in Caro's Master of the Senate, and ever since I've had a mild interest in seeing 'his' theatrical movie, It's A Joke, Son (1947), even though I'm sure qualitatively it's down on the level of a Ma and Pa Kettle flick. "Ontological certaintude of 10!" as John McLaughlin used to intone.

Wall-E (2008)

Jul. 23rd, 2008 11:15 pm
prunesquallor: (movies)

Went to a 10:25 Saturday night showing, where I was one of only two people in the audience. (Guess everybody was watching some other movie or something. Huh.)

This was the first flick I've seen in a theatre this year, and luckily it turned out to be excellent - I would rank it as the very best Pixar. Could have done without the Hello, Dolly! bits, but they're not quite as grating as some reviews claimed. The first half is almost dialogue-free and has a melancholy feel unlike anything I expected; I'd be interested to hear if this part completely held the attention of children. (The second half is more conventionally frenetic, though just as good.)

Have to include at least one semi-quibble: I think the humans under challenge exhibit an unbelievably high and instantaneously acquired degree of moral character, given their previously cossetted and self-centered lifestyle, a la "The Machine Stops". But I accept that it's just storytelling shorthand.

And the opener ("Presto") was probably my favorite of the Pixar shorts. So two for two.


Just watched this. It isn't really worth much comment, but I had so many conversations about it with people before it came out I suppose I should record my impressions here. (This won't take long.)

Put simply, this movie's a mess. A big, soulless piece of crap, full of meaningless spectacle. Generally I'm not a fan of CGI, and this movie did nothing to change my mind: some of the incidental dirigible scenes were effective, but the rendering of the daemons was terrible, with the face of Mrs. Coulter's monkey being especially bad. (In the Arctic scenes practically everything except the actors seemed to be CGI, and my eyes longed to latch onto something real.) The plot would probably be incomprehensible to anyone who hadn't read the novel, full of infodumps that don't explain ... well, much of anything. Plus all the lacunae inherent in the fact that the movie couldn't even mention the point of the whole damn thing, Hollywood having performed an intercission of its own on the story. (Wasn't that clever? See how I worked that in?) The closest they got was talking about how the coming war was to be about "free will".

Which coming war will probably never be dramatized, thank Dust, or The Authority, or whichever deity you prefer. But this one, use your free will and skip it.


I was going to post that this was the first time all four Academy awards for acting went to non-Americans, but I nosed about on the Internets a bit first and discovered this hat-trick also occurred back in '65 (Rex Harrison, Julie Andrews, Peter Ustinov and Lila Kedrova).

Also, this was the first year I didn't see any of it - not even clips on the news the next day. I feel superior and all l33tish.


(no subject)

Jan. 31st, 2008 04:54 pm
prunesquallor: (movies)

del Toro to direct Hobbit movies.

Not sure The Hobbit really needs to be a movie, and definitely sure there shouldn't be two movies, but there it is. People who like this sort of thing will like this sort of thing.


(Hey, it's still not midnight here for another half an hour or so!)

As I posted yesterday, I wasn't too pleased with the overall quantity and quality of what I read last year. (I was even less pleased with my movie-viewing progress; hence no post at all on that.)

Therefore my [public, lj] resolution for the new year is to try to read more and more substantial books, and to try to see more and more substantial movies; and then to try to comment on each one, even if I don't write a full-fledged review.

(We'll see how this goes, he said knowingly.)

After years of talk, apparently Jodie Foster is finally going to be playing the notorious fascist filmmaker.